Frequently Asked Questions
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Who and What is Nourishy?
Meet Nourishy, your personalised concierge for freeze-drying breast milk. Our state-of-the-art facility is exclusively dedicated for the processing of breast milk. With expertise in maintaining sterility throughout the process, we provide you with freeze-dried breast milk powder in packaging that preserves its shelf life for up to 3 years, eliminating the need for refrigeration. Please be aware that Nourishy currently does not facilitate donor matching, function as a traditional 'milk bank', or partake in any form of breast milk sales or distribution. Our service is tailored for individuals who already have a supply of frozen breast milk and wish to extend its shelf life for added convenience.
How do our services work at Nourishy?
Here’s how it all works:
1) Nourishy sends you a complete breast milk shipping kit (or you can drop your stash off with us in Brisbane.)
2) For shipping, simply pack your frozen milk into the provided kit and use the included pre-paid overnight FedEx Express shipping label to send it back to the Nourishy facility. No dry ice or ice packs needed.
3) Nourishy employs a contact-free method to extract the water from the milk. After which, your breast milk powder is carefully packaged and sealed in high-barrier, single-serve pouches.
Our unique process operates on a bag-to-bag basis. This means that if you select our Single-Use packaging; each lactation bag that you provide will be transformed into its own compact pouch of powder. Each bag undergoes a specialised freeze-drying process, and the resulting powder is meticulously packaged individually. The personalised labels on the returned pouches will feature precise rehydration instructions tailored to each pouch of your milk. We've designed our service to be exceptionally user-friendly - the prices listed for both the service and shipping are all-inclusive flat rates. For the specified price, we will freeze-dry everything in the cooler you send, all covered under one flat fee. We offer a range of cooler sizes to accommodate various stash quantities and can customize our service to perfectly fit your requirements.
How long does the whole process usually take?
Our shipping kits are pre-scheduled for weekly dispatch. The processing time upon receiving your milk depends on the quantity you send. The Nourishy Mini package includes expedited processing with a turnaround time of 1 week. If you have an approaching deadline, please reach out to us. We operate as a concierge service and will strive to accommodate your schedule. Whether you have travel plans or need assistance with changing shipping addresses, simply inform us via email at email@example.com or get in touch before or after placing your order.
If timing is not an issue for you, we will process your milk in the order that it was received- please contact us before sending if you would like to know the current processing time. You can always track the status of your order using our tracking system here and you will receive email updates when we receive your milk, when your milk is processing, and when it has been shipped back to you!
Where is the Nourishy service available in Australia?
Nourishy caters to all of Australia. We have an in-house shipping logistics team committed to ensuring the safe delivery of your milk to us. Additionally, if you reside in proximity to Northgate, Brisbane, you also have the option to drop off your milk directly at our facility. *some regional areas in WA and ACT may carry extra charges.
My milk has high lipase / my infant refuses frozen milk, will freeze-drying help?
Freeze-drying can offer a helpful solution for mothers who notice a change in the taste of their stored milk. According to feedback from 9 out of 10 moms, freeze-drying has been shown to improve the flavor of high lipase milk. However, it's important to keep in mind that the effectiveness of this process relies on the level of lipase activity already present in the milk, as well as your baby's taste preferences. While lipase activity may persist during freezer storage, it is deactivated through freeze-drying. For mothers concerned about high lipase content, freeze-drying can halt any further enzyme activity, though it cannot reverse any prior changes.
If your baby refuses previously frozen milk, it may not always be indicative of high lipase levels. The freeze-thaw process itself can impact the quality and taste of the milk. Freeze-drying presents an advantage in this regard, as it circumvents the thawing step, mitigating some of the related alterations. If you're worried about how your baby will react to frozen milk, you might want to consider conducting a small test batch using freeze-drying as a precaution.
How long can milk be stored in the freezer prior to freeze-drying?
We provide a service for freeze-drying your selected milk for preservation. The choice is entirely yours, as it's your milk, after all. We do suggest following the WHO's safety guideline of a maximum of 12 months in the freezer. When it comes to preserving nutrients, it's crucial to take into account both the length of freezing and the thawing process, as these are the key factors affecting the potential reduction in nutritional content of breast milk.
