Can You Mix Breast Milk From Different Days?

can you mix breast milk from different days
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Key Takeaways

  • The article addresses common questions – can you mix breast milk from different days?
  • It is advised to cool freshly expressed milk before combining it with previously stored milk to prevent bacterial growth.
  • Guidelines suggest using the date of the oldest milk for labeling and adhering to safe storage periods.
  • Expert advice from health organizations like the CDC and AAP emphasizes safety in handling and storing breast milk to ensure the best nutrition for your baby.

As a mother who has navigated the challenges of breastfeeding and pumping, I’ve encountered numerous questions about best practices for storing and handling breast milk. One of the most frequent queries I receive is “can you mix breast milk from different days”. With so much information out there, it can be hard to know what’s safe and what’s not. In this article, I’ll delve into this topic in detail, covering various aspects and providing expert advice and recommendations.

Mixing Frozen Breast Milk from Different Days

Many mothers freeze their breast milk to build up a stash for future use. It’s a common practice to pump, store, and freeze milk to ensure a consistent supply for your baby. However, a question arises: can you mix frozen breast milk from different days?

The short answer is yes, but with certain precautions. When mixing frozen milk, ensure that all the milk being combined is still within its safe storage period. The milk should be thawed in the refrigerator or using a safe thawing method. Once thawed, mix the milk gently and use it within 24 hours. Always label the combined milk with the date of the oldest milk to ensure you use it within the appropriate time frame. It is generally safe to mix breast milk from different pumping sessions, but follow these guidelines carefully.

Combine Breast Milk From Different Days
Photo Source: parents.com

What Does This Mean, Exactly?

The guideline against mixing breast milk from different days can seem confusing at first. Does it mean you can’t mix milk pumped within 24 hours, or does it refer to milk pumped on different calendar days? The distinction is crucial for mothers who pump at odd hours, such as late at night or early in the morning.

The general rule is to consider the time frame rather than strictly the calendar day. If the milk was pumped within the same 24-hour period, it is typically safe to mix. However, it’s essential to ensure that all milk is brought to the same temperature before mixing. Adding warm milk to cold milk can encourage bacterial growth, which we want to avoid. Milk from different pumping sessions/days may be combined in one container as long as these precautions are observed.

Also Read: How to Unfreeze Breast Milk Quickly and Safely?

Evaluating the Recommendation

Is There Science Behind It?

Many guidelines, such as those from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), suggest caution when mixing breast milk from different days. The primary concern is that mothers may not treat all the mixed milk as if it was pumped at the time of the first expressed milk. This means if you mix milk pumped today with milk pumped yesterday, you should treat the combined milk as if it was all pumped yesterday and use it within that safe storage period.

Also Read: Can You Reheat Breast Milk Twice? Avoid Common Mistakes

These recommendations might seem overly cautious, but they aim to prevent any potential risks of bacterial contamination. While the evidence for these guidelines may not be explicitly detailed, they are based on a precautionary principle to ensure the safety of your baby.

Now, let’s tackle the specific question of mixing milk from different days:

Can You Mix Refrigerated Breast Milk from Different Days?

When it comes to refrigerated breast milk, the same principles apply. You can mix milk from different days, but ensure that the milk is at the same temperature before combining. If you have milk from yesterday and today, cool the fresh milk in the refrigerator before mixing it with the previously chilled milk.

Label the container with the date of the oldest milk and use the mixed milk within the appropriate storage period for the oldest milk. Typically, refrigerated breast milk is safe for up to four days, so use the combined milk within this time frame to ensure its safety and freshness.

Can You Mix Frozen Milk from Different Days?

Mixing frozen milk follows a similar logic to mixing refrigerated milk. Ensure that all the milk being combined is still within its safe storage period, which is usually up to six months for best quality and up to 12 months in a deep freezer. Thaw the milk in the refrigerator or using a safe method, and then mix the thawed milk gently.

Label the mixed milk with the date of the oldest milk and use it within 24 hours of thawing. This approach ensures that the milk remains safe and retains its nutritional quality for your baby.

can you mix breast milk from different days
Photo: exclusivepumping.com

Can You Mix Breast Milk from Different Days?

In summary, it is generally safe to mix breast milk from different days as long as you follow some basic guidelines. Ensure all milk is at the same temperature before mixing, label the combined milk with the date of the oldest milk, and use the mixed milk within the appropriate storage period for the oldest milk.

