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do i really have to throw out my frozen milk?

post #1 of 20
Thread Starter 
i hope this is the right place for my question...

when he was first born, my LO was tiny and i was advised to pump to help establish my supply. i did every 3 hrs for 2 weeks, and amassed quite a stash. since then i've been able to donate some to a local mom, but still have a lot frozen.

now that my baby is 6 1/2 months, do i really have to throw all this milk out? i haven't needed it yet, but keep imagining the day when i may need/want to use it.

i'm kind of hoping the 6-month rule is for donated milk. heck, i keep other stuff longer in the freezer than labels advise sometimes, why not my own milk?
post #2 of 20
Good question. However, if it was in a freezer, it is good 3-4 months. If it was stored in a deep freezer, it is good to 6 months.

http://www.askdrsears.com/html/2/t026900.asp#T026901

I don't know why that is the time frame they recommend... is it because of freezer burn? I don't know. But, I'm curious to know.

If you donate it, checkout milkshare.com
post #3 of 20
hmm... I would check with your local hmbana to see if they would take it.
post #4 of 20
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by texmati View Post
hmm... I would check with your local hmbana to see if they would take it.
i have posted a couple of times on my local board, and my MWs took my early milk a couple of months ago for new mom...

i wouldn't offer to donate it anywhere now that it's 6 months old though. it's been at 0 degrees though, i just want to know if it's really not safe to keep it for us.
post #5 of 20
I think it is-- esp if it passes the sniff taste test when you thaw it and warm it up. It will smell like spoiled milk if it is rotten. I would be much more strict if my baby had any type of illness; but for a healthy child I think the sniff test is ok.
post #6 of 20
I threw out my leftovers from my son's NICU stay. The milk had been in the freezer for about 6 months and I read that it should be thrown out after 3. I didn't know what else to do with it! (Oops.) Maybe I should have looked for someone to donate to after he was discharged. He was only there two weeks, but I felt like I had A LOT leftover!
post #7 of 20
I wouldn't throw it out. I do agree with the PP about doing a smell/taste test, though. Most likely it's fine, just perhaps not as nutritious as fresher milk. You might use it to mix with purees or cereals, if you're doing that. An individual (not a bank or an organization)might still want it, even at or slightly passed the 6-month mark, if you can go the donor route.
post #8 of 20
Current LLLI guidelines state that in a good freezer (e.g. chest freezer, not regularly opened) up to 6 months is ideal, and up to 12 months is acceptable (http://www.llli.org/FAQ/milkstorage.html).
post #9 of 20
No way!!! I would thaw and smell/taste. If it's okay, use it. You can make pureed baby food with it, mix it with cereal, make breastmilk yogurt for baby, cook with it. I've even heard of making breastmilk soap that is great for the skin.
post #10 of 20
Thread Starter 
yay, thanks ladies!
post #11 of 20
You can also keep some on hand to use for medicinal purposes (eye and ear drops) if you are unsure about consuming it.
post #12 of 20
I have heard of that since! I'm also told that it makes a great remedy for diaper rash.
post #13 of 20
Quote:
Originally Posted by ChildoftheMoon View Post
You can also keep some on hand to use for medicinal purposes (eye and ear drops) if you are unsure about consuming it.
Really? I'd be much more hesitant to put bad milk in my eyes or ears than mouth -- my digestive tract, after all, is designed for the incursion of foreign bodies and full of acid while my inner ear -- not so much.
post #14 of 20
Quote:
Originally Posted by Dov'sMom View Post
Really? I'd be much more hesitant to put bad milk in my eyes or ears than mouth -- my digestive tract, after all, is designed for the incursion of foreign bodies and full of acid while my inner ear -- not so much.
It is a given that you would not use bad/spoiled milk....... I am just referring to milk past the 6 month mark that is still good, but not eligible for donation.
post #15 of 20
It depends on how cold your freezer is. Ours is -4 degrees, and my mom's is something like 15degrees. Milk will last a lot longer in ours. You will know if the milk is bad. I'd do like PP's mentioned and thaw then test it.

Some sources say you can only keep fresh milk at room temp for 4 hours. Some say 6-8. My lanisnoh bags say 8-10. I've checked milk at 10 hours many times and it has never been spoiled.

I wouldn't think you need to throw it out, but I would try to use it and replace it with some fresher milk if it were me. Does your DC take a bottle? I pump while I'm at work and my DS will use that milk for the next day. At the beginning of each month I'll send him with the oldest frozen milk (3-4 months) and put what I'm pumping in the freezer.

Your baby might also like the frozen milk. My DS isn't eating solids yet, but he does love munching on pieces of frozen BM.
post #16 of 20
It's really not an issue of the milk "spoiling." It's more an issue of deteriorating nutritional quality-- after a period of time in the freezer, even at 0 degress, the more delicate vitamins and live elements begin to deteriorate. So there's nothing WRONG with the milk after that time-- as in, it won't make you sick. It's just that it won't be as nourishing as fresher milk, so that you wouldn't want to depend on it for a baby's sole source of milk.
post #17 of 20
I'd donate it asap and I think a lot of mamas would be greatful for it. I had no problem donating milk that was about to age out to a milk bank and they have very high standards. Get on milkshare and give it away. Someone can use it.
post #18 of 20
i have heard of people cooking and baking with older milk, and usng if to thin solids. i guess that would all depend on how easily youe are grossed out if you were oing to eat the foods/baked goods, or if your baby is eating solids
post #19 of 20
I haven't read all the responses, just wanted to say... DON'T THROW IT OUT!!!

Get thee on milkshare and post that you have 6 mo milk to donate. I'm willing to bet you'll get takers.

A lot of us recipients of donor milk go by the older standards of 12 months in a deep freeze. And even then, I've used milk that was older than 12 mos. For a mom who is struggling to find BM, every drop is precious.

BM does not just "go bad" - it slowly degrades over time. It is not unhealthy, it is just less nutritious. I always mixed older milk with fresher milk to balance it, and figured it was still better than resorting to formula.

No milk bank will take it, but if a private recipient wants it knowing how old it is, why quibble?
post #20 of 20
I donated milk which was in a deep freezer up to 1 year. All bags were dated. They take it that late because it goes through some fortifying process. I donate via International Breast Milk Bank - http://www.breastmilkproject.org/ but I know there are better banks out there. Good luck!
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