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Can I Mix Fresh Breastmilk with Already Frozen One?

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For many moms who are ardent on exclusively breastfeeding their tots, pumping breastmilk is the order of the day. And with this comes many questions about breastmilk – how should it be stored, how should it be thawed, warmed, for how long can it last before going bad… and many many more.

I got one question from a new mom about mixing old and new breastmilk, and I consequently sought the expertise of lactation expert Josie M. Karoki of HunySuckle. Read on.

Q: If I express more milk than I expected, can I add it to the frozen milk for last week?

Josie: Adding breastmilk that has just been expressed to frozen breastmilk is not advisable because it will cause the frozen milk to thaw slightly. As with any frozen consumable product, once it has thawed or defrosted -even slightly, it should not be re-frozen due to the high risk of contamination.

Therefore some lactation experts advise a mother who wants to add freshly expressed breastmilk to a previous frozen stash to first put the fresh milk in the fridge for 30 mins-1 hour before adding it to the frozen milk in order to avoid thawing the latter stash of milk. If one does add today’s expressed breastmilk to last week’s stash, the “expiry/best before date” of the frozen breastmilk remains that of the original stash.

A more acceptable way though is to keep freshly expressed milk in the fridge for a day before freezing it. This way, in case a mum has some extra milk left from a pumping or breastfeeding session, she can add it to the refrigerated stash without worry.

Josie M. Karoki is a certified lactation manager/breastfeeding counselor.

top image courtesy: let’s talk breastfeeding, Kenya.

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