Breastmilk Storage Guidelines
by Susie Hamilton
Breast Pumps Direct
The objective of proper breast milk storage is to preserve its nutritional value and infection preventing qualities. Washing your hands before handling your expressed breast milk and following these guidelines will ensure that your milk is properly preserved for your baby. By storing milk in the amount that your baby eats during each feeding, you can avoid wasting expressed breast milk.
When freezing or refrigerating expressed breast milk it is best to store it in clear, hard plastic bottles like the Ameda Breast Milk Storage Bottles or Evenflo Classic glass containers with tight fitting lids or in Ameda Store 'N Pour Breast Milk Storage Bags designed for breast milk storage. Storing milk in disposable bottle liners is not recommended. Since these bags are not intended for storage, they may not preserve the nutritional value of the expressed breast milk.
Always store your expressed milk in the back of the refrigerator or freezer to ensure that it stays cool. Refrigeration is the preferred method of storing expressed milk because it preserves the natural immunity factors in the breast milk better than freezing. It is also important to label milk that will be frozen with the date it was expressed. Be sure to use the oldest stored milk first. If you need to carry some with you discreetly you can also get the Ameda Cool 'N Carry Milk Storage Tote for easy carrying and keeping the milk cool.
Expressed breast milk may be stored:
- At room temperature for up to 10 hours
- In a refrigerator for up to 8 days
- In a freezer for up to 3 or 4 months
- In a deep freezer for up to 6 months
Heating and thawing your milk can be done by simply holding the bottle under warm running water. Frozen milk may also be thawed in the refrigerator over night. You should not heat the breast milk in a microwave or bring it to a boiling point. After thawing frozen milk, it may be refrigerated for up to 24 hours, but it should not be frozen.
According to OSHA and the US Center for Disease Control, expressed breast milk does not require special handling or storage. Therefore, when stored in a tightly closed container expressed breast milk may be stored in a common refrigerator at your baby’s daycare center or your workplace.