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If you have chosen to go the breastfeeding route, you may feel that storing breast milk can be challenging. Perhaps you’ve taken over your existing freezer, leaving no space for groceries. Yet, if you’re an overproducer or need to pump regularly you desperately need space. You also don’t want to waste your liquid gold that is vital for baby’s development and growth.
In this article we’re going to go over how to properly store your breast milk and the best freezer for breastmilk, at the time of publication that is.
- What are the Benefits of Freezing Breast Milk?
- How Do You Properly Store Breast Milk?
- How To Choose the Best Freezer for You?
Table of Contents
Whynter Mini Upright Freezer
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Frigidaire Upright Freezer
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Northair Chest Freezer
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Koolatron Large Chest Freezer
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Alpicool Portable Mini Freezer
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Whynter Portable Deep Freezer Chest
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What are the Benefits of Freezing Breast Milk?
Breast milk is known for its amazing properties and how it is specifically tailored for your child. While many women may not make enough milk to need a freezer or even want one, others may feel like it is the best choice for their family. Check out how to pump and create a milk stash, if this is you.
With all the many wonderful properties contained in breastmilk, it does need to be taken care of. If not immediately refrigerated or used, breast milk can go bad, losing its precious nutrients. Investing in a freezer will allow you to freeze milk as soon as you express it. This will lower milk waste, save you money in the long run, and give you peace of mind knowing your child’s food source is safe.
How Do You Properly Store Breast Milk?
Per the CDC’s guidelines, breastmilk can remain out on a counter for up to 4 hours if it isn’t too hot (for me in Arizona in the summer that likely wouldn’t work). Or it can be stored in the refrigerator for up to 4 days. If it is a deep chest freezer that can maintain a temperature of 0*F (-18*C), or colder, then breastmilk can be stored for up to 12 months, although 6 months may be better for quality purposes. Never refreeze milk again after it has been completely thawed.
If you need a better visual here it is in a table format. PC:CDC
Please note, if you have a power outage, try to not open the doors of your freezer. They will stay colder for longer and will usually be all right if it is a quick reset. If you are worried about your milk, check each bag. If there are still ice crystals present then your breastmilk is still OK and can be frozen solid again.
If you are using breastfeeding and want to track ovulation to prevent another pregnancy too soon, see our article all about it!
Quick Tips on Storing Breast Milk in a Freezer
- Only use containers that are designed for breastmilk: clean, capped food-grade glass containers or hard plastic containers that are not made with the chemical bisphenol A (BPA). You can also use special plastic bags designed for milk collection and storage
- Label with tape or directly on container with the date and time you pumped
- Try storing milk in 1-2 oz so that you can easily reheat without wasting
- Don’t overfill your container as breast milk expands as it freezes
- Store milk at the back of the freezer and fridge, if possible, to keep it cold and at a consistent temperature
- Always use oldest milk first: first in=first out
- As a general rule, for every 25-30 six ounce milk storage bags, you’ll need 1-1.5 cubic feet of space in a freezer
- If freezing milk in bags, try to do an initial freeze flat, so you can more easily stack or stand the bag upright afterward
- Avoid opening the door of your freezer too often, to maintain temperature control and avoid ice build up
How to Choose the Best Freezer for Breastmilk?
There are many options on the freezer market, how do you know which one is best for you? Keep in mind that freezers come in about three options: Upright, chest, and portable. We’re going to describe each one and the pros and cons of each, to help you narrow down your search.
Upright freezers typically have a door and shelves on the inside. The biggest pros include: they occupy less floor space, have easy organization through shelves, and you can store breastmilk upright. Cons include: they are more expensive, have more temperature fluctuation because of the door, and are less energy efficient.
Chest freezers are more spacious and resemble big square chests, with a hinging lid. Pros include: they are energy efficient, more affordable, and spacious. The cons would be: they take up more floor space, they are harder to organize, and accessibility is more challenging (think putting your whole arm in to get something at the bottom).
Portable freezers are new and are similar to vacation coolers. The pros include: they are great for working Moms on the go, portable, lightweight, and they only need batteries or electricity. Cons include: they are pretty pricey for their size, small sizes, not very energy efficient.
Traveling? Read our article on traveling with frozen milk, here.
Here are a few other things to consider when it comes to freezers, so you can make the best decision for your family.
- What kind of space do you have? If you have limited space you may want to consider an upright freezer or portable freezer as they take up the least amount of floorspace.
- What kind of organization do you want? If you are wanting to be more organized and have things readily accessible, again, the upright freezer and portable freezers may be what you are looking for.
- Are you looking for energy saving? Many freezers will eat at your energy bills, so look into those with energy star ratings. If you are looking for energy saving, chest freezers generally are the way to go.
- Low Maintenance? Chest freezers and portable freezers are the best option as you can easily clean them or manually thaw them out. Some of the newer models of upright freezers have frost free systems, you just have to pay for them.
