Being a father myself, I’m all for making parenting as easy as possible! Bottle-feeding is one area that can be time-consuming with all the preparation and cleaning of baby bottles. It’s not surprising parents ask if their baby bottles can go in the freezer to free up some time!
Premium-quality plastic baby bottles are safer for storing milk in the freezer than glass containers unless they’re made with superior materials. Allowing for expansion when filled prevents the bottles from exploding in the freezer and only screw lids should be used to seal them.
- Ask the right questions before deciding if it’s safe to put a baby bottle with milk in the freezer!
- It’s not advisable to freeze baby formula for health and safety reasons.
- Breast milk can be safely stored in the freezer in baby bottles as long as the temperatures, location, and storage time recommendations are followed.
- Most brands recommend using plastic vs. glass baby bottles for freezing breast milk.
- Never freeze baby bottles with the nipples attached!
- Avent bottles can be placed in the freezer. Find out which other popular baby bottle brands are freezer safe.
Is it safe to put a baby bottle with milk in the freezer?
Frozen pre-prepared food saves a lot of time while being convenient, but can you do the same with baby’s milk and bottles? Before deciding if it’s safe to put a baby bottle with milk in the freezer, you need to take into consideration the following questions:
- Are you freezing baby formula or breast milk?
- Can you freeze glass baby bottles?
- Can you freeze plastic baby bottles?
Let’s unpack these questions further.
Can you freeze baby formula?
The FDA recommends not freezing baby formula as the components may separate. Reading the manufacturers’ instructions should clearly indicate how to store the formula. The Centres for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) strongly advise that prepared infant formula be used within 2 hours.
If this doesn’t happen, the milk must be stored in the refrigerator and consumed within 24 hours. Otherwise, it must be discarded.
The risks of freezing infant formula include:
- Separation: When frozen, the fat content of prepared baby formula can separate from the mixture. This alters the texture and taste of the milk, making it unpleasant for your baby.
- Deterioration: While nutrients normally stay stable in frozen food, the same can’t be said for infant formula stored in the freezer. Nutrients may deteriorate during the freezing and thawing of infant milk, resulting in a less nutritious and healthy meal for your baby.
- Bacterial growth: If bacteria enter the formula before freezing, bacterial growth will contaminate the frozen milk.
While freezing infant formula is a convenient solution, it’s not a healthy or safe option to consider.
Can you freeze breast milk?
Proper storing of breast milk is key to safe consumption when bottle-feeding. Breastfeeding moms who are pumping can consider freezing breast milk to save time and to have a stash on hand whenever necessary.
But, to keep frozen breast milk safe for consumption, the following factors must be noted:
- Temperature: Breast milk should be frozen in a freezer with a constant temperature of between -2°C to -9°C. If you’re using a deep, chest freezer the temperature should be set at -18°C.
- Location: The milk should be stored towards the back of the freezer where the temperature is most consistent.
- Storage time: For a full-term, healthy baby, drinking breast milk that has been frozen for up to 6 to 12 months is safe. Otherwise, it must be used within 3 months for premature babies.
Thawing frozen breast milk should be done in a bowl of hot water and used within one hour to prevent the risk of feeding your baby contaminated food. Most baby bottles can be safely stored in the freezer but you might also want to explore products such as Medela or Lansinoh breast milk storage bags as an alternative.
Watch this informative video which talks about how to safely store breast milk at room temperature, in the fridge, or in the freezer.
Freezing glass vs plastic baby bottles
The next question breastfeeding moms ask is: can you freeze baby bottles with breast milk? The answer is yes if the bottles are freezer safe. However, most manufacturers will recommend NOT using glass baby bottles in the freezer. NUK is one example of this which suggests using the brand’s plastic baby bottles or breast milk containers when freezing milk.
However, if the bottles are made with high-quality pharmacy-grade borosilicate glass that is heat, thermal, and freeze-shock resistant, you can store them in the freezer. Many parents prefer to use glass containers as plastic bottles can leak toxins into the contents during freezing.
This can be avoided when using top-quality bottles made with safe plastic that’s free of BPA and other toxins. It’s recommended to use hard plastic bottles that have been sterilized before filling them with milk. Always leave a gap between the top of the bottle and the milk to compensate for expansion when freezing. This prevents the bottles from exploding.
Should you leave nipples on baby bottles when you freeze them?
The nipples shouldn’t be left on baby bottles when you freeze them. Teats are prone to breaking down if exposed to extreme temperature changes and damaged material could result in bacterial growth and contamination of the milk. Instead, seal the bottles with screw caps before placing them in the freezer.
Can you freeze Avent baby bottles?
You’re in luck! Philip Avent baby bottles can be safely stored in the freezer for pre-prepared food such as breast milk. When picking between Avent Classic or Natural bottles, rest assured they’re made with BPA-free polypropylene so they’re safe for storing milk in the freezer.
However, the manufacturers recommend not storing the brand’s glass bottles in the freezer.
Can you freeze other brands’ bottles?
This is what the following brands have to say about freezing their baby bottles:
- Tommee Tippee: You can freeze the brand’s Closer to Nature range using their special lids for an extra seal. The manufacturer does recommend using their storage bags or pouches for freezing breast milk safely.
- Dr. Brown: The brand’s breast milk collection bottles are freezer safe. Simply add the Dr. Brown vent when the bottle has been removed from the freezer and the milk thawed. Dr. Brown’s storage bags are also suitable for freezing milk.
- Comotomo: These bottles can be safely stored in the freezer and can withstand temperatures between 0°C to -20°C. However, discoloration of the bottles can happen over time.
Always read the manufacturer’s guidelines before storing baby bottles in a freezer to avoid contaminating the milk or ruining your baby’s favorite feeding equipment!
While freezing your baby’s milk is a convenient way of preparing for bottle feeding, it’s not always the best option especially if you’re using infant formula. On the other hand, breast milk can be safely frozen once expressed but must be consumed within six to 12 months.
As for defrosting them, you’ll find that a bottle warmer can be quite useful.
When asking if popular brands, find out if they can be stored in the freezer. This way, if you intend to freeze breast milk, you can tell your friends and family which brand you want on your baby shower list! If you want to know more about the differences between glass and plastic baby bottles, I wrote a separate article about that.