In the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy, many mamas face the additional stress of losing their stash of frozen breast milk. If you have lost power, please don't dump your milk....At least not yet.
Unfortunately, there is a lack of research on safety of previously frozen breast milk. But, here's what HAS been studied so far:
*Breast milk that is still slushy or has crystals is still considered frozen. Simply re-freeze it as soon as possible.
*Breast milk that has been thawed and un-refrigerated for up to 8 hours can be refrozen.
If your frozen milk thawed, but is still cold, consider refreezing. A study in Breastfeeding Medicine (Rechtman, Lee & Berg 2006) measured bacteria levels, Vitamins A & C, as well as Fatty Acids in thawed breast milk in various conditions. The study included milk that was thawed and refrozen repeatedly....And guess what? That milk was still safe to use!
In determining the fate of thawed milk, use common sense. Smell it. Breast milk will separate (it's unpasteurized!) that's not an indication of whether the milk is still good to use.
To all the parents who are dealing with power outages and property damage in the wake of Hurricane Sandy, your family will be in my thoughts.
Postpartum Doula, Breastfeeding Counselor, Mother of Three.