Freeze dried breast milk has the convenience of formula with the nutrition of breast milk. Learn how to make your your own!
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Babies can be fed all types of ways. If you are planning on breastfeeding, and are looking for some different ways to store breastmilk besides in the freezer, consider having it freeze dried. We own a home freeze dryer so this process can happen right here at home. If you do not have a freeze dryer there are also some company’s like this one that will freeze dry your breast milk for you.
We use the freeze dryer for all kinds of purposes so it penciled out for us purchase one. If you are on the fence on whether or not you want to purchase a home freeze dryer, we wrote an entire review that went through the good, the bad, and the ugly about our Harvest Right freeze dryer. You can read that article here.
Once breast milk is freeze dried, it is extremely easy to travel with. Or leave at home with baby, when you go back to work. My favorite part about freeze drying breast milk is that it makes room in the freezer, so we can store more food at home.
Breast milk is a living product that needs to be stored with extreme care–that is why I love freeze drying! It retains almost all of the nutrition of milk straight from “the tap.”
Benefits of freeze dried breast milk
There are numerous benefits to freeze drying breast milk. Below are some of the main reasons you may consider having your breast milk freeze dried.
Freeze dried breast milk clears freezer space
Once breast milk has been freeze dried it requires no further refrigeration or freezing. It is a shelf stable product that has all of the original nutrients. Having a clear freezer allows for other food to be stored adding to your home efficiency.
Breast milk powder that is stored in mylar bags with oxygen absorbers is shelf stable and nutrient dense for over 3 years. It is still usable after this but slowly lowers in nutrient value.
Storing freeze dried breast milk is a better way to preserve the nutritional quality. Dehydrating breast milk degrades the nutritional quality. Rehydrate into milk again or add breast milk powder to solid foods to give them a nutritional boost.
Breast milk is valuable and a lot of work to collect and store. If there were a power outage or the milk was not used before it goes bad, it is wasted! Freeze-drying breast milk protects it from loss during a power outage, natural disaster, and extends the shelf life.
Freeze-dried breast milk is light weight which makes transporting breast milk during travel easier and more convenient. Also, breast milk powder can be packed even on an airplane! Transporting and saving breast milk from a surrogate/donor is also made much easier in powdered form. Freeze dried breast milk is revolutionary for breast milk donations.
Freeze-drying breast milk as you pump is a great way to stockpile before you go back to work or are preparing for time away from baby. Breast milk powder is easy for caretakers to use when mom is away.
How to Make Freeze Dried Breast Milk
Making freeze dried breast milk is as simple as pushing a button on a freeze dryer…well almost! Start with breastmilk that is stored in lactation bags and frozen. Before freezing lay your lactation bag flat, so that the milk freezes at even thickness. Once your milk is frozen simply cut the milk out of the bag with clean kitchen shears on one side. Slide the milk onto a clean freeze drying tray. Put the tray into an already cold freeze dryer, and press start! This process should take between 24-36 hours, depending on the thickness and moisture content of the breast milk.
Once the milk is completely dry, quickly get it into storage bags. I like these small Mylar Bags best because they block light and keep breastmilk safe for the longest amount of time. You can portion out your breast milk into different sized feedings depending on what your baby needs.
- 2 fl. oz. feeding portion out 1 Tbsp of breast milk powder
- 4 fl. oz. feeding portion out 2 Tbsp breast milk powder
- 6 fl. oz. feeding portion out 3 Tbsp breast milk powder
- 8 fl. oz feeding portion out 4 Tbsp breast milk powder
Portioning breast milk into individual bags and labeling the contents with the contents, date, and volume makes feedings later a breeze.
How to store freeze dried breast milk
While breast milk is still powdered:
- Store dated and sealed pouches in a cool, dry, indoor place.
- Once a pouch is opened, store in a cool, dry place with the zipper tightly sealed. Do not store it in the refrigerator. Once it is opened, discard after 24 hours.
- Do not use if freeze dried breast milk is older than 3 years.
Once breast milk is rehydrated:
- Once breast milk is rehydrated make sure to use within 2 hours of preparation. Rehydrated breast milk can spoil if left at room temperature.
