How long can breastmilk sit out -can you refreeze breastmilk? - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 11 Old 11-07-2007, 09:33 AM - Thread Starter
 
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So I woke up this morning to my freezer door WIDE open and all my freezer stash thawed out. There was close to 200oz for when I return to work. Can I refreeze this?

I am beyond upset about this. Of course my DH is offering no support since he thinks it's my fault. He said he has no sympathy because it could have been avoided I told him that I honestly don't know who left the freezer open (because I really don't think I did it but have no clue how it happened) and that I just wanted support. But no....he's just not that kind of guy

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#2 of 11 Old 11-07-2007, 09:35 AM
 
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I am so sorry mama, I can imagine how sick you must feel.

I am pretty sure once it thaws you cant refreeze but I am not 100% sure. I never delt that much with frozen milk.

Everything I am pulling up via search says you cant

 
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#3 of 11 Old 11-07-2007, 09:59 AM
 
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I think the official answer is 'NO' but I was reading some back issues of the LLL publication 'New Beginnings' which talked about how resilient breastmilk can be. There was research done where the research team took breastmilk, froze it, nuked it, left it out, froze it, nuked it, etc and found that it still retained over 99% of its immunity-aiding and nutritional properties. I don't have the actual magazine anymore, but it was a very interesting article and may be something to look for online or if someone else here has the source.
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#4 of 11 Old 11-07-2007, 10:02 AM
 
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As I'm looking for this, was it COMPLETELY thawed out, as in room temperature or was it liquid but still pretty cold? After doing a bit of reading here, I'm starting to think that rule is there for public health guidelines (i.e. hospitals, etc) only because they don't want people to leave milk sitting on the counter and have it go bad, and think if they refreeze it, it will kill bacteria.

I could be wrong, its just my feeling on the rule at this time.
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#5 of 11 Old 11-07-2007, 10:12 AM - Thread Starter
 
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It was like cool liquid. Some of the bags still had a frozen chunk in the middle.

I have it in the freezer now still deciding what to do lol. I can't bring myself to throw it out yet.
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#6 of 11 Old 11-07-2007, 11:44 AM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by CanidFL View Post
It was like cool liquid. Some of the bags still had a frozen chunk in the middle.
I have it in the freezer now still deciding what to do lol. I can't bring myself to throw it out yet.
CandidFL,
Any milk that is still partially frozen will likely be ok if you re-freeze it ASAP (which you have already done). Any fully thawed milk will probably also be ok if you re-freeze it ASAP as long as it has been fully thawed for less than 24 hours. Any milk that has been fully thawed for more than 24 hours is questionable. But if it is close you can mark the bags with a permanent marker, re-freeze it and then give it the Kellymom Sniff/Taste test on a bag by bag basis.

I found a MilkShare posting with an opinion on this topic from David S. Newburg, Ph.D., Director, Program in Glycobiology, Pediatric Gastroenterology & Nutrition, Massachusetts General Hospital.

"My opinion is that if they are only partially thawed, there should be very little if any change to the milk upon refreezing, and that it will be fine for consumption."

Additionally, I have some other references that help explain why partially frozen milk should still be ok. The first link is to the Kellymom Guidelines (for healthy full-term babies, there are different guidelines for Preemies). As with most guidelines, it says you shouldn't re-freeze thawed breastmilk, without commenting on fully versus partially thawed. These guidelines are pretty widely accepted and comparable to any other reliable guidelines that I've seen.

However, these guidelines do mention the sniff/taste test (in general, not specifying refrigerated or frozen). Keep in mind that frozen milk can smell and possibly taste a little "off" anyway, so comparing it to fresh or refrigerated milk may mean throwing away milk that you might not need to; but unless you are familiar with what your frozen milk usually smells and tastes like you might want to err on the side of caution. On the other hand if it doesn't seem too bad you might take a calculated risk and try giving a small amount to baby --who is more familiar with it-- and see if he balks.

***The second link is to a recent Mothering article that implies that you can re-freeze fully thawed milk.***

The third link is to an article on food storage in general. The rule of thumb it gives is that you can re-freeze most anything that hasn't fully thawed.

I think the new rule of thumb combines the principles from the second two links. So it would seem that it is ok to re-freeze milk that hasn't fully thawed.

Breastmilk Storage & Handling
http://www.kellymom.com/bf/pumping/milkstorage.html

Traveling With Breastmilk
http://www.mothering.com/articles/ne...reastmilk.html
EXCERPT
“The researchers took frozen breastmilk and thawed it, refroze it, refrigerated it and left it out at room temperature. Essentially, they beat it up. What did they find? Breastmilk is fairly robust and does not grow bacteria easily nor lose vitamins A and C or free fatty acids (FFA) to any degree that would harm a full term baby.”

Quality for Keeps: Freezer Problem Solver
http://extension.missouri.edu/explor...nut/gh1506.htm
EXCERPT "Refreezing: In general, food can safely be refrozen only if it still contains ice crystals or if it has been at refrigerator temperature (40 degrees Fahrenheit) for no longer than two days. In addition, use the following guidelines: If foods are completely thawed and have warmed above room temperature, foods should not be refrozen. Discard these foods. …”

One more thing, it may be a good idea to use up your re-frozen milk first regardless of whether it's only been there a little while or not. Which would mean freezing the fresh stuff until the re-frozen milk is gone.

In other words, the re-frozen milk may still be good but the shelf life may have been reduced so you want to use it while it is still good.

HTH
~Cath
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#7 of 11 Old 11-07-2007, 04:13 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Thank you so much for the info Cath!! It's nice to know I don't have to throw out the milk. I am much happier then this morning now lol.
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#8 of 11 Old 07-29-2013, 05:10 PM
 
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Please still be an active member here. Did you end up refreezing and if so, did everything go okay? I just returned home from work on a day that I'm already dealing with a half-functional pump as it is (parts on order - to be received tomorrow) and the freezer door was open. I'm guessing it is from when I got the baby's milk out for daycare this morning. Maybe I didn't shut it hard enough? I've separated what was still 90% frozen, about 50% frozen, and what just had chunks of ice in it. All was still really cold. I was in tears! I'm hoping at least some is salvageable. 

 

P.S. - My husband was none too compassionate either. :( 

 

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#9 of 11 Old 07-29-2013, 07:45 PM
 
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Everything I have ever read is it is quite safe to refreeze as long as there are ice crystals in it. If it is fully thawed, give that to LO over the next few days and pump pump pump to replenish.

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#10 of 11 Old 05-20-2014, 05:39 AM
 
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CanidFL,

I was just reading your post from last year.   Unfortunately, the same exact thing just happened to me in regards to the freezer opening up.  I was wondering if you could tell me if anything happened to your child after feeding him/her the milk?   I am very worried about giving him the milk.  Any information is greatly appreciated.

 

 

Colleen

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#11 of 11 Old 08-28-2014, 11:25 AM
 
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My freezer door was left open last night. All my milk thawed but was very cold. It's still in the freezer. It's taking a while for it to refreeze. Anyone have problems with the milk they refroze?? Thanks!
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