When I was an exclusive pumper with my first born, I was totally clueless that there was a right and wrong way to freeze breast milk. My bags were thrown into my freezer in lumps and frozen in all sorts of weird shapes and sizes.
This was so inefficient, but I was so oblivious to it, even though it seems obvious now. I guess when you’re a new mom, though, it’s easy to overlook the simple things. We’re so overwhelmed with new, new, new that I totally get why I spent almost a whole year freezing breast milk in ugly lumps.
Also, nobody ever told me any different.
Well, here I am to tell you that there is a right way to freeze breast milk. It will save your freezer space and maybe even a little bit of your sanity—y’know if you’re a little bit of a perfectionist like me.
Freeze Breast Milk FlatThis is the right way to freeze breast milk, in my (and many others’) opinion. If you’re pumping for a milk bank for donation then this is definitely the most efficient way to freeze, seeing as the only other option is bottles.
A tip my sister gave me before the birth of my youngest was to use an empty wipes container to freeze my Lansinoh Breastmilk Storage Bags. They fit perfectly which makes it even better. It's a great alternative to pricey storage solutions that promise the same thing. Why not use something you already have that costs a lot less.
However, you can easily freeze breast milk flat without the use of a wipes container. Now that I’m exclusively pumping for a milk bank post-surrogacy, I simply lay the bags flat on the shelf in my freezer of my fridge. Another great tip is to freeze between two cookie sheets because then your bags will be flat on both sides.
Breast Milk CubesAnother option for moms is to freeze breast milk in cubes, like ice cubes. When I briefly did this, I used Munchkin's Click Lock Fresh Food Freezer Trays, but many other—probably better—options are available. If I was to do it again, I’d probably use a tray designed for freezing breast milk such as Milkies Milk Tray or a flexible silicone tray such as this one Nuk offers.
Freezing breast milk like this can be convenient as many tray options allow you to freeze in 1 ounce portions, so you can thaw exactly what you need, when you need it.
However, it can also be a real pain to get the cubes out of the tray. You will need to be mindful of properly storing the breast milk to avoid freezer burn.
Proper care of breast milk is important so that the hard work of pumping doesn’t go to waste. Any mom who’s ever dumped a few ounces of her pumped milk knows that crying over spilled milk is absolutely fine!
How do you store breast milk? Are you guilty of freezing ugly breast milk lumps at one point, too?