FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
Here are answers to the most common questions we get about Milkify. Please reach out to us if you’ve got one that isn't on this list, and we will get it answered for you asap!
Q: What is Milkify?
A: Milkify provides a freeze-drying service specifically for breast milk. Milkify receives frozen breast milk that has been stored in lactation bags, uses a contact-less and 100% chemical-free process to remove the water from the milk, then packages and seals the breast milk powder in high-barrier mylar bags. Stored in this way, freeze-dried breast milk powder is shelf stable for 3 years, with no refrigeration needed. The Milkify service is offered in various sizes, designed to accommodate various needs and Milkify offers several nationwide shipping options in order to get your frozen milk to our freeze-drying facility safely and securely.
Q: Is freeze-dried breast milk safe? Do you add anything to it?
A: Yes, freeze-drying is used by human milk donor banks around the world to preserve and store breast milk in a better way. Your milk is kept frozen during transport and with Milkify's proprietary freeze-drying process, your milk never contacts our equipment. Freeze-drying is a gentle process in which absolutely NO chemicals, additives, or preservatives are added to your milk. Milkify follows all safe handling guidelines set forth by the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) and the Human Milk Banking Association of North America (HMBANA), and complies with the packaging regulations for infant food set forth by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA). In addition, Milkify's own robust set of Quality Control procedures regulate our processes, facilities, equipment, personnel, and packaging in order to assure consistent quality and safety of our service. See more about our quality assurance measures here.
Q: How does the process work?
A: Water is removed from your breast milk using a process called freeze-drying (or lyophilization). This process occurs in a freeze-drying chamber, and involves freezing the milk to very low temperatures, lowering the pressure, then gently heating to cause the ice crystals in your milk to turn into water vapor. The water vapor is is removed from your milk in this low-temperature, low-pressure environment, and the resulting breast milk powder retains all of the nutritive and bioactive components of breast milk, without the water. Controlled freeze-drying keeps the temperature of the milk low enough during the process to avoid changes in the characteristics of the milk. It is a well-known process in the food and medical industries as it an excellent method for preserving a wide variety of heat-sensitive materials such as proteins, probiotics, & pharmaceuticals. See more about the freeze-drying process here.
Q: Is powdered breast milk better than infant formula?
A: Research shows that breastfed infants develop fewer allergies and get sick less often, both in infancy and early childhood. Breast milk has also been shown to contribute to the cognitive development of infants and has long-lasting implications for learning, memory, and motor function into childhood. Scientifically, it is becoming widely accepted that the composition and uniqueness of human milk cannot be recreated - even with additives such as HMOs, probiotics, and DHA in some breast milk substitutes. Antibodies, stem cells, RNA, probiotics and other important components from the mother are transmitted to their infants through breast milk, and the composition of breast milk changes over time to meet the infant's needs and protect their developing immune system. In addition, formula is made from cow's milk, so can be more difficult for babies to digest as their body has to adapt to be able to process it. However, we understand that all parents face different sets of challenges, and that formula supplementation is sometimes necessary early on. Milkify's service provides a better storage alternative for breast milk, that is equal in convenience to infant formula. By making breast milk easier to store, transport, and use, Milkify hopes to help more infants receive the benefits of breast milk during their entire first year of life and beyond.
Q: What happens to breast milk that I store in the freezer?
A: Freezing is the current standard for long-term storage of breast milk. However, freezing breast milk results in a decrease in quality of the milk over time. In a 2012 study, researchers found that both the fat and calorie content of frozen breast milk decreases with freezing time. In fact, there was a significant reduction in fat concentration of the frozen milk after just seven days of frozen storage. In comparison, a 2014 study found no significant difference in fatty acid composition after 90 days of freeze-dry storage. These studies and other recent research have shown that freeze-drying breast milk is a safe and more effective way of preserving the nutritional, immunological, and probiotic properties of breast milk that make it the gold standard of nutrition.
Q: Why should I freeze-dry my breast milk?
A: Freeze-drying breast milk is now recognized as a better way to store breast milk, and various human milk donor banks world-wide are implementing this process. A primary advantage is that freeze-drying human milk preserves up to 90% of its vital nutrients as well as the important proteins, antibodies, and probiotics in the milk which degrade over time in the freezer. Powdered breast milk lasts for 3 years (or more) on the shelf without the need for refrigeration and is easy and convenient to transport and use. See more about the benefits of freeze-drying breast milk here.
Q: How do I use my freeze-dried breast milk?
A: Your freeze-dried breast milk powder is sealed in individual, flat and light-weight mylar bags, that are easy to take on-the-go, or to provide to a caretaker. When ready to use for a bottle prep, just mix the powder with warm, purified water and it turns into milk. See detailed instructions and a video here. Breast milk powder can also be incorporated into solid foods for a nutritional boost anytime. Moms have told us that freeze-dried breast milk is just as easy to use as powdered formula, and because our packaging is TSA-compliant, you can even take your powdered breast milk with you when traveling without worrying about tests or probes!
Q: How can I be sure that the breast milk I receive is my own?
A: We track each individual bag of frozen breast milk we receive from start to finish. Each unique Bag ID identifies your bags of milk. Your milk is never in direct contact with our equipment and we follow strict quality control procedures to ensure that cross-contamination is avoided during the process. Each high barrier bag that you receive also states your name, the unique bag ID, and the date your milk was expressed (if written on your lactation bag). See more about how each of your bags is tracked and labeled here.
Q: Is Milkify covered by insurance or FSA/HSAs?
A: You may be able to obtain full or partial reimbursement for the Milkify service through insurance. Each insurance company and FSA/HSA has its own policy regarding reimbursement. Check with your plan administrator to see what you qualify for.
Q: Can I use the information on this site for medical advice?
A: We are here to help you store your breast milk safely and conveniently; however, we are no substitute for medical professionals. Any advice or information provided on the Website is for informational purposes only and does not create a professional relationship, is not an aid to making medical decisions, and is not marketed, promoted or otherwise intended to be used to diagnose any disease or other condition, or to cure, mitigate, treat, or prevent any disease. The Website is not a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on the Website. Powdered breast milk is not sterile and should not be fed to premature infants or infants who might have immune problems unless supervised by your baby's doctor.