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How to Reheat Breast Milk

You've expressed and stored your breast milk properly -- now it's time to use it! Reheating your breast milk correctly will ensure that it's as fresh (and as safe) as possible for your little one. From using an electric bottle warmer to running the container under warm water, many options can be used. Always be sure to test the temperature first before giving your baby heated milk.

What Do I Need to Know Before Heating Breast Milk?

If you are a mother who is breastfeeding and storing your breast milk, you may be wondering about how to heat the milk back up properly for future use. This is important information to have -- by expressing, storing, and thawing your breast milk properly, you can help ensure that the nutritional quality has been maintained as much as possible.
(Click The Whys and Hows of Expressing Breast Milk and How to Store Breast Milk for more information on these topics.)

I've Got Breast Milk in the Freezer -- Now What?

If you are expressing your breast milk and don't need to use it right away, put it in the refrigerator or freezer -- the fresher your milk is, the better it is. Also, refrigerated milk will have more benefits than frozen milk.
Fresh breast milk can be stored in the refrigerator for up to eight days. Depending on the type of freezer you are using, breast milk can be frozen for around six months.
So you've gone through all the work of sterilizing containers, expressing the milk, and storing it -- now how do you go about reusing it? If you aren't in too big of a rush to use the milk, you can put the frozen breast milk in the refrigerator to thaw, which takes about 24 hours (or less, for small volumes of milk in storage bags). Breast milk that has been thawed but has not yet been warmed should be used within 24 hours or discarded. Do not refreeze it. When you are ready to use it, run it under warm water until it reaches room temperature.
If you need the milk right away, remove it from the freezer and run warm water over it until it reaches room temperature. Breast milk that has been thawed outside the refrigerator in warm water can be used right away or stored in the fridge for up to four hours.
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