- If you do not start to use the rehydrated milk within 2 hours, immediately store the bottle in the fridge and use it within 24 hours.
- Do not re-freeze rehydrated milk.
- Throw out any milk that is left in the bottle after feeding your baby. The combination of milk and your baby’s saliva can cause bacteria to grow. Be sure to clean and sanitize the bottle before its next use.
How to rehydrate freeze dried breast milk
- Add water to bottle
- Add powder to bottle
- Mix it up
- Feed baby
1. Add water to bottle
- Before preparing milk, wash your hands with soap and warm water!
- Add room temp or pre-warmed purified water to a pre-sterilized bottle. 1 Tbsp. powder per 2 fl. oz. water.
- Always measure the water first and then add the powder. Too much water may not meet the nutritional needs of your baby. Too little water may cause your baby’s kidneys and digestive system to work too hard and may cause your baby to become dehydrated.
- Place the bottle under running warm water, taking care to keep the water from getting into the bottle or on the nipple. You can also use a bottle warmer, or let the closed bottle sit in a bowl of warm water from a kettle, microwave, or stove top. Do not let the bottle nipple contact the water when warming.
- Never heat a prepared breast milk bottle in a microwave. Microwaving can destroy nutrients in breast milk and create hot spots, which can burn a baby’s mouth.
2. Add powder to bottle
Always use a clean, dry measuring scoop. Measure out the powder and add to the pre-measured water.
3. Mix it up
- Screw the lid on the bottle tightly, and gently shake the contents together. Depending on the fat content of the milk, it make take a bit longer for the fats to dissolve. If any clumps remain, gently heat bottle under warm running water (with bottle nipple covered) and continue swirling.
- In some cases, adding slightly warmer water may be necessary to get the fats in the milk to dissolve. In this case, the milk may be too hot for feeding. To use right away, cool the milk to ensure it is not too hot before feeding your baby. Run the prepared, capped bottle under cool water or place it into an ice bath. Do not let the cooling water get into the bottle or on the nipple.
- Some studies have suggested that when breast milk is heated too hot (above 100.4°F) its proteins begin to break down. So make sure to not use too warm of water! This means that breast milk powder can lose important immunologically “active” and digestive components that benefit babies.
4. Feed the baby
Make sure the rehydrated breast milk is not too hot. Test the milk’s temperature by putting a few drops on the inside of your wrist. It should feel warm, not hot.
How long does freeze dried breastmilk last?
Freeze-drying extends the shelf life of the milk 3 years from the date of freeze-drying. Make sure to label your bags to know when the freeze dried breast milk needs to be used up.
Does freeze-drying breast milk lose nutrients?
Freeze dried breast milk retains almost all of the nutrition! With freeze drying, there is no thawing or heating of your breastmilk. It’s different than dehydration which use high temperatures to evaporate the the milk which destroys the heat sensitive nutrients like vitamins, enzymes and antioxidants.
- Freeze dried breast milk retains 97% of nutrients
- Dehydrated breast milk retains 60% of nutrients
- Canned breast milk retains 40% of nutrients
How much water do you add to freeze dried breast milk?
Milk is easy to freeze dry and once powdered, takes up little space and is extremely lightweight. An entire gallon can fit into a quart jar. It is also simple to reconstitute.
Simply add a 1 to 1 ratio of powder to water.
How to incorporate freeze dried breast milk into solid foods
Did you know that your powdered breast milk can also be incorporated into solid foods even after weaning for a nutritional boost!? Simply sprinkle a little on your child’s favorite foods, and mix in. Here are a few tips:
- Each ounce of frozen breast milk will yield approximately 2 teaspoons of breast milk powder.
- Make sure that the powder is mixed in thoroughly to the food to prevent accidental powder inhalation.
- After you open a bag of your breast milk powder, remember to re-seal the zipper! The powder will rapidly start to attract moisture if left unsealed, which can lead to bacterial growth as your milk was not pasteurized during the freeze-drying process. For this reason, once the bag has been opened, it should be re-sealed and used within 3 days.