You are here:

Breastfeeding/Freezing after refrigeration


Unfortunately, I cannot feed directly from the breast, but it is very important to me for my baby to have breastmilk. I am exclusively pumping. I produce just a little more than my two month old eats. I have a few questions as a result. I would oh so appreciate your help.

1. How long can milk be refrigerated before being frozen? I know you suggest a quick cool in the fridge, but is up to 24 hours in the fridge okay?

2. I have an extra couple ounces a day. Upon thawing, can I combine multiple days for one feeding? For example, 2.5 ounces from each of two days that were a few days apart?

3. How much does milk composition change? Is milk frozen when my baby was one month going to provide enough nutrition for him when he is five or six months old, for example?

Thank you again for your time. I greatly appreciate your help during this important time.

Hi Kristin.

I'm sorry for this late response.  I thought I had answered you the same day, but apparently  my answer went missing, so here it is:

First, congratulations for giving your baby the best food in the world -- your own breast milk!

On your questions:

1) Yes, up to 24 hours in the refrigerator is fine for expressed milk.

2) It's best not to keep thawed milk more than 24 hours even if you refrigerate it promptly, and refreezing thawed milk is not a good idea. If you find you consistently have extra milk, freeze your milk in smaller quantities. If you need more at any one feeding, you can quickly thaw a couple of ounces.

3) Milk composition does change, and  your question about the nutritional needs of a growing baby is a good one. So as a general rule, you should feed your baby your expressed milk as soon as possible after freezing. Label and date your bottles or bags and feed them accordingly. If your 5-month-old baby gets an occasional older bottle, don't worry about it. But don't plan on freezing milk for more than 6 months.

I have an entire chapter about pumping, expressing, and storing breast milk in my book co-authored with pediatrician Laura Marks, M.D. (see below). This may help if you have other questions.

Good luck!

Sally Wendkos Olds
Author, THE COMPLETE BOOK OF BREASTFEEDING: Olds & Marks, 4th edition, September 2010, published by Workman Publishing, and available in most public libraries, bookstores & La Leche League chapters.  


All Answers

Answers by Expert:

Ask Experts


Sally Wendkos Olds


What do you want to know about breastfeeding? I can tell you what`s good for the baby, what`s good for the mother -- and the father, how it`s related to a woman`s sexuality, how working moms can nurse, how to overcome obstacles, and lots more. As the author of THE COMPLETE BOOK OF BREASTFEEDING and author or coauthor of 8 other books and more than 200 articles about child and adult development, I can offer sound, sensible advice on breastfeeding, child care and family issues.


I nursed my 3 daughters and am the grandmother of 5 breastfed children. My book THE COMPLETE BOOK OF BREASTFEEDING (written in consultation with pediatrician Marvin S. Eiger, M.D.) was first published in 1972, and in 1999 came out in an updated 3rd Edition by Workman Publishing & Bantam Books. It is now a classic, with over 2 million copies in print. I am now revising this book for a fourth edition, consulting with pediatrician Laura M. Marks, M.D. This new edition will be published September 2009. I welcome any and all suggestions for the new edition. I coauthored college textbooks A CHILD'S WORLD: INFANCY THROUGH ADOLESCENCE, and HUMAN DEVELOPMENT; both are leading texts in their fields and have been read by 2 million students. I am the coauthor of HELPING YOUR CHILD FIND VALUES TO LIVE BY and RAISING A HYPERACTIVE CHILD, and author of THE WORKING PARENTS' SURVIVAL GUIDE & THE ETERNAL GARDEN: SEASONS OF OUR SEXUALITY. My newest book, A BALCONY IN NEPAL: GLIMPSES OF A HIMALAYAN VILLAGE, published in 2002, tells the story of the way of life in a remote village in Nepal, where all the women breastfeed! My book, SUPER GRANNY: COOL PROJECTS, ACTIVITIES, AND OTHER GREAT STUFF TO DO WITH YOUR GRANDKIDS, will be published March 2009. I speak often to professional, parent and general audiences and make many radio and TV appearances.

Credentials I received my B.A. in English Literature from the University of Pennsylvania, where I minored in Psychology, was elected to Phi Beta Kappa and graduated summa cum laude.

Other points of interest I have received national awards for my writing, and am a former president of the American Society of Journalists & Authors. I am listed in the World Who's Who of Women, International Authors & Writers Who's Who, and Contemporary Authors, and am a member of several professional and civic organizations. I believe: that all parents are working parents; that parents employed outside the home need special support; that mothers' well-being is crucial to their children's welfare; and that the family is the best institution in the world and the one for which we are least prepared. My thrills come when parents or kids tell me they were helped by my writing or speaking or just understanding. To find out more about me, go to

©2016 All rights reserved.