How long does it take to defrost breast milk? Most of us know that within 24 hours the frozen milk is capable of flowing again. But, many mothers mistakenly assume that it will take that much time before their breast milk thaws out. They often fail to understand that a freezer burn can occur just as rapidly. There is really no way to tell how long it will take to thaw milk from a freezer.
In reality, a freezer burn typically takes one day. The signs of milk thawing vary from woman to woman and even from day to day. A woman who experiences rapid breast milk thawing may notice red and tender nipples and an increase in the amount of discharge. Other women will not notice any symptoms at all. These variations depend on the individual woman’s body, the milk and her diet.
To answer the question of how long does it take to defrost breast milk, a mother must remember that not all of her milk will thaw. Only the breast milk that has not yet started to deteriorate will thaw. It is during this period that the milk will begin to thaw out and the slow-moving liquid will become more thick and soupy. The longer it takes for the milk to become thick and soupy, the less healthy the milk will be. Therefore, defrosting immediately following feedings will ensure optimal health of her child.
It is also important to realize that a small fraction of the milk will not thaw at all. This milk is known as surplus milk and will only thaw after one day. For most mothers, it usually takes one day for the milk to return to its normal temperature and then will no longer be stored in the refrigerator. If this happens, it is safe to assume that the mother has fed her child with insufficient milk that night and that she will have to wait a day or two before the surplus milk can be fed to her infant again.
Most mothers find that this process goes smoothly without any problems for one to three days. However, if the infant or the nipple becomes very sore, it could take a few more days before the milk returns to its normal temperature. Also, sometimes the infant is so sore that he or she needs to be hospitalized for observation. This is not, however, always the case. Sometimes, it just takes more time because the infant simply isn’t ready for solid foods.
It is quite common for an infant to refuse solid foods for a few days after birth and then become hungry within just a few hours after feeding. At this point, it is normal for the mother to feed the infant milk using breast milk, but it could take several more hours before the milk returns to the infant’s temperature and can be fed to him or her. If it is possible, it is better to wait until the infant is back to his or her usual size before feeding him or her solid food. This allows the milk to flow easier and with less discomfort to the infant.
It will take months and even years for an infant to return to being a regular part of the mother’s life. It can take about six months or more for the milk to begin flowing again and for the milk ducts to reattach after giving birth. So, as long as the infant is healthy and eating on a regular schedule, there really isn’t a time limit on when you should start thinking about defrosting the milk. Of course, you do want to make sure that you are preparing the milk at the right temperature first and that you know how long it will take to defrosting it.
Usually, it takes about four months for a nursing mother to start feeling the warmth again in her milk ducts. You can monitor this by using a basal thermometer at the breast. Once the infant has been nursed to full term and is back to being fed by breast, you can decide if you have successfully re-established the milk flow and can go about defrosting the breast milk. Knowing how long does it take to defrost breast milk will allow you to plan early so you don’t rush into doing it. This will ensure that the milk will be flowing well and ready to feed your infant again soon after giving birth.