Can you mix breast milk from different days?
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Mixing breast milk from different days or sessions is another thing many new mothers ask about. There are specific vital details to consider when you want to mix breastmilk from different days.

You might be tempted to do that if you’re going to use milk that would go bad otherwise or that it is close to expiry. Or you might want to give your baby fresh milk combined with older milk that is still good to use and was stored correctly.

Whatever your reasons are, mixing milk from different days might come to your mind more than once as you are breastfeeding your little one.

Can you mix breast milk from different days?

Yes. You can mix breastmilk from different days as long as both types of milk are not altered.

  • If you want to mix older frozen milk with fresher frozen milk, all you have to do is defrost them and combine them together before warming it up for your baby to eat it. However, if you want to mix frozen milk with freshly expressed milk, you will need to get them to be the same temperature first. This means that you should defrost the frozen milk in one container and lower the temperature of the expressed milk. You can reduce the temperature by placing the expressed milk in a bowl with cold water for 30 minutes. Considering that expressed breastmilk stays good for four hours at room temperature, you shouldn’t have any problem in doing this.
  • However, you might want to defrost the frozen milk a few hours or even the day before by placing it in the refrigerator. This will ease your job when you need to combine the two types of milk.
  • It is crucial to know, though, that you should avoid mixing breastmilk from different days if your baby is a preemie or they have a sensitive immune system. No matter how sterile your containers are and how well you store your milk, you never know if you are entirely on top of the bacteria hazard.
  • For infants born full-term with no significant health conditions, doing this is safe, however, because their bodies are strong enough to face bacteria. But even in these optimum circumstances, you should pay a lot of attention to hygiene.
  • Make sure all your containers are correctly sterilized and that you are not contaminating the milk while you combine it. This should keep you out of any significant risk. Plus, you will be able to use milk that otherwise would be wasted!
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Advantages of mixing breast milk from different sessions

There are certain advantages to mixing breastmilk from different days as long as you do it right.

  • The main one is that you will not have to toss old milk. If you notice that a bag of milk is close to its expiration date, you can just mix it with some fresh milk and prepare a meal for your baby.
  • Another benefit is that you can complete leftovers with fresh milk until you get to the quantity your baby usually eats in one meal. For instance, if you have half a bottle of older milk and you need a full bottle, you can use fresh milk to complete it.
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Disadvantages of mixing breast milk from different days

There are also disadvantages to this method.

  • Older milk will not have the same quality and properties as fresh milk or as the milk that was pumped sooner. So, you do take the risk of introducing certain bacteria to your baby’s meal.
  • As we saw, this is a risk that should be avoided when it comes to preemies and sensitive babies. But if your child is full-term and healthy, the consequences are significantly reduced.
  • Another disadvantage is that you might contaminate the milk as you are mixing it.
  • Combining milk from different containers, as well as establishing the right temperature for both types of milk, might allow new germs to get in the final meal. As much as you try to control this aspect, you can never be entirely sure of the outcome.
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As convenient as this strategy might be, you don’t want to overdo it. Only combine milk from different dates if you have to.

Unless you feel that you have to do that, you should stick to giving your baby milk from one container at a time.

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Key References

  • “Breastmilk: Pumping, Collecting, Storing – Health Encyclopedia – University of Rochester Medical Center”. Accessed February 28, 2020. Link.

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