Did your power go out and you have a freezer full of breast milk? Here is how long it will last in the freezer and what you can do to preserve it for longer.
There are a lot of problems and concerns that come with a power outage – including all the food that is in your freezer.
When you have a freezer full of breast milk, it can feel even more devastating and dire. You might wonder how long it will stay cold
If you are in the middle of a power outage, here are a few things to keep in mind when it comes to your milk in the freezer.
First off all – how long will it last? In general, if your freezer remains closed, it should avoid completely defrosting for about 48 hours. This can vary depending on how full it was, where the milk was stored, and if it’s been opened at all.
Once all the ice crystals are gone, then the 24 hour clock starts for when it needs to be used. If you can’t use all the milk in that time period, consider donating to another parent in need.
Keep Your Freezer Full
The more full your freezer is, the cold things will stay. If your power is out, I wouldn’t recommend opening it up to fill things in it. However, if you know a power outage is imminent, you could try freezing ziploc bags filled with water to help take up space.
Keep the Freezer Closed
I’ve already mentioned this, but the less you can open the freezer, the better. If you are able to keep it completely closed, it will prolong the time it takes for everything to defrost. Obviously, if you are relying on milk from the freezer, you will need to take milk out – but if you can, take milk that you will need out of the freezer before the power goes out for the next 24 hours and store in the fridge (though keep in mind things will just stay good in the fridge for about four hours during a power outage).
Store Milk at the Back of the Freezer
The back of the freezer is going to be the coldest part of the freezer, so try and store your milk there as much as possible.
Use Snow and Freezing Temperatures
This should really be a last resort, but if the power outage is due to snow and freezing temperatures, you could use it to your advantage.
Place your bags of milk in freezer bags, make sure they are sealed well, and then bury them in the snow. The snow may help prevent them from defrosting, especially if the temperatures stay below freezing. If things start warming up above freezing, this might not work for you.
You Can Refreeze It (sometimes)
If the power outage is short lived and your milk hasn’t completely defrosted, you should be able to refreeze the milk if there are still ice crystals in the milk. Learn more here – Can Breast Milk Be Re-Frozen?