- Grow with your family? The chest freezer and upright freezers will be able to grow with your family the most, especially if you go up a size. If you don’t end up using the freezer for breast milk, you can use it for food. It’s a great investment to have.
- Other factors to consider are temperature control; portability; storage size; and garage vs. indoor freezers
Top 6 Freezers for Breastmilk
Below you’ll find the 6 freezers I researched and tried to narrow down for you in terms of budget and best overall. Remember that freezers come in all shapes, sizes, and can include lots of bells and whistles and this by no means is a comprehensive list. It is important to answer the questions above to find what you are looking for and what will suit your family best, including your budget.
Keep in mind the price points during publication date, as they are subject to change.
Best Compact Budget Upright Freezer
This little guy is a great option if you’re wanting an upright freezer with the ease of storing and don’t have a lot of space. Energy star efficient and with a reversible door option, it won’t hold a lot of breast milk, but is a nice alternative to using your kitchen freezer.
Product Details: Dimensions: 18.5 x 17.7 x 19.5 Inches Capacity: 1.1 Cubic Foot Shelves: Two
- Small and compact
- Could easily fit in your office at work or home
- Energy star efficient
- Can’t hold as much breastmilk
Best Overall Upright Freezer
This is the biggest and most expensive freezer on the list, but includes a frost-free cooling system, a power-on indicator light, a temperature alarm, leveling legs, a reversible door, and plenty of storage shelves. This size may only be needed if you produce a large amount of breast milk and you also wish to fill the freezer with other food options for your family.
Product Details: Dimensions:67.75 x 27.75 x 29.13 inches Capacity: 15.5 Cubic Feet Shelves: 4 Adjustable wire shelves
- Great for more than just breastmilk
- Grows with your family needs
- Easy to reach everything inside
- Most won’t need to store this much milk
- More expensive option
Best Budget Friendly Chest Freezer
This is a nice size chest freezer that gives you a great amount of space for your money. It can also fit more breast milk than the 1 cubic foot and perhaps grow with your family. It’s nice that it comes with a tray, but you may want to find more containers so you don’t have to dig for things at the bottom.
Product Details: Dimensions: 21.18 x 21.77 x 30.94 inches Capacity: 3.5 Cubic Feet Shelves: 2 Baskets; 1 built-in shelf
- Comes in 3 different colors
- 2 removable baskets
- Lid holds itself open
- Quiet and energy efficient
- Deep, so you may have to reach pretty far in to get to the bottom
Best Overall Chest Freezer
This freezer is 7 cubic feet of space that can be used for sizable food options as well as breast milk. Because it is bigger, you will need more floor space overall, however it is still pretty compact and has a flat back design so you can push it right up against the wall. It has manual defrost mode, and easy access drain. This is a nice in-between freezer option for a growing family.
Product Details: Dimensions: 35.75 x 22 x 33 inches Capacity: 7.0 Cubic Feet Shelves: 1 Wire Basket
- Lid holds itself open
- Strong magnetic lid to seal and lock in temperature
- Will require more floor space
Best Value Portable Freezer
With some of the best reviews and the most bang for your buck on portable freezers, this one is a great option to consider and can be a multi-use item. If you are on the go and working a lot this will freeze and keep your milk cold until you can get home.
Product Details: Dimensions: 16.72 x 12.6 x 9.8 Inches Capacity: 10 Quarts or 9 Liters Shelves: None
- Can be converted to a refrigerator so can be more versatile
- Great for traveling long distances in the car
- Smaller in size so less storage.
Best Overall Portable Freezer
And finally, if you are really serious about a portable freezer, this 2.83 Cubic feet Whynter with easy handles, may be what you want. It has an auto defrost with two removable wire shelves. It also has a fast freeze mode that will chill to -8*F and an easy built in drain plug. However, it is still expensive for its overall size and for what it can do, it just depends on what works the best for your family needs.
Product Details: Dimensions:16.5″D x 23.5″W x 20.5″H Capacity: 2.83 Cubic Feet or 45 Quart Shelves: 2 Wire Storage Baskets
- Converts between freezer and refrigerator
- Easy to transport
- Can’t use it as a freezer and refrigerator at the same time.
Being able to comfortably store breast milk is essential if you are: a working Mom on the go, wishing to have a breast milk supply on hand, or even pumping regularly. Knowing what type of freezer and options are important to you will help you narrow down your search. Hopefully this article can help you make an informed decision on storing your breast milk to ensure your precious little one gets the best nutrition for their growth and development.
Niki Cowan has a background in Medicine and Public Health. She is a Certified Health Education Specialist as well as a Medical Assistant. She’s passionate about Women’s Health and empowering women in their journeys. She is married to her wonderful husband Kevin, and they have an active son. While trying to have another little one hasn’t worked out yet, she is pursuing her passions and hoping to gain further education and experience in the area she loves, while playing with her son. She’s an avid reader, Original Great British Baking Show watcher, and very amateur kickboxer.