store breast milk

How to store breast milk safely

Breastfeeding can be really convenient: milk is always ready and warm for your baby. But probably you will want to pump and store milk for when you are away from your baby or to donate it. You can do it but… Do you know how to dot it safely?

What kind of containers should I use to store breast milk?

A range of clean breast milk storage bottles works well for storing breast milk. I recommend:

  • Glass with leak proof lid
  • Hard, BPA-free plastic
  • Breast milk freezer bags

Don’t use thin disposable feeding bottle liners or plastic sandwich bags for storing milk in the freezer because they can split when frozen.

How long can I store breast milk?

That depends on where you store it. For healthy babies who are at home, check the breast milk storage guidelines table. If your baby is in the hospital (preterm or sick), check with your baby’s health care provider for advice about milk storage.

While it’s true that the longer your milk is stored, the more vitamins and antioxidants it loses, it’s also true that stored breast milk still has more health benefits than formula, so it’s worth it to continue to pump and store milk for your baby.

  • If you plan to use your milk within 8 days, you can store it in the refrigerator. Otherwise, store it in the coldest part of the freezer, where it can remain for up to four months.
  • Never store your breast milk in the door compartment of the refrigerator or freezer. It is more likely to defrost or become too warm there.
  • Freshly pumped milk can be stored in a cooler with frozen ice packs for up to 24 hours.
  • If you follow the timeframes in the breast milk storage guidelines, you can keep your milk at room temperature, then refrigerate it, and then freeze it.

Breast milk storage guidelines

Place Temperature Time
Room Temperature 19-26º 4-8 h
Thermal bag 15º 24 h
Refrigerator 3-5 days
Freezer (inside refrigerator) -15º 2 weeks
Freezer (separated door) -18º 3-6 months

Do I need to warm up my baby’s milk?

 If you have a newborn baby who needs milk given in a bottle, warm the milk up by placing in a cup of warm water. Test it to make sure it is not too hot before giving it to your baby. If your baby is a few months old, you can give chilled milk right out of the refrigerator. Some older babies still prefer warm milk, so if your baby does, warm the milk up by placing in a cup of warm water and then test it to make sure it is not too hot before giving it to your baby.

 

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