Breast Milk Storage Guidelines | CloudMom
How to Store Your Expressed Breast Milk
Storing breast milk that has been expressed or pumped is a great way to have some available when you're unable to breastfeed your baby. It's important to use a good storage technique to keep the milk sanitary and nutritious. This article contains information on using sanitary containers, storing milk properly and knowing the right way to thaw it.
Using a Sanitary Container
Use glass or plastic jars.Either glass or hard plastic jars are fine to use, as long as they have lids that can be tightly closed. Consider sanitizing these items before use by following this method:
- Bring a large pot of water to boil on the stove. Use a pair of tongs to lower the jars and their lids into the boiling water.
- Let the jars and lids boil for about a minute.
- Remove the jars and lids and place them on paper towels to dry and cool.
Use breast milk storage bags.These bags are sold at stores where baby supplies are available, and are designed specifically to be used for storing breast milk in the refrigerator. The milk is pumped directly into the bag, which may be more comfortable to use than a jar.
- Breast milk bags should not be stored in the freezer. They are designed for short term refrigerator storage only.
- You can place breast milk bags in plastic storage containers to make them easier to store in the refrigerator.
Don't use disposable bottle liners.These aren't designed for storage. Don't use food storage bags designed for regular household use, either; this type of plastic can leach into the milk, also affecting your baby's health.
Storing Breast Milk
Always wash your hands.Before you express milk or use a breast pump, wash your hands and the equipment you're using with warm, soapy water to prevent the breast milk from getting contaminated.
Express or pump the milk into your chosen containers.If possible, express or pump the milk directly into the containers you're going to use to store the milk, rather than using a different container in between. Pumping directly into the container you're using to store the milk reduces the chances the milk will get contaminated. When you're finished filling the containers, close the lids tightly.
Label the containers.It's important to label the containers with the date you pumped or expressed the milk and stored it. If you don't, you may forget when milk was first stored and accidentally reach for spoiled milk one day.
Store the milk in the refrigerator or freezer.Breast milk may be safely left on the table or countertop at room temperature for 6-8 hours at a temperature no higher than 77°F, or 25°C. If you're not going to use the milk within that time, it's necessary to store it in the refrigerator or freezer.
- Breast milk can be safely stored in the refrigerator for 5 days at a temperature of 39°F or 4°C. If you express or pump milk more than once in one day, you can add it to the same container. Store milk expressed or pumped on different days in different containers.
- Breast milk can be safely stored in the freezer for 3 - 6 months. Don't add more milk to breast milk that has already been frozen; store it in a different container.
Thawing Breast Milk
Thaw frozen breast milk by placing it in the refrigerator.The morning you want to use a container of breast milk, move it from the freezer to the refrigerator to give it time to thaw. Don't place it on the countertop to thaw; it's better to have a slower transition from frozen to thawed.
Warm refrigerated breast milk by placing it in a bowl of warm water.Fill a bowl with water that is warm, not hot, and place the jar or bag of breast milk in the bowl. Let it warm until it's a bit warmer than room temperature, then use it immediately.
Don't thaw or warm breast milk in the microwave.The milk could get too hot and scald the baby, and excess heat destroys the nutrients in the breast milk.
Don't refreeze breast milk that has been thawed.Thaw only as much as you can use in one day. If you have some leftover after a feeding discard it, as it may have become contaminated.
- If you have a separate deep freezer, you can store milk for up to 12 months.
- Never re-freeze thawed expressed breast milk.
- Remember do not add warm milk to cold.
Sources and Citations
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Video: How To Store BREASTMILK!
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