It is widely accepted that breast milk is the best solution for feeding your baby. It is known to offer complete and perfect nutrition for newborns, and can also provide benefits to the infant as they grow. For instance, children that were breast fed often have higher IQs and fewer allergies or minor illnesses, such as ear infections.
Of course, it isn’t always convenient to feed your baby at the times when they are hungry, and your body may not cooperate when you need it to. It may also be hard for your child to latch on in order to feed, which is capable of causing a multitude of problems for mother and child.
The good news is there is research that suggests that breast milk can be stored ahead of time and even frozen, without it cultivating harmful bacteria or becoming unsafe for a newborn to drink.
A recent study measured the values of minerals and bacteria in milk that had been frozen versus milk that had been stored in a refrigerator. The results of the study showed that milk does not lose hardly any nutrition, no matter if it has been previously frozen or not. It also concluded that milk can be frozen more than once without losing any nutritional value.
VITAMIN ANALYSIS OF FROZEN AND THAWED BREAST MILK
Vitamin A (IE/100 mL)
Vitamin C (mg/100 mL)
8°C for 4 hours
8°C for 24 hours
23°C for 4 hours
23°C for 8 hours
Additionally, the results suggested that freezing or refrigerating human breast milk does not add any additional harmful bacteria, and can stay fresh and safe to drink for months at a time. The only nutrient that was lost during the freezing or thawing process was Vitamin C, although milk is not considered to be a good choice to drink if you are trying to get Vitamin C.
The most exciting thing about the results that were found in this case is the fact that breast milk does not have to be used right away. It can be stored away for later use, instead of being wasted or thrown out. This is significant because some mothers in the past thought it was proper to discard perfectly edible milk because they thought it was no longer good if it wasn’t fresh. This now means moms can have milk readily available for their children at all times, even if their bodies are not cooperating with them whenever it is time to feed their babies.
This also means that if someone donates milk to a donor bank for other children, it will be able to stay fresher for longer. What’s more is that these findings back up the fact that breast milk, even though it is raw and unpasteurized, is a stable food source.
Of course, it is most beneficial to feed babies directly from the breast, so it is not the best idea to start pumping your milk because of these promising findings. This study was designed to offer a solid back up plan for a mom to have whenever life throws roadblocks in her way, which may keep you from being able to produce milk or be around your baby whenever they are hungry.
David J. Rechtman, MD, Martin L. Lee and H. Berg, Effect of environmental conditions on unpasteurized donor human milk.