Home Pasteurization

Why pasteurize?
There have been studies that show possible bacteria contamination in breast milk. There are also concerns of infectious diseases that come from (unscreened) donors.
The reason pasteurization is recommended is to remove possible infectious contaminants and bad bacterias that might be in the breast milk.

How to pasteurize breast milk:

  • Pour about 3/4th - 4/5th full of breast milk in glass canning jars or glass milk bottles. You want to make sure there is room for the breast milk to expand when heated.
  • Put the glass jars on a rack inside a canner or large enough pot.
    Get warm water and pour it inside the canner filling until the water level is just higher than the breast milk level in the glass jars.
    Turn on your stove and start heating.
  • You will need to stir the breast milk in the glass jars gently as the breast milk heats up to allow for even heating. Otherwise, the milk in the center will be cooler than the breast milk against the glass and you will not get the results you need.
  • Using an accurate metal-stem thermometer monitor the temperature of the breast milk as you heat it. You want it to get to 145° F or slightly above that. Turn down heat, if needed, to keep the temperature at 145° F. Put lids on all jars except one. Put aluminum foil on the final jar to cover it and poke the thermometer through the center of the foil, into the jar.
  • You will need to maintain that temperature for 30 mins straight. If the temperature drops below 145° F you will need to heat it back up again. Once it's back to 145° F adjust the stove so the temperature will maintain 145° F or slightly above for 30 mins.
  • After the 30 mins is up gradually replace the hot water with cool water. You want to do it gradually so not to break the glass with an extreme temperature change.
  • Continue to cool the breast milk until it gets down to 80º F or less. From this point on it's safe to use ice water to finish cooling the breast milk to 40º F or less.
  • Now secure the lids on all the jars and store in the coldest part of the fridge where it's 40º or less or freeze.

Flash-Heating Breast Milk Kills HIV, 5/21/07:

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