HELP!!! Freezer Stopped Do I save My Breastmilk?!?

Updated on August 10, 2011
K.G. asks from Oregon City, OR
7 answers

My husband just called and said that our freezer where I've diligently stored breastmilk for the last 6 months apparently stopped working in the last week. He said the milk is all defrosted, but still "cool" to the touch. I told him to smell it and he said it doesn't smell spoiled. I'm working some extra shifts this week, so I could freeze the new milk that I pump and have my daughter use only thawed breastmilk for the next few days. I'm not sure if I should re-freeze the thawed milk, or just refridgerate it. Also, will thawed milk last from now (Tuesday) to Friday? I know all the standard guidelines say to use within 24 hours and don't re-freeze, but is that a hard and fast rule? I'm just beside myself at the thought of losing 50+ ounces and not having any back up saved. My daughter is only 6 months old.
I've called La Leche, but I haven't gotten a response. I'm hoping that there are some La Leche moms here who can help. Thank you.

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So What Happened?

Thanks to all who responded. I decided to err on the side of caution and to dump the milk. Sigh. Thankfully it was our secondary freezer that went out, and I had 8 ounces of milk hidden in our inside freezer. I'm back to pumping like a crazy person until I can get a bit of a freezer stash again.

More Answers


answers from St. Louis on

My suggestion - go home and make a TON of baby food with it (mix a little milk with baked sweet potatoes, avocado, etc in magic bullet or other device), then freeze that baby food. Your baby will be eating baby food before you know it, if she isn't already.

I am so sorry this is happening! I know exactly how you feel!

7 moms found this helpful


answers from Los Angeles on

Once it is defrosted it may be kept in the refrigerator for up to 24 hours after it has completely thawed. After that it is no longer safe. So sorry.
Source is La Leche League's, "The Breastfeeding Answer Book" (1997) by Nancy Mohrbacher, IBCLC and Julie Stock, BA, IBCLC

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Houston on

Well I would not refreeze, but I have never heard of the 24 hr thing. I used mine from the fridge for 3 days, neither of my kids ever had a problem. Good luck!! The baby food idea is good too!



answers from Corvallis on

Oh, how heart breaking! I'm SO sorry this happened to you. Unfortunately when I was pumping, I read to never refreeze breast milk. The bacteria can quickly grow and you wouldn't want to put your little one at risk. So my recommendation would be that you dispose of all of it. My thoughts are with you!


answers from San Francisco on

If it's under 40 degrees currently (which is the maximum temperature it can be and still inhibit bacteria growth), honestly I don't see why you could not re-freeze it?? Why not try? I'm trying to imagine what harm could come from thawing and then freezing it. I suppose the taste could suffer (?) but from a food safety standpoint, I don't see what harm could come from it. If it were me and I stood to lose 50 ounces of breastmilk, I'd get that stuff back in the freezer ASAP. I don't know if you have a working freezer to put it in, but if not, have your husband go get 20 pounds of dry ice, put that into the freezer, and it will keep everything below freezing until you can get a new freezer (that's what restaurants do when their walk-in freezers break down - lots and lots of dry ice!). Good luck!


answers from Atlanta on

I think the fat in the breast milk might separate from the liquid if you refreeze it and rethaw. If I remember correctly, it doesn't thaw the same as when its frozen once and defrosted.

I wouldn't chance introducing a 6 month old a intestinal bacterial infection from slightly spoiled milk. 6-month olds have such delicate and vulnerable systems. Seriously, don't cry over spilled milk. You'll make more.

I love the suggestion of using the milk to make baby food and freezing that.

You can use formula over the next few days until you get your storage back up--your baby will be fine with a few days of formula. I think, given the choice between fresh formula or past-due breast milk, I'd choose the formula.



answers from Seattle on

I realize you already dumped the milk, but wanted to let you know that as long there are ice crystals, it is considered frozen.

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