Every mother dreams of breastfeeding her child and enjoying that skin-to-skin contact. Yet, the reality is that not many mothers can keep up with the rigorous schedule of breastfeeding.
So, they do the next best thing: pump breast milk and store it for future use. Some mothers also express and store milk when they have excess milk supply.
The trick is to find the proper way to store breast milk to preserve its nutritional benefits for as long as possible. Keeping breast milk in the fridge or freezer has proven to be an effective way to preserve it. So, we went in search of the best freezer for breast milk on the market.
Let’s get started!
The 4 Best Freezers for Breast Milk
The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends that breast milk be your baby’s main nutrition source for the first six months of his life. After that, you can begin introducing solids alongside breastfeeding.
Let’s take a look at our four favorite freezers for breast milk.
1. Avanti CF24QOW Chest Freezer: Top Pick
Slim and sleek are the first words that come to mind when describing the Avanti freezer. With an interior capacity of 2.5 cubic feet, this chest freezer weighs a moderate 45 pounds.
We appreciated that the freezer comes with a ‘Climate Pledge Friendly’ badge and Energy Star rating, which means that it’s energy-efficient and environmentally friendly.
Other great features that we like are the durable stainless steel exterior and well-insulated interior. Plus, the four caster wheels make it easy to move the unit, even when it’s full.
Moreover, the integrated handle is well-designed, allowing for easy access, and the thermostat is adjustable.
- Slim design allows for more storage without occupying too much space
- It comes with a ‘Climate Pledge Friendly’ label
- Front-facing defrost drain
- Some units may show signs of leakage after a while
2. Danby DCF038A2WDB-3 Chest Freezer: Runner-Up
The Danby chest freezer is made from energy-efficient foam insulated cabinets. It’s a medium-sized freezer with an internal capacity of 3.8 cubic feet. The interior is spacious and wide, allowing you to store many milk bottles.
The adjustable wire basket is an excellent addition. It gives you a place to store small food packages so that they’re neatly out of the way.
The flip lid is well-designed, ensuring that the interior stays at optimum chilled temperatures. Furthermore, the thermostat is on the front side of the unit. It’s easy to use and helps maintain a consistent chilled temperature.
- Insulated interior
- Adjustable wire basket
- Front-facing defrost drain
- Also available as a 5.5 cubic feet interior capacity
- Relatively heavy
- Legs aren’t adjustable
3. Whynter CUF-1108 Freezer: Budget-Friendly
The glossy black exterior and stainless steel build make the Whynter freezer a beautiful addition to any space. It has an internal capacity of 1.1 cubic feet and weighs 42 pounds.
We like that it’s Energy Star rated for low energy consumption. The reversible door hinges and child lock option are also convenient options. Plus, the recessed handle completes the overall sleek look of the freezer.
The adjustable thermostat made it easy for us to maintain food at an ideal temperature. Another handy feature is the removable wire shelf. It makes it easier to organize breast milk bottles according to their storage dates.
- Low-energy consumption
- Available in 2.1 or 3.0 cubic feet units
- Suitable for compact spaces
- Tends to make a humming sound
4. Midea MRU013AWW Freezer: Most Lightweight
The Midea chest freezer is one of the lightest on our list. It has an internal capacity of 1.1 cubic feet and weighs a mere 30 pounds.
One of its more practical features is its removable wire shelf, which allows you to organize your stored milk bottles. The Midea freezer also has an adjustable thermostat and child lock option.
Another practical feature is the adjustable legs, which gives you a couple of options for leveling out the height of the unit.
- Suitable for compact spaces
- Low energy consumption
- Runs quietly at 33 dB
- Switching door hinges prevents legs from attaching correctly to the unit
Tips for Storing Breast Milk
The best containers for storing breast milk are those made of glass or BPA-free hard plastic. They should be well cleaned and dried. You can also use plastic bags that are specially designed for storing breast milk.
Read on for some more useful tips on the best ways to store breast milk.
Store Milk in Small Batches
To prevent wasting any milk, store it in small batches. A general recommendation is anywhere between two to four ounces, depending on how much your baby usually requires in one feeding.
Chill Milk Immediately After Pumping
Freshly pumped milk can be kept at room temperature for a maximum of four hours. If you won’t use it within that time, it’s best to place it in the fridge or freezer. If there’s any milk leftover after a feeding, keep it in the fridge. If it’s left longer than two hours, throw it away.
The best place to store milk is in the back of the fridge or freezer, where chilled temperatures are constant. Avoid placing them in the door where chilled temperatures are highly unstable.
Refrigerated breast milk is safe to use within four days. It must be kept at an average temperature of 39℉.
Moreover, breast milk can be safely stored in a standard freezer for up to nine months. If you’re using a chest or deep freezer, it can remain for a maximum of 12 months. The ideal temperature for a freezer should be between 0℉ to -4℉.
Prepare Chilled Milk Using Warm Water
Always make sure you test the temperature of the milk before giving it to your baby. Squeeze a few drops on the inside of your wrist. If it feels neutral against your skin, that means it’s at an ideal temperature for your baby.
One important tip: never heat milk bottles in the microwave. While it’s much faster, you may end up scalding your baby.
Below are different ways to warm milk, depending on where it was stored.
There are two easy ways to heat chilled milk bottles that were stored in the fridge. The first one is to run the bottle under warm water for several minutes.
The second technique is to fill a deep bowl with some warm water. Then, place the bottle in the bowl for a couple of minutes.
Thawing frozen breast milk requires a bit of pre-planning since it’ll take longer to warm up. Once it’s thawed, you can safely use it for up to 24 hours.
Here are three ways to thaw frozen breast milk. While the third option is viable, it’s not recommended because it takes a long time and consumes a great deal of water.
- Put the milk bottle in the fridge overnight.
- Place the bottle in a deep bowl with warm water and replace the warm water periodically.
- Hold the bottle under warm running water.
Frequently Asked Questions
Here are a couple of commonly asked questions to help you out.
Q: If breast milk is left on the counter until the next feeding, does room temperature matter?
A: If you’re going to use the milk within a couple of hours, then room temperature doesn’t pose a problem. If you’re going to use it after two hours, then room temperature starts playing an important role.
If you live in a cold climate, you can keep the milk on the counter for no longer than eight hours. Cool temperatures help preserve breast milk for longer. However, if you live somewhere warm, it’s better to place the milk in the fridge as soon as possible.
Q: Is it possible to add freshly expressed milk to milk that has been previously stored?
A: Yes, you can add freshly expressed or pumped milk to a chilled bottle. First, place it in the fridge on its own to cool down before adding it to the stored milk. You can also use ice packs to chill the new milk quickly.
Never add warm milk to already chilled or frozen milk. It’ll cause the milk to warm up or partially thaw, which can compromise the milk’s integrity.
Breast Milk has been proven to have the perfect combination of protein, vitamins, and fat. These essential nutrients are what your baby needs for healthy growth and development.
While each freezer on our list has something unique to offer, our favorite is the Avanti CF24QOW chest freezer. It’s slim yet provides ample storage space for all your food.
The Avanti is durable and energy-efficient. We also like the wheels, which makes it easy to move, even when it’s full.
If you prefer a more affordable option, the Whynter CUF-1108 freezer is an excellent alternative. Its elegant, glossy exterior makes it look great in any room. Not only that, but its many practical features at such a great price make this freezer a fantastic option.