Ever wondered if can you rewarm breast milk twice? If you are a breastfeeding mom and if you store your liquid gold for any reason and if your baby cannot complete the thawed milk, you might wonder if you can store it again in the refrigerator and rewarm the next time! Coz you do not want to waste that liquid gold.
To ensure that you can restore and reheat breast milk twice, you need to know for sure that you have been storing breast milk correctly. If not stored right, breast milk can go bad and make your baby very sick if fed to them.
It is very important to know how to store the expressed breast milk especially if you are a working mom and often use expressed milk to feed your baby. Storing can alter the nutrition and the properties of breast milk.
I exclusively breastfed both my babies. But I struggled with breast milk oversupply and was advised to collect all the extra milk and store it for later use. That is when I stumbled upon the storage guidelines and how else to use the leftover milk.
While CDC provides detailed storage guidelines of freshly expressed and previously frozen milk, there are no set guidelines on reheating the leftover milk. And it was confusing if I can rewarm the thawed milk again within 2 hours of feeding the baby or not. And surprisingly no research answers if you can reheat breast milk twice.
Can you rewarm breast milk twice?
Wouldn’t it be great if we could reheat or refreeze the breast milk at our convenience? Unfortunately, you cannot. The recommendation is to only freeze and thaw breast milk only once. And here are some top reasons:
- Bacterial Growth – While we know no food is better than breast milk and the fact it is tailored for babies, research says there are more than 200 strains of bacteria that are present in breast milk. Freezing and reheating can develop potential bacteria that can be harmful for babies. And it is also known that when baby drinks the milk, the bacteria from baby’s mouth or on the bottle can enter the milk. It is not a good idea to store it after.
- Nutritional Value – It is also known that the nutritional value of breast milk decreases over time. So it is not recommended to re-feed the used milk again.
- Fat separating – If you store breast milk in refrigerator or freezer, you might have noticed that teh fat gets separated after a while. If you try to reheat or refreeze the milk again, there is a possibility of fat separating causing an imbalance of nutrition or taste to babies.
- Lipids can turn soapy – While the liquid gold is the best food, it can also go bad over time. Know that breast milk is composed of high number of lipids which turns soapy when reheated and go bad causing serious problems in babies.
Safe way to warm/ thaw the breast milk
Did you know thawing the frozen breast milk in hot water was harmful? Research says that heating breast milk in the microwave or boiling hot water can cause it to lose all the nutrients. Breast milk heated higher than 104F/ 40C is considered harmful. Here are some safe ways to thaw or warm the breast milk.
- It is recommended to thaw the breast milk in the refrigerator overnight.
- Use a bottle warmer to heat up the milk before giving it to your baby.
- Use a luke warm water to warm the thawed breast milk before giving it to your baby.
Can you put breast milk back in the fridge after warming?
It is highly recommended that you give it to your baby after warming or refrigerate it for up to 2 hours. But it cannot be refrozen or reheated.
Since there is no research that proves that you can reheat expressed milk twice the recommendation is to consume within 2 hours or dump it after. But wait, did you know you can still use this milk? Not for consumption but they are still good in various ways. Check out how to use the leftover expired breast milk.
For instance, you can use it
- to give a bath.
- to heal any kind of wound.
- to massage your baby’s hair to help with hair growth.
- to treat eczema if there are any.
- to treat stretch marks on your body.
How long after reheating breast milk is it good?
It is highly recommended to use up the reheated breast milk within 2 hours. Though breast milk is a highly nutritious diet for babies, it also contains nearly 200 strains of bacteria that might grow if kept after 2 hours of warming the milk which can make your baby very sick.
It is best to avoid any kind of reheating or refreezing if you are giving it to a premie or to a baby who has a compromised immune system.
So, Can you reheat expressed milk twice?
While we discussed thawing the frozen milk and using it within 2 hours of warming them, what about the freshly expressed milk? While freshly expressed milk is ok to be stored at room temperature for up to 4 hours, you can refrigerate it for 5 days and can be rewarmed once while feeding your baby. CDC suggests not to rewarm the expressed milk again to ensure it does not lose the nutrients in them.
Donating breast milk
Consider donating your breast milk. If you have extra breast milk in your freezer and you think your baby might not consume them all, consider donating to someone in need. This is a precious gift that you can give to a family.
I proudly donated a lot of my breast milk to the Mount Sinai Breast milk bank and am currently an active donor. We were blessed with an abundant supply of milk for both my babies and we gladly donated a lot of milk.
Make sure to follow the hygienic storage guidelines when you plan to store breast milk and donate as this breast milk is used for premie and sick children whose immune systems can be compromised.
Do you reheat breast milk?
I personally do not reheat breast milk. I thaw my breast milk by moving it to the refrigerator overnight thaw on its own and then give it to my baby directly. My daughter was ok drinking it cold as it helped her teething discomfort as well. But there are times I ran my frozen milk under warm tap water to thaw quickly but have never tried reheating it. I directly put the unfinished milk into the bathtub or use them to make breast milk soaps.
How do you reheat your breast milk? Comment below with your opinions and ways.