How to Freeze Breast Milk in Ice Cube Trays
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Wondering how to freeze breast milk in ice cube trays so that you can quickly grab a couple ounces at a time – without having to thaw an entire bag of frozen milk?
(Because nobody wants to waste that “liquid gold”!)
Is it even safe – and is the milk still beneficial – when it’s frozen in an ice cube tray? And how long can you keep the cubes in the freezer?
In this post, I’m going to answer all the questions you might have about frozen milk cubes, so let’s get started!
Disclaimer: This information is not meant to replace professional medical advice.
Best Ice Cube Tray for Breast Milk
I absolutely don’t recommend using a regular plastic ice cube tray for storing breast milk, especially if it’s not used strictly for storing breast milk. (Because they’re not made for safe milk storage.)
You’ll want a dedicated ice cube tray that’s been washed and sterilized between each use.
The best ice cube trays (like these) freeze your milk in long, cylindrical shapes so you can fit them into the opening of any size bottle. Each cube holds one ounce of milk, and also has a cover for keeping the milk sterile and preventing freezer burn.
Of course, there are other ice cube trays designed for milk storage that come in traditional cube shapes, and they work just fine. You’ll just need to plan accordingly when it comes to thawing the cubes (since larger cubes might not necessarily fit into a narrower bottle opening.)
If you’re interested, you can check out the cylindrical Milkies Trays on Amazon.
How to Freeze Breast Milk in Ice Cube Trays
Now that we have an idea of what to look for in an ice cube tray for freezing breast milk, let’s move on to the nitty gritty: how to freeze that breast milk in your ice cube trays.
1. Pump the milk.
As always, be sure to wash your hands thoroughly before handling breast milk.
You can use whatever milk collection container is the most convenient for you, whether that’s a milk storage bag or a clean, food-grade container.
2. Pour the milk.
You can either pour the milk into the ice cube tray and immediately freeze it, or you can pump throughout the day and then freeze it all at once – whatever best fits your situation.
Just be sure to avoid mixing warm and cool milk together while collecting it to reduce the chances of bacteria growth.
Carefully pour the milk from the collection container into a cleaned and sterilized ice cube tray.
3. Cover and freeze.
Make sure the milk is properly covered (to keep it safe and to avoid freezer burn). Then pop it into the freezer!
Keep it inside the freezer itself, rather than on the door. Milk stored on the door shelf is exposed to more drastic temperature fluctuations than milk stored within the freezer.
4. Remove milk from the ice cube tray.
You can either keep the milk inside the ice cube tray until you’re ready to use it, or you can pop it out and store it inside a freezer safe bag.
Again, be sure to use clean hands when handling breast milk.
5. Thaw the milk.
If you’re using the cylindrical ice cube trays, you should be able to thaw the milk cubes directly inside your baby’s bottle. If you’re using any other tray, then you might have to use a wide mouth baby bottle or food safe jar.
How long are breast milk ice cubes good for?
According to CDC guidelines, you can store breast milk in the deep freezer for (ideally) six months or up to twelve months. In an upright freezer, it’s good for three to six months.
Again, avoid storing it on the freezer door; milk should be inside the body of the freezer, and be sure to follow all proper milk storage guidelines.
Can you freeze breast milk in plastic containers?
You can freeze breast milk in plastic containers as long as it is a sterile, food-safe container with a tight-fitting lid. Avoid recycle number 7 because it could be made of BPA plastic.
Otherwise, stick with glass jars or pre-sterilized milk storage bags.
How can you use frozen breast milk cubes for teething?
Simply throw a frozen milk cube into a mesh feeder and let your baby have it! If the cylindrical cubes don’t quite fit, you might have to break them in half.
If your baby is eating solids, you could even blend the milk in with some food before freezing it, or you could make breastmilk popsicles.
Are breast milk ice cubes safe?
Yes, they are safe to use as long as you follow all proper milk storage guidelines.
Is frozen breast milk still beneficial?
Yes, freezing breast milk helps to preserve the nutrients, so it’s absolutely beneficial to feed it to your baby, as long as you followed those guidelines I referenced previously.
Of course, you should use it within the recommended time period (3-6 months in an upright freezer or 6-12 months in a chest freezer), or the quality could start to decrease.
You might want to freeze breast milk so it’s easy to grab the exact amount you need, or so you have smaller amounts to mix with baby food. In this article, I covered some tips for freezing breast milk in ice cube trays, and I answered some of the most commonly asked questions.
Is there anything else you’re wondering? Let us know in the comments below!
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