While some guidelines may seem overly cautious, they are designed to ensure the highest safety standards for your baby. By following these recommendations, you can confidently mix breast milk from different days without compromising your baby’s health.

Can You Mix Refrigerated Breast Milk with Freshly Pumped?

A common question is whether you can mix freshly pumped breast milk with refrigerated milk. The answer is yes, but you need to bring the fresh milk to the same temperature as the refrigerated milk before mixing. Placing the fresh milk in the refrigerator to cool it down to the same temperature as the stored milk prevents bacterial growth. Mixing freshly expressed breast milk with already cooled or frozen milk must be done correctly to ensure safety.

Once both are at the same temperature, you can combine them and store the mixed milk according to the date of the oldest milk. This method ensures that the milk remains safe for your baby to consume.

can you mix breast milk from different days - Expert Advice and Recommendations

Expert Advice and Recommendations

Experts from various health organizations provide guidelines to help mothers handle and store breast milk safely. Here are some key points from leading authorities:

  • Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC): The CDC advises against adding warm milk to already refrigerated or frozen milk. Cool the freshly expressed milk before combining it with older, refrigerated milk.
  • La Leche League International (LLLI): LLLI suggests that milk from different pumping sessions or days can be combined in one container. Use the date of the first milk expressed for labeling and storage purposes.
  • American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP): The AAP recommends that combined milk be treated based on the date and time of the earliest expressed milk in the mixture.

These recommendations emphasize safety and practicality, ensuring that your baby receives the best possible nutrition without any risk of contamination.

Conclusion

Mixing breast milk from different days is a common practice for many breastfeeding mothers. While it is generally safe, it’s important to follow specific guidelines to ensure the milk remains safe for your baby. By keeping milk at the same temperature before mixing, labeling containers accurately, and adhering to safe storage periods, you can confidently mix breast milk from different days.

Remember, the guidelines provided by health organizations are designed to help you make informed decisions about your baby’s nutrition. By staying informed and following best practices, you can ensure your baby receives the best care and nourishment possible. If you have any questions or concerns, don’t hesitate to consult with a lactation consultant or your healthcare provider. They can offer personalized advice and support to help you navigate the complexities of breastfeeding and milk storage.

FAQs

Can you mix breast milk from different times of the day?

According to VeryWell Family, you can safely combine breast milk from different pumping sessions if it’s collected and stored under clean conditions and your baby is full-term and healthy. However, it’s not recommended to mix milk that has been stored for over 24 hours.

Can you combine breast milk from different days according to the CDC?

Mixing freshly expressed breast milk with already cooled or frozen milk is not recommended because it can raise the temperature of the older stored milk. Consider storage duration guidelines for breast milk.

Can I mix morning and evening breast milk?

Yes, mixing morning and evening breast milk is safe for most babies. Both milks offer different benefits – morning milk is higher in volume, while evening milk is richer in fat. Combining them provides a well-rounded mix of nutrients. Just ensure proper hygiene when handling and chilling milk before mixing.

What are the rules for combining breast milk?

The CDC states that it is safe to mix refrigerated breast milk from different days if the milk is at the same temperature. Freshly expressed milk can be added to refrigerated milk, but it should be cooled first before combining.

Can I reuse breast milk baby didn’t finish?

If, after feeding your baby, you have half or a quarter of a bottle left, you can reuse it, but only if it’s done soon. The CDC recommends reusing leftover breast milk within two hours of the last feeding. If more than two hours pass, it should be discarded.

Can I mix breast milk of different temperatures?

Mixing freshly expressed breast milk with already cooled or frozen milk is not recommended because it can rewarm the stored milk. It’s best to cool freshly expressed milk before combining it with older, previously cooled or frozen milk. Additionally, consider the storage duration guidelines for breast milk.

References

  1. Can You Mix Breast Milk From Different Days? – https://www.parents.com/can-you-mix-breast-milk-from-different-days-8605517#
  2. The Ultimate Guide to Storing and Combining Breast Milk – https://aeroflowbreastpumps.com/blog/combining-breast-milk-from-different-pumping-sessions
  3. Milk Storage Guidelines – https://www.aap.org/en/patient-care/breastfeeding/milk-storage-guidelines/
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