In regards to duration, it's recommended to use frozen milk promptly or consider freeze-drying as an option. Many milk banks implement a policy of discarding unused milk after three months due to possible nutrient deterioration. Therefore, when deciding between sending the oldest or the most recent milk from your freezer, choosing the older batch can help prevent any additional nutrient loss. Furthermore, if you are pleased with the service and outcomes, you still have the flexibility to opt for freeze-drying your fresher milk in the future if you wish.
During the thawing phase, the freeze-drying procedure initiates by freezing the milk, so it never undergoes thawing. The process that eliminates water is referred to as sublimation, wherein water transitions directly from a solid (ice) to a gaseous state (water vapour), completely bypassing the thawing stage. This is crucial because the thawing process can lead to various alterations in the milk's quality. Therefore, while the freeze-drying process requires the initial freezing of the milk, it effectively mitigates some of the potential changes in quality, flavour, and nutritional value that often occur when milk is thawed from a frozen state.
What if my milk is in bottles/NICU tubes?
We gladly accept pre-sealed and pre-sterilised bottles, as well as NICU tubes that have been appropriately prepared before being filled with milk. The hospital-provided bottles meet these criteria. However, it's essential to be aware that we cannot return these tubes and bottles to you, as they are discarded after the processing procedure.
Kindly note that we do not take in glass bottles/jars or silicone storage bags.
If you've stored your milk in an ice cube tray, feel free to send it to us. Please remember to transfer it into an appropriate lactation bag before sending. To achieve the desired bottle size, consider placing the corresponding number of cubes in each bag. Each lactation bag filled with cubes will convert into its own powder pouch (for example, five 30ml cubes will rehydrate into a 150ml bottle).
Is there a minimum/maximum volume per bag that I can send?
To ensure accurate assessment of your milk's shelf life, please send bags with volumes between 90 - 260 ml. If bags with less than 90 ml are received, they will be combined. In this case, the personalised label on the returned pouch will include a note about the combination, along with the combined dates, provided you have recorded this information.
What kind of breast milk storage bags are accepted? What if mine is not on the list?
Kindly make sure your milk is stored in a pre-sealed and pre-sterilised lactation bag, or in a tube provided by the hospital. Following Food Standards Australia and New Zealand guidelines for infant food packaging, we regretfully cannot accept milk stored in bags not specifically designed and approved for use as lactation bags (for example, Ziplock-type bags are not permitted).
Approved brands include Avent, Ameda, Baby Lemon, Bumblebee, Dr. Browns, Eccomom, Evenflo, GoGo Pure, Idaho Jones, Kiinde, Lansinoh, Medela, Milkies, Mommy’s Precious, Motif, Nanobebe, Nuk, Spectra, Papablic, Parent's Choice, TDWOW, Tommee Tippee, Unimom, Up&Up, and Willow. (Several emerging brands in the market are also accepted - if you don't find yours listed, please don't hesitate to contact us.) The bags you choose must be in impeccable condition (free of rips or tears) and must be clean (devoid of dirt and debris) on the exterior. The milk you send us should be completely frozen and must not have been thawed previously.
Please be aware that we do not accept milk stored in glass bottles/jars or silicone storage bags.
What if I have information written on my breast milk storage bags – is that saved?
You don't need to concern yourself with labeling your bags. Each bag that goes through our facility undergoes thorough tracking for quality assurance. Any information written on your bags is accurately transferred onto the custom label attached to the pouch of powder you'll receive. We ensure to include the expression date on each label for your convenience (you can find more details about this here). This aids you in pinpointing when in your breastfeeding journey that specific milk was pumped, as the composition of breast milk changes over time. Of course, it's perfectly fine if the volume or expression date is not indicated on the bag.
During our receiving process, we carefully measure the weight of each bag. You'll find precise instructions for adding water back to the pouch clearly labeled. This ensures accurate rehydration. Additionally, any additional details noted on the bag, such as special dietary requirements or health-related information, will be diligently recorded for your convenience on the returned pouches.
Can you freeze-dry colostrum/transitional milk?
Our process is uniform for both colostrum as well as transitional milk. If you've designated your bags as "colostrum," this designation will be transferred to the label on the pouch you'll receive in return.
