Storing breast milk is very simple, but it has to be done properly in order for you to be able to continuing using order to ensure freshness.
Here are a couple of things to consider as you plan to store your breast milk:
What container should I use to store breast milk?
To avoid waste and to thaw & warm easily, store milk in 1-4 ounce portions. Here are a few options:
• Bottles (Medela, Avent, Ameda, etc)
• Stackable pouches (Kiinde Twist)
• Storage bags (Lansinoh, Snappies)
• Milk Trays (Sensible Lines)
Keep in mind that breast milk storage bags aren’t generally recommended for long-term storage because they might spill, leak and become contaminated more easily than hard-sided containers.
What’s the best way to store expressed breast milk?
• Place the containers in the back of the refrigerator or freezer, where the temperature is the coolest. If you don’t have access to a refrigerator or freezer, store the milk in a cooler or insulated bag until you can transfer the milk to the refrigerator or freezer
• Label the container with the date the milk was expressed to facilitate using the oldest milk first
• Do not add fresh milk to already frozen milk within a storage container
• Do not save milk from a used bottle for use at another feeding
How do I Safely thaw breast milk?
• Ideally, thaw slowly in the refrigerator (about 12 hours). Avoid letting milk sit out at room temperature to thaw
• NEVER use a microwave oven to heat up or thaw milk
• Use a bottle warmer or place the bottle in a pan with warm water
How long does expressed breast milk keep?
How long you can safely keep expressed breast milk depends on the storage method, but here are some general guidelines:
• Room temperature: Freshly expressed breast milk can be kept at room temperature for up to six hours. If you won’t use the milk in that amount of time, transfer the milk to an insulated cooler, refrigerator or freezer.
• Insulated cooler: Freshly expressed breast milk can be stored in an insulated cooler with ice packs for up to 24 hours. Then use the milk or transfer the containers to the refrigerator or freezer.
• Refrigerator: Freshly expressed breast milk can be stored in the back of the refrigerator — not the door — for up to five to eight days.
• Freezer: Freshly expressed breast milk can be stored in a standard refrigerator freezer for up to three to six months and in a chest freezer for up to six to 12 months. Place the milk in the back of the freezer — not the door.