Wednesday, July 05, 2006

What the f*#%k does "thawed" mean, anyway?

According to every source I've read, you can thaw frozen breast milk in a few ways:
1. you can let it thaw in the refrigerator
2. you can put it in a pan of warm water (like a bottle warmer)
3. you can put it under running warm water

Here are some ways you should NOT thaw breast milk:
1. in the microwave (you kill off all the cells still alive)
2. on the stove in scalding water (again, you kill off the antibacterial qualities)
3. at room temperature (I guess, by the time it's thawed, it's already gone bad)

Once thawed, all the sources agree that you should use the milk within 24 hours.

That's great. I'm glad that on this, at least, they all agree. But my question is: what is considered "thawed" breast milk?
Last time I tried to thaw a batch of milk, it took 24 hours just to get half liquid. The other half was still crystalized ice milk (hey, Darth D., you want a milk pop?). So did the half that was liquid already start it's 24 countdown? Does the whole bag need to be liquid before that magic 24 hour window starts, or just any part of the bag?

And what if I had used a bottle warmer, or a pan of warm water? Then some of the milk will get very warm, while other parts of it will still be frozen. Does that affect the 24 hour timeline?

Nobody seems to have an answer for this. Everybody just says "use within 24 hours after thawing." Maybe I'm a dimwit, I don't know; maybe I'm just being paranoid. But I don't want to feed funky milk to my baby, breast milk or not.

I wish someone would clarify this whole "thawing" thing.


Blogger ceece said...

i had to pump because my son was in the NICU for three weeks after he was born, and I just got used to it. I still nursed him, but mostly pumped, that way I was sure I was getting it all out.

Anyway, with the thawing thing, I just stuck to running it under warm water, then I didn't really have to worry about the other stuff. Until it was all liquid. After some would melt, I would poor it out and then run the chunk under the water again.

Time consuming yes, but at least I had a time table!

Hope that helps.

11:47 AM  
Blogger MiamiMommy said...

I was also very nervous about the thawing breast milk thing. How can you even tell if the milk is bad?! I used to thaw milk for my kids in coolish (not cold) water. As long as the water is warmer than the air in the freezer, it will thaw, though it will take a little longer. It made me feel less freaked out than using warm water!

5:07 PM  
Blogger liz said...

Luke-warm running water is what I used.

9:33 PM  
Blogger ceece said...

good lord did I really type poor it out? uggh I meant pour it out :-)

6:35 AM  
Blogger Leah said...

I thawed mine under fairly warm water and never had a problem with it. The trick, for us, was to freeze the bag laying flat, so there was a ton of surface area (if you freeze it upright, you get a large chunk that takes A LOT longer to thaw). Mine thawed in about 1 minute of warm water. Hope that helps!

6:46 AM  
Blogger Heidi said...

Like Leah said, we always froze it flat, just because it was easier to store. But in retrospect it would have helped the thawing time as well.

To thaw, we'd set it in a dish of warm water for a few minutes. It wasn't super fast, but it worked.

Best of luck to you!

10:40 AM  
Blogger Sarah said...

We thaw in the refrigerator, and any still frozen bits are taken care of with lukewarm water warming in a coffee cup just prior to feeding.

It's not "scientific" per se, but when in doubt as to whether the milk is bad or not, I taste test it. Plah.

5:43 AM  
Blogger lilian flores said...

What does thaw milk mean?

7:38 AM  

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