When nature strikes and the power is out, these handy tips will help shed light on how you can keep your breast milk safe and your baby fed during a dreaded power failure!
How to keep your breast milk frozen as long as possible:
During a power outage, the most important thing to do is keep the freezer closed! According to the USDA, a full freezer can hold its temperature for approximately 48 hours if the door remains closed. The less full it is, the less time it will maintain its temperature.
If you are lucky enough to receive advanced notice from your power company that you will be losing power, stock your freezer up with frozen items to make it as full as possible. The frozen items will act as a cooling engine for the entire freezer. You will also want to situate your breast milk so it is in the middle of the frozen items and away from the freezer walls. If you have a chest freezer, make sure your frozen breast milk has several layers of frozen foods on top of it. Surrounding your stash of breast milk with frozen items will help keep it frozen longer.
Tip: If you don’t have enough items to fill up your freezer, pack the empty space with plastic bags of ice or frozen water bottles.
To prepare for natural disasters and power failures, it’s always good to know which of your neighbors has a generator. Make a list of who you might be able to lend you some generator-time if you are going without power for an extended period of time.
Using a cooler is also a great way to keep your stash cold. Our latest product is the Milk Stork Stash can keep 180 ounces of breast milk frozen for up to 96 hours. Additionally, the Milk Stork Stash is reusable so you can use it again if you face another power outage in the future. The Stash can also be taken with you or shipped to another location in the event that you need to evacuate or leave the area.
My breast milk has started to thaw, what should I do now?
Breast milk does not need to be rock hard to be considered frozen. If your breast milk feels like a snowball or is slushy, it is still frozen and can be put back into the freezer.
Breast milk is considered thawed when the last ice crystal melts. Once your frozen breast milk has thawed to a liquid state, it must be used within 24 hours. Do not refreeze breast milk that has completely thawed.
Help! I need to pump and there’s no power!
A power outlet is a pumping mom’s best friend. When the power is out, head to the car and use your pump’s car adaptor. Some models of cars have outlets making things extra easy.
Some pumps can also be converted into a manual hand pump. To see if this is an option, read your pump’s instruction manual.
Manual pumps are always great to have on hand in an emergency. They are easy to use, relatively affordable, and widely available.
Of course, you can also hand-express your milk. This is something that you will want to practice doing in advance. Here’s a video to show you how.
Most important… always have a backup plan in place to ensure that your baby is fed!
Fed is best! To ensure that you are prepared for anything that might come your way, keep a canister formula and bottled water with your emergency preparedness kit. And, make sure these items are in an area that can be easily accessed. Should you be separated from your baby, you will want to make sure that you and your baby’s caregivers are familiar with preparing formula and that they are ready to do so if required.
Power outages from rolling blackouts, hurricanes, tornadoes, forest fires, and other natural disasters, can be stressful situations. We hope these tips and best practices will help you, your family, and your frozen stash stay cool in an emergency.
Share your tips and stories if you’ve ever lost electricity and had to find a resourceful way to pump or store your breast milk.