I placed my order (or paid my invoice), when will my shipping kit arrive?
Your order will be assigned to the earliest available date based on the size of the shipping kit you choose. This date will be specified on your invoice or can be selected during checkout. Our cooling unit will be shipped to you. You will receive prompt notification once it's in transit, and the carrier will directly email you the tracking information. Delivery typically takes 1-4 business days for delivery. For exact delivery estimates, feel free to reach out to us, and we'll be happy to assist you.
Do you offer discounts?
We're delighted to offer special discounts to members of the Australian Defence Force (as well as their partners), emergency service personnel, and educators. Please contact us, and we'll provide you with a unique code to use at checkout.
What if I have more than 9kg?
Our largest shipping coolers can hold up to 9kg. If you need a greater capacity, we'll send multiple coolers according to your specified volume. Don't hesitate to reach out to us before placing an order for an accurate quote.
If you're personally delivering items to our facility, there's no predefined maximum volume limit. However, for quantities surpassing 30kg, we may need to arrange processing in multiple batches.
I already placed an order - how can I update the address for shipping?
If you need to update any of your information or the shipping address for your completed order, please send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org
What if I need the powder shipped to a different address?
We are pleased to fulfill requests for shipping kits to be dispatched to one address, while arranging for your breast milk powder to be sent back to a different address. Please contact us at email@example.com to inform us of your preferences.
Will I receive updates regarding my order?
You can have full confidence that you'll be kept informed at every stage of the process. You'll receive notifications when your breast milk shipping kit is sent out, when Nourishy receives your milk, when your order is in progress, and when your breast milk powder is being dispatched back to you.
Furthermore, you can easily monitor the status of your order using our tracking system at any given time.
Shipping to Nourishy
How is my milk shipped to Nourishy?
We include a pre-paid FedEx overnight express shipping label with your cooler. We oversee every shipment during transit and are available to receive deliveries from Monday to Friday. Additionally, you'll receive regular tracking notifications.
For a seamless shipping experience in Australia, it's recommended to send your package out on Monday or Tuesday. This minimises the likelihood of unexpected delays or issues with weekend deliveries. Sending it earlier in the week also lowers the risk of your package being held up over the weekend, when it may be more challenging to retrieve it from the carrier.
Upon receipt of your milk, we promptly perform an initial quality check to ensure it is completely frozen and free from any damage, rips, leaks, or tears. After this evaluation, we will inform you that your milk has been received and has successfully passed our initial quality assessment.
How do I use the shipping cooler?
Our specially designed shipping coolers eliminate the need for dry ice. You can find comprehensive instructions on using the coolers here. Pack your insulated shipping cooler just prior to dispatch, ensuring your milk is fully frozen. The cooler is designed to maintain the frozen state for a minimum of three (3) days. To ensure a seamless shipping process, it's crucial to pack your milk when it's solidly frozen and send it out promptly after packing.
How much milk will fit in each cooler?
Every cooler is tailored to accommodate the designated milk volume for each size (Small: 850g - 1.4kg. Medium: 4.5 - 5.6kg. Large: 8 - 9kg). The actual capacity of the cooler may vary by 15-20% due to factors like the volume of milk in your bags, the type of bags used, and the freezing method. To optimize the cooler's space, we suggest using bags that are frozen entirely flat and filled with 150ml or less.
What if there is a shipping delay while my frozen milk is being shipped to you?
Our custom-made insulated shipping containers are designed for frozen shipments, guaranteeing your milk remains frozen for at least 3 days, without the necessity of dry ice or ice packs. These containers incorporate panels made from a distinctive core material and are vacuum-sealed to provide optimal insulation.
We employ overnight shipping services for swift transportation of your milk to our facility in Queensland. In the unlikely event of a shipping delay, be assured that our coolers will preserve the frozen state of your milk throughout the delay. You will also receive real-time tracking updates directly from FedEx for all your shipments in transit. Our dedicated team closely monitors all shipments in case of any unforeseen delays.
