Breast Milk Storage

If you have decided to use a breast pump to ensure your child a nutritious feeding when you’re apart, you have probably begun wondering how to properly and safely store your breast milk. Your breast milk is the best source of nutrition for your baby and it’s full of components to help strengthen their health.

Make sure to protect its nutrients by using the appropriate containers and storing practices.

 

Breast Milk StorageWhat is the best type of breast milk storage?

Remember to efficiently wash your hands before pumping or handling breast milk. Once your hands are clean and dry, store breast milk in a clean glass or plastic container with a secure lid or cap. While there are specifically made breast milk storage bags, we would recommend against them if possible as they leak, spill, and are easily polluted.

DO NOT store any expressed milk in disposable bottles or bags such as plastic water bottle containers or zip-lock baggies.

 

How should I label and store my containers?

It is essential to label all breast milk storage with the date it was pumped and stored with a water-resistant ink and label. Place the container(s) in the back of the refrigerator or freezer and make sure not to store them on the door.

Never fill your containers to the brim: breast milk expands during cooling and freezing.

 

How long will my stored breast milk stay good?

Different storing methods, containers, and cooling systems will make exact storing times vary. However, there are a few general recommendations that can be put to use for healthy babies:

 

Using a refrigerator: Breast milk can be safely stored in the back of your refrigerator for 5-8 days.

Using a freezer: Breast milk can be safely stored in the back of your traditional refrigerator-freezer for up to 3-6 months.

Keeping at room temperature: Recently pumped breast milk can remain at room temperature for up to 6 hours. However, if the room is particularly warm the milk should be transferred to a refrigerator or freezer.

 

Is it safe to add fresh milk to previously stored breast milk?

Yes, although the freshly expressed milk should be cooled before adding: adding warm breast milk to cold will potentially thaw the already frozen or chilled milk.

Do NOT combine milk that is expressed from different days; store these separately.

 

Whatever option you choose, make sure to set up a meeting with your doctor prior to storing your breast milk. Specific steps and recommendations may be made that would be best for you as a mother.