How breast milk freeze-drying helped a family make a major move

“A lot of moms come to us because they have a looming expiration date. They have this milk in the freezer,” the co-founder of the company Milkify said

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A military family with a baby had more than 1,000 ounces of breast milk stored in their freezer in Hawaii when they learned they would be moving to Maryland. Now what?

Scrolling on Instagram, mom Priyadarshini Persaud Manning stumbled upon Milkify, a breast milk freeze-drying service. She signed up and the company sent her a pharma-grade cooler designed for transporting frozen items.

She packed up her frozen breast milk and sent it from Hawaii to Milkify’s facility in Houston. Every bag was labeled, weighed, logged, transferred to a pouch for freeze-drying and sent back to the Manning family.

Milkify solves two big problems for breastfeeding moms: storage and longevity, molecular biologist and company co-founder Berkley Luck said.

“A lot of moms come to us because they have a looming expiration date. They have this milk in the freezer,” she said. “They'd like to be able to still use the milk that they were working so hard to save.”

Freeze-dried breast milk can last as long as three years, whereas frozen breast milk has a shelf-life of between six months and one year. It’s also about 90% lighter and doesn’t need to be refrigerated, Luck said.

Once Milkify receives a shipment of frozen breast milk, they gradually remove its water over about 48 hours, leaving behind solids, Luck explained.

“The only thing that's left after freeze-drying the milk is what looks like just a powdered infant formula,” she said.

The freeze-dried milk then can be added to water or mixed with solid foods.

The company appeared on the show “Shark Tank” and got funding from Gwyneth Paltrow and Lori Greiner.

Freeze-drying does not break down any of the nutrients in breast milk, Luck said. The process has been used since the 1950s for milk banks but Milkify is the first to offer it to customers, she said.

The service costs $149 and up, depending on the amount of breast milk. Milkify says some employers are covering the cost of the service and in some situations flexible spending account funds can be used.

Matthew Manning, an Apache pilot in the U.S. Army, said he was thankful that despite his family’s major move, his daughter can use the breast milk his wife pumped.

“Regardless of where we are in time and space, regardless of where my spouse is, where I am, my baby can have, you know, what's hers,” he said.

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