Preparation is everything. Looking after a tiny human can take its toll. It’s easy to express your milk and then throw it in the freezer, never to be looked at again. But what happens when you’ve slogged away at the breast pump all this time only to find you cannot decipher which milk has expired? Here are our top tips for How to Organize Breast Milk in Freezer.
That’s right, everything. Every time you pump that liquid gold, and it goes in the bag aimed for the freezer, it needs to be labeled.
Baby’s Name on Frozen Breast Milk Bags
Every expressed milk bag, pot, or bottle should have your baby’s name on it. It might seem like an odd thing to do; surely you wouldn’t forget what your baby’s name is, right?
However, it is more for the moments of unpredictability. If you are sending your little one to daycare, it will be used to locate your milk amongst other bottles that other moms will have sent in with their kids.
It also comes in handy if you have twins and you can’t track how much each twin has had for their feed.
The Date Expressed and Stored
Writing down the date you expressed your breast milk is particularly helpful in deciphering exactly how old the sample is and if it can still be used. When you begin to dip into your stash to feed your baby, you should select the oldest milk in the freezer so that it doesn’t go to waste.
After all, breast milk can expire after six months of storing in the freezer. You’d want to make every drop you’ve pumped count!
Quantity of Milk
Before freezing your breast milk, it is important to record and measure the quantity in each bag or storage container.
This is because once you have thawed your milk in the fridge, the volume will change, and you may struggle to record precisely how many ounces your baby has had or left.
A rough guide would be to leave an inch of space at the top of the bag before it is sealed off.
Tips to Keep Your Freezer Organized
Your freezer stash is all bagged up. You need to be able to see it when you open the door without it all clunking to the floor every time.
Once you have frozen your milk bags flat, storage bins are excellent for propping them upright so that you can see at first glance which batch is the oldest.
It would be helpful to organize your milk bags chronologically, with the oldest milk kept at the front.
Storage Bins are great when you want to compartmentalize breast milk now that you have started to use it more. You can categorize them into the days of the week and pull them out according to your needs for that week.
Make Your Storage Containers
Storing your breast milk need not be costly. There are many tips to save money when it comes to organizing your freezer.
Soda Box Conversion
Grab a twelve-pack soda box and cut off the top to allow space for your frozen milk bags. Again, be sure to stack your newest batch of breastmilk at the back so that you are reaching for the oldest milk first.
If you want something that doesn’t involve cutting, then a shoebox will also do! Pop it in the freezer and get stacking!
This is a great idea for creating a milk bag dispenser. Cut out a rectangle slit at the bottom of the gift bag and stack your milk bags flat.
The gap at the bottom should be large enough for a milk bag to be pulled out like a dispenser. Now you have your very own space saver!
Using A Breastmilk App
If the baby brain has got the better of you, an app is great for keeping you organized.
It can help you stay on track as it lets you know how much milk you have in storage and when you should be expressing to keep your stash going.
Apps like ‘DairyBar’ can keep track of all the frozen breastmilk you have stored. It calculates how much you have expressed, how long it will last, and how long it will keep your baby fed. It thinks for you when you’ve got your mind occupied with other things!
Breast Milk Storage Guidelines
Breast milk in the freezer should always be kept at 0 to -18 degrees. Once you take it out, it should be thawed in the fridge, of which the temperature should be kept at 4 degrees.
It can take up to 12 hours for breast milk to be fully thawed in the fridge. And once the milk has fully thawed, it should be consumed within 24 hours.
Fresh breastmilk can be kept outside the fridge for up to six hours. Breastmilk should never be warmed in a microwave as it can develop heat spots that could harm the baby when they are having their feed. You can defrost milk by running the bag under warm water.
Breastfeeding your baby can be stress-free by freezing your expressed milk as you go along. There are many ways to stay organized, and it begins the moment your milk is pumped into storage bags and bottles ready to freeze as long as you follow breastmilk storage guidelines.
Labeling everything is important as it helps the daycare workers identify exactly whose milk it is, you can tell how old the milk is and exactly how much is in each container.
Apps are becoming more helpful to stay on track with your frozen milk stash and helps you decide how much breastmilk is enough for your little one and how much more you need to pump and freeze to maintain your freezer stash.