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  • Writer's pictureChardá Bell, IBCLC, CBE, CD

Breastmilk Safety During San Diego Flooding & Power Outages

San Diego parents, we are definitely not used to having this conversation, especially if you are from the west coast like me. If you are not from here, you don't know but San Diego has been hit with some weird weather the last few years. Even in the last year we had a mini hurricane and now severe flooding that damaged homes particularly in marginalized communities. Many people lost power for several hours during the flood, amongst other things like cars, pets, and other possessions. Well, we have been hit again with some extreme weather warnings, it's set to rain for several days again with potential possibility for more flooding since the first one, just week ago has not completely receded. So much for the sunshine tax!

So you want to know if your breastmilk is safe after the power goes out. A parent texted me in a panic after the power went out for several hours due to the severe flooding in San Diego County, "Do I have to throw out all of my stored frozen breast milk? I've worked so hard to build this stash!"

Your breast milk may still be safe, but it depends on how long the power is out and how defrosted or warm the breast milk becomes.

Freezers, if left unopened AND full during a power outage, will keep food safe (including breastmilk) for about 48 hours (about 24 hours if only half full).

When freezers are full, the other frozen items help keep the freezer colder longer. Just like when you transport your frozen groceries home, they keep frozen longer when in with other cold or frozen items versus the bread and chips right? Same applies here.

The refrigerator will keep food cold for about 4 hours if it is unopened. While the power is out, keep the freezer and refrigerator doors closed as much as possible.

Once the power is back on, check the condition of your stored breast milk. Frozen breast milk that has started to thaw AND still contains ICE CRYSTALS can be refrozen.

If your breast milk has completely thawed and still feels cold, put it in the refrigerator and use it within the next day or toss it.

Hope this answers your questions about milk storage in the event of any power outage.

Please stay safe and if you have direct questions you may book a consult. I will also be replying to DMs for the next 5 days or until the storm passes, with basic education and general information from the CDC but no direct individual medical advice or plan of care.

IG, TikTok, YouTube - @melaninmilksd

Remember: lactation consults are currently reduced cost for Black, BIPOC & low income identifying folks without a PPO insurance. If you are not Black, BIPOC or low income, you may book with a PPO insurance or pay out of pocket. My rates can be found on booking. Home visits are on hold until after March 20th. In clinic and Telehealth appts only.

See more info at these CDC sources:

Breastmilk Storage Guidelines Free - Save it to your phone! Created by me, all rights reserved. Tag if you post it publicly.


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