If a delay arises, please contact us directly at 07 2111 83908 instead of reaching out to the FedEx customer support hotline. We have reliable logistics partners who can promptly look into the status of your package. We will vigilantly track your shipment and keep you updated until your milk arrives safely. We're pleased to report that we have never encountered an early thawing of a shipment when using these specialised coolers. You can be confident that we are dedicated to ensuring your milk reaches us in impeccable condition.
If you'd like, we're more than happy to supply a confirmation photo upon receiving your milk, along with a temperature reading.
Using your freeze-dried breast milk powder
How much water do I add back to the breast milk powder I get back?
Every batch of frozen breast milk that you send to Nourishy is converted into its own pouch of powder (Single-Use pouches). Upon receiving your milk, we record the initial volume of frozen milk in each lactation bag. The instructions on the back of each powdered pouch you receive will detail the amount of water required to reconstitute the breast milk powder, returning it to its original consistency. For example, if you submit lactation bags with 150ml of frozen milk each, the pouches you receive will contain the powder needed to prepare one 150ml bottle per pouch. For additional information, please click here.
How much powder will be sent back?
During the freeze-drying process, the weight of the milk is decreased by approximately 90%, with only the water being removed. So, if you submit a 150 ml (150g) lactation bag of frozen milk, the resulting powder from that bag weighs about 15g. The instructions on the back of the pouch you receive will provide precise details on how much water to add to achieve the original milk's consistency. You can view an example of this process here.
How do I use my freeze-dried breast milk powder?
Your freeze-dried breast milk powder is enclosed in individual, compact, and lightweight pouches, making them convenient for travel or for caregivers to handle. When you're ready to prepare a bottle, simply blend the powder with warm, purified water, and it transforms into milk.
Here are some tips for bottle preps:
- Use warm, purified water to rehydrate your milk
- Swirl or shake the bottle to mix
- If clumps remain, gently heat the bottle under warm running water or place back in warm water bath for 1-2 minutes, then swirl bottle again.
- Depending on the fat content of the milk, it may take a bit longer for the fats to dissolve. For high fat content milk, stirring for up to 4-5 minutes may be necessary. Be patient, as this will ensure your baby gets all of the nutrients from the milk.
See detailed instructions here.
You can also include breast milk powder into solid foods to enhance their nutritional value. Explore additional ways to utilise your freeze-dried breast milk as a superfood for your toddler here.
Once you mix the freeze-dried milk with water, how long do you have to use it? Can I store the packets once opened?
After rehydrating the milk, it's advisable to use or refrigerate it within 2 hours, similar to thawed milk. If left unused, please discard it after 24 hours in the refrigerator.
Upon opening a bag of your breast milk powder, be sure to reseal the zipper if there is any remaining unused powder. Leaving it unsealed can cause the powder to quickly absorb moisture, potentially leading to bacterial growth as your milk was not pasteurised during the freeze-drying process. Therefore, once the bag is opened, it should be resealed, stored at room temperature, and used within 3 days.
Can I travel with freeze-dried breast milk?
Our packaging is Civil Aviation Safety Authority compliant, so you can take your powdered breast milk through airport security in your carry-on without worrying about tests or probes. Since no refrigeration is needed, you do not need to bring a cooler. Having breast milk powder on hand for travel is convenient, but keep in mind that it usually does require warm water to fully rehydrate and avoid clumping of the fats in the milk.
Our breast milk freeze-drying process
Is freeze-dried breast milk safe? Do you need to add anything to it?
Since the 1950s, freeze-drying has been a trusted method for preserving breast milk in human milk donor banks. It's a gentle process that maximises nutrient retention. When you choose freeze-drying with us, be assured that we do not introduce any chemicals, additives, or preservatives to your milk.
Additionally, at Nourishy, we've developed a unique approach that ensures your milk is never directly handled. No tools or equipment come into contact with it. All our procedures are conducted within sterile cleanroom environments to eliminate any potential introduction of contaminants such as bacteria or chemicals. We strictly adhere to safe handling guidelines and comply with packaging regulations for infant food set by Australian regulatory authorities.
In addition to these industry standards, Nourishy has established a comprehensive set of internal quality control protocols that govern our processes, facilities, equipment, personnel, and packaging. This ensures a consistent level of quality and safety in our service. Our facility undergoes regular inspections, and our entire operation has been thoroughly assessed for compliance by independent third-party experts.
