Freezer left open, breastmilk partially thawed. Safe?
October 4, 2017 9:23 PM   Subscribe

The freezer was left not-quite closed and my breastmilk that was in there is all partially thawed. Each bag is large chunk of ice surrounded by liquid. I would say about 2/3 - 3/4 ice surrounded by 1/4-1/3 liquid. Can I just close the freezer door and pretend this never happened and use the milk as I would have before?
posted by If only I had a penguin... to Health & Fitness (15 answers total)
Ime, when you are questioning if your milk is good, offer it to the baby. The baby will always tell you if the milk is acceptable or not.

I totally feel your pain on this - it happened to me twice! The first time I dumped the milk. The second time I kept it and refroze it; kept it segregated, made a point of using it before using other milk. Baby took every bag and never got sick so all was okay. Worst case scenario baby doesn't take it and then you dump it - but only one bag at a time, not en mass.
posted by vignettist at 9:41 PM on October 4 [1 favorite]

If there’s still ice in it then the liquid part would still have been at 0 degrees celsius, especially so if it was mostly ice. I think you’re good, but would use this milk first.
posted by pharm at 1:45 AM on October 5 [1 favorite]

The baby will always tell you if the milk is acceptable or not.

What does he do, send it to a lab? In general, bacterial contamination need not also cause a bad odor or taste.
posted by thelonius at 3:26 AM on October 5 [16 favorites]

A new twist: The door wasn't open. THe freezer is broken. So it hasn't refrozen overnight and is still ice with liquid. BUT the milk that I put in last nihgt before bed is totally liquid. It didn't freeze at all. Can I just use that this morning and consider it refrigerated since it was in among the icy milk?
posted by If only I had a penguin... at 7:00 AM on October 5

Can I just use that this morning and consider it refrigerated...?
That's what I would do. (I am a parent who has used frozen breast milk, I am not a food safety specialist, YMMV.)
posted by SaltySalticid at 7:02 AM on October 5 [1 favorite]

They can't come to repair it until next week. ACK. How do I deal with milk going forward? Buy a cooler and ice and treat as refrigerated?
posted by If only I had a penguin... at 7:27 AM on October 5

You can get a mini fridge for fairly cheap if there are any back-to-school sales going on, maybe. Or it's the sort of thing many people have around to lend (usually from a kid who formerly had one for their dorm). I know that's not the cheapest solution but it might work?

You can totally keep it at a safe temperature in a cooler but it'll require close monitoring to make sure it stays at a safe temperature consistently.
posted by mosst at 7:39 AM on October 5

I'd definitely just treat the fully liquid milk from last night as if it had been in the fridge.

For the frozen breastmilk - can you ask a neighbor or friend to store it until your freezer is fixed? I'd be happy to store breastmilk for a week for someone, and totally willing to make room in my freezer even if it meant throwing stuff out if needed, and I'm sure that most people who have breastfed / pumped - and plenty who haven't - would do the same.
posted by insectosaurus at 9:30 AM on October 5

Long shot, but if you happen to live in the Reno area, bring your cooler to my house and we have plenty of freezer space. If you are on the MeFi parenting facebook group maybe you can find someone close who can help you out if you don't want to give location here. If you're not in that group, I can ask one of the mods there about adding you. Memail me if you need any of these things :)
posted by freezer cake at 9:44 AM on October 5 [1 favorite]

Do you rent? If so I would frame this as a food safety issue for your infant (which it is) and go absolutely berserk if they tried to tell me I had to be without a freezer to store my baby's only food source for more than 24 hours.
posted by tatiana wishbone at 10:07 AM on October 5

Fresh breast milk is good for five days in the fridge, so use that as a benchmark for last night's unfrozen milk. Put all new milk in fridge until freezer gets fixed unless you can find a kind soul who will let you borrow their freezer.

Do you have a big stash in the broken freezer? At this point, since an unknown amount of time has passed since the freezer broke and the milk thawed, I - personally - would unfortunately throw it away. And cry. But I absolutely wouldn't be comfortable feeding it to baby.
posted by lydhre at 10:33 AM on October 5

If it's still slushy, it's still frozen (enough) and you can refreeze it and pretend it never happened. I've done that with two kids. Maybe consider getting some dry ice from a grocery/convenience store? Less messy (and colder?) than regular ice until your freezer gets fixed.
posted by whitewall at 12:07 PM on October 5

OP, sent you a memail.
posted by vignettist at 12:54 PM on October 5

Thanks, everybody. I did find a home for all the breastmilk in a friend's freezer (coincidentally also a mefite). My concern with the stuff I pump tonight for example. I think I will just feed it to him tomorrow and leave my stash unreplenished until Wednesday.

I do not rent. Apparently the appliance repair places are super busy right now because everyone wants their oven fixed in time for thanskgiving. (presumably people who don't use their ovens very often just found them broken, or people who knew they were broken but figured they could just do without for a while suddenly decided it was urgent). Hence the delay until Wednesday.

Anyway, I have no idea what's going on with my freezer. It may not even need a repair person. I'm actually going to use my other weekly askMe to try to find out.
posted by If only I had a penguin... at 7:39 PM on October 5

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