CircleBumpCheckedFilledMedicalBookmarkBookmarkTickBookmarkAddCheckBoxCheckBoxFilled

Q&A: Freezing Breast Milk?

Can I freeze refrigerated breast milk?
save article
profile picture of Erin van Vuuren
Updated May 16, 2017
Hero Image

Experts have different opinions on this one. Some say you shouldn’t leave milk in the fridge for more than six hours before freezing, others say 24 to 48 hours, and still others say it’s fine to freeze milk that’s been refrigerated up to eight days, provided that baby is healthy and the milk is for home (not hospital) use. Bacteria doesn’t seem to be a big problem, since one study showed that milk left in the fridge for eight days actually contained less bacteria than freshly expressed milk. (Go figure.) Still, it can be reasoned that the milk might spoil faster or be less nutritious when thawed than milk that was frozen immediately after expressing.

Our best advice: If you’re planning on freezing your milk, go ahead and do it ASAP. If you need to freeze milk that has been sitting in the fridge, give it a sniff test (to make sure it’s still good) before freezing. Be sure to store it in clean, well-sealed glass or hard BPA-free plastic containers or freezer bags specially designed for storing breast milk. Add a label noting the date the milk was expressed, and consider adding an extra note if the milk stayed in the fridge for a while. (This will remind you to do another sniff/taste test before offering the milk to baby…just in case.)

If baby is sick, preterm, hospitalized, or otherwise at risk for illness, freeze any refrigerated milk within 24 to 48 hours. And remember that fresh milk (straight from the breast) is the healthiest for baby; it is most nutritious and contains the most anti-infective properties. Refrigerated milk is next in line, followed by the frozen stuff.

Please note: The Bump and the materials and information it contains are not intended to, and do not constitute, medical or other health advice or diagnosis and should not be used as such. You should always consult with a qualified physician or health professional about your specific circumstances.

save article
ADVERTISEMENT

Next on Your Reading List

molly baz swehl lactation cookies ad in times square
Why Was This Breastfeeding Billboard Taken Down?
By Natalie Gontcharova
mother breastfeeding infant baby
How Many Calories Do I Burn From Breastfeeding?
Medically Reviewed by Kendra Segura, MD
Parent wearing a nursing top and holding a baby on their chest
Where to Shop for the Best Nursing Clothes
By Martina Garvey
ADVERTISEMENT
 Kourtney Kardashian Barker on the today show Monday, September 12, 2022
Kourtney Kardashian Reveals She Drinks Her Own Breast Milk
By Wyndi Kappes
mom breastfeeding baby
Olympic Committee Will Provide Breastfeeding Athletes Hotel Rooms
By Wyndi Kappes
mother breastfeeding infant at home
How to Get a Proper Breastfeeding Latch
Medically Reviewed by Kendra Segura, MD
mother breastfeeding baby
Breastfeeding Let-Down 101: Everything You Should Know
Medically Reviewed by Kendra Segura, MD
ADVERTISEMENT
sad mother breastfeeding baby
Is D-MER the Reason You Feel Sad While Breastfeeding?
Medically Reviewed by Kendra Segura, MD
baby with mouth open breastfeeding
Mom's Impression of a Baby Who ‘Can’t Find the Nip’ Goes Viral
By Wyndi Kappes
mom holding baby while drinking coffee in kitchen
Can You Drink Coffee While Breastfeeding?
Medically Reviewed by Kendra Segura, MD
ADVERTISEMENT
The 9 Best Breast Milk Storage Bags-Hero
The 10 Best Breast Milk Storage Bags to Preserve Your Liquid Gold
By Korin Miller
mother feeing bottle to baby
Can You Mix Breast Milk and Formula?
Medically Reviewed by Loretta Cody, MD
Kelly Mi Li at Vegan Fashion Week held at California Market Center on October 9, 2023 in Los Angeles, California
Bling Empire Star Kelly Mi Li Opens Up About Breastfeeding Struggles
By Wyndi Kappes
ADVERTISEMENT
Best Nursing Pillows-hero
The Best Nursing Pillows (Plus How to Use One)
By Kathleen Harris
entrance of disney world
Photo of Mom Breastfeeding Her Baby on Disney Ride Goes Viral
By Wyndi Kappes
a mother breast pumping milk while sitting on bed at home
Why You Might Consider Power Pumping (and How to Do It)
Medically Reviewed by Kendra Segura, MD
young woman pouring a glass of red wine in kitchen at home
Breastfeeding & Alcohol: Is It Safe to Drink?
Medically Reviewed by Kendra Segura, MD
ADVERTISEMENT
closeup of baby breastfeeding
Are There Foods to Avoid While Breastfeeding?
Medically Reviewed by Kendra Segura, MD
Cluster Feeding: Everything You Need to Know
Cluster Feeding: Everything You Need to Know
Medically Reviewed by Lauren Crosby, MD
black mother breastfeeding baby at home
Black Women on Finding Joy in Breastfeeding
By Ashley Simpo
ADVERTISEMENT
Article removed.
Article removed.
Name added. View Your List