How does the freeze-drying process work?
Breast milk goes through a dehydration process known as freeze-drying, or lyophilisation, to remove its water content. This occurs within a specialised chamber designed specifically for freeze-drying. The milk is exposed to extremely low temperatures, and the air within the chamber is removed to create a vacuum. This process ultimately causes the ice crystals in the milk to transition into water vapor.
Freeze-drying is a well-established technique in both the food and medical industries, valued for its efficacy in preserving delicate substances like proteins, probiotics, and pharmaceuticals. Its origins can be traced back to the 13th century when the Inca people in the Andes mountains, which are now part of present-day Peru, initially employed this method to preserve potatoes for a dish known as chuño. Subsequently, it played pivotal roles in history, aiding the military in WWII for the transportation of blood plasma and supporting NASA in the 1960s for the creation of the first astronaut food products.
Do you use oxygen/moisture absorbers in the final packaging?
We do not include oxygen or moisture absorber packets in our final packaging. Instead, we utilise an in-house quality control process that involves using a water activity meter, which is the industry standard for confirming the dryness of your breast milk powder for long-term storage. In the food industry, it is not standard practice to use oxygen absorber packets for any type of milk powder. This is because they cannot consistently guarantee the required level of dryness to prevent microbial growth and ensure a high-quality final product.
For an accurate shelf life assessment, it's essential to have an external laboratory conduct a thorough analysis, as relying solely on oxygen and moisture absorber packets is not sufficient. This evaluation is vital to validate the effectiveness of the freeze-drying process. We have partnered with an independent agency to conduct a comprehensive shelf life test on our final product, which has given us confidence in our stated shelf life of three years.
How does your freeze-drying process affect the nutrients in the breast milk?
Freeze-drying is a precise process that safeguards the nutritional integrity of breast milk. Many global human milk donor banks have embraced this technique as an advanced storage solution for donated breast milk. After conducting extensive testing, we have verified results that align with published research on our platform, indicating no significant reduction in macronutrients like proteins, fats, carbohydrates, or overall caloric content.
What is the shelf life of freeze-dried breast milk powder?
There is no universally recognized industry standard for the lifespan of freeze-dried breast milk. This duration depends on the specific processing and packaging methods employed by individual service providers. The shelf life of freeze-dried breast milk processed and packaged by Nourishy is 3 years from the date of freeze-drying.
Nourishy's shelf-life testing was conducted by Addium (formerly Meter Group) using professional-grade equipment, specifically the Aqualab3 water activity meter. Prior to packaging, every batch of freeze-dried breast milk undergoes rigorous testing to validate the accuracy of the 3-year shelf-life estimate we provide. Unlike some methods, Nourishy does not use oxygen or moisture absorbers in the packaging process. Each lactation bag provided to Nourishy is transformed into its own powdered pouch.
Similar to other pantry staples, freeze-dried breast milk does have a finite shelf life. Why is this important? The shelf life indicates how long it's expected to remain free from microbial growth. Given that your milk isn't sterile (and isn't pasteurised), if there's excess moisture in the breast milk powder before packaging, it can create a conducive environment for microbes to thrive. This excess moisture may result in spoilage within weeks or months.
Due to breast milk powder's high affinity for moisture (it readily absorbs moisture from the surroundings), it's essential to package it in single-use pouches. Once opened, these pouches should be used within 3 days. Storing breast milk powder in large containers designed for repeated opening and closing (like a formula canister or large bag) significantly shortens its shelf life. This is why formula companies advise using their canisters within 1 month of opening. While companies that ship breast milk powder in large containers may be aiming for cost savings on packaging and marketing convenience, this practice can jeopardise the safety of your infant. It's important to note that using oxygen/moisture absorber packets is not a replacement for a comprehensive shelf life analysis, which should be conducted by an independent laboratory.
What kind of quality controls do you have in place?
Nourishy implements the following quality controls to guarantee the sterile handling of breast milk throughout the entire process:
1. MAINTAINING FROZEN STATE - Your breast milk remains frozen throughout the entire shipping and processing journey. Upon arrival, we swiftly assess its quality to ensure it has been transported under safe conditions and that the packaging is intact. It is then securely stored in a dedicated container within our freezers until the freeze-drying process begins. Our freezers are continuously monitored for temperature remotely.
2. NO CONTACT - Your breast milk is never touched by human hands. Nourishy employs an exclusive, hands-free process that sets it apart. At no point in the procedure does your milk come into contact with any equipment or utensils. Each batch of frozen milk you provide to Nourishy is processed individually within our specially designed freeze-drying pouches. These pouches allow water vapour to escape while ensuring your milk remains protected from any potential contaminants. Unlike conventional methods, we refrain from combining multiple batches on trays for processing. Instead, every bag you send to Nourishy is transformed into its own pouch of powdered milk. The specialised pouches used in the processing and packaging of breast milk at Nourishy are exclusively manufactured.
3. INDIVIDUAL BAG TRACKING - We closely oversee the entire process of each batch of frozen breast milk we receive, from its arrival to its ultimate processing. A distinct Bag ID is designated to every batch, enabling us to manage them individually. Even during the freeze-drying process, your milk retains clear labeling with your name and a unique tracking number. It's crucial to emphasise that your milk never comes into direct contact with our equipment, and we maintain stringent quality control protocols to eliminate any possibility of cross-contamination throughout the entire procedure.
Our highly-trained technicians, operating within cleanroom environments, employ sterile techniques to ensure a contamination-free packaging process. Every bag is carefully packaged by hand (without the use of powder dispensers) into separate, single-use pouches. Each order is handled separately, ensuring that there is never a moment when your milk comes into contact with another client's. These pouches are sealed to safeguard the powder from oxygen, moisture, UV rays, and any potential contaminants during storage. Notably, refrigeration is not necessary for storing these pouches.
4. STERILE HANDLING - The Nourishy processing team hold active food safety certifications and are entrusted with the responsibility of processing milk. They strictly adhere to protocols governing personal hygiene, the use of protective gear, and equipment sterilisation, ensuring the safe handling of your milk from start to finish.
5. QUALITY CONTROL TESTING - In our ultimate quality control step, we assess the exact water activity ("dryness") of the breast milk powder using a high-grade laboratory water activity meter. This pivotal quality check ensures that the freeze-drying process thoroughly removes moisture from the milk. This is how we can confidently affirm that your breast milk powder will maintain its shelf life for up to 3 years without requiring refrigeration, provided it is stored appropriately in a cool, dry environment.
6. FACILITY TESTING - We regularly perform environmental evaluations of our facility and equipment to ensure the effectiveness of our cleaning and sanitisation protocols in preventing the presence of environmental pathogens, including Cronobacter sakazakii.
How can I be sure that the breast milk powder I receive is my own?
We have established a range of quality assurance protocols to handle the milk with the highest level of care. Each customer's order is processed individually, with careful attention given to each stage, including reception, freeze-drying, and packaging.
Following that, we conduct thorough individual tracking for each bag. Every bag you provide is labeled with your name and a distinct tracking code, allowing us to follow the journey of your milk from start to finish. We utilize a specialized freeze-drying pouch with an innovative design that permits water vapour to escape while protecting it from potential contamination. We never combine milk on trays during processing, ensuring that each bag containing your milk is distinctly labeled with your name, even throughout the freeze-drying phase.
With this process, we're able to include the expiration date and any other information you've provided on the custom label attached to each packet of powdered breast milk you receive from us. If you haven't provided any specific notes, that's absolutely fine. In such cases, the notes section on your label will be left blank.
Can I use the information on this site for medical advice?
We're here to help you with safe and convenient breast milk storage. However, please be aware that while we offer information, we do not replace professional medical advice. Any guidance or details provided on our website are for informational purposes only. They do not establish a professional relationship, serve as a guide for medical decisions, or endorse the diagnosis, treatment, prevention, or management of any condition or disease. Our website is not a substitute for advice, diagnosis, or treatment from a qualified healthcare provider. If you have questions about a medical condition, always consult your physician or a licensed healthcare professional. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay seeking it based on information you've read here. It's important to note that powdered breast milk is not sterile and should not be given to premature infants or infants with immune system concerns without the supervision of your baby's doctor.