How long can I store breast milk?
How long you can store breastmilk, depends on where you store it. For healthy babies who are at home, you can follow the breastmilk storage guidelines below.
If your baby is hospitalized, it’s better to speak to your healthcare provider for their input.
The longer breastmilk is stored, the more vitamins and antioxidants are lost, so it’s better to use the older milk first. Despite the loss in nutrients, breastmilk still has more health benefits than formula milk.
|Breastmilk Storing (for healthy full term infant)|
|Room Temperature||19C – 26C||4-8 hours||Containers should be covered and kept as cool as possible.|
|Insulated cooler bag||-15C – 4C||24 hours||Keep ice packs in constant contact with milk containers. Limit opening of cooler bag|
|Refrigerator||4C||3-8 days||Store milk in the back of the refrigerator where temperature remains more consistent .|
|Freezer compartment of Refrigerator||-15C||2 weeks||Store milk in the back of the refrigerator where temperature remains more consistent . Milk stored for longer periods is usually safe, however the fat starts to break down over time.|
|Freezer compartment of Refrigerator with separate doors||-18C||3-6 months|
|Deep Freezer||-20C||6-12 months|
The following containers can be used to store breastmilk:
Some tips when expressing breastmilk :
- Wash your hands before expressing or handling of milk
- Ensure milk storage containers are clean and sterilized
- Write down the date on the container before filling and storing
- Refrigerate milk straight after expressing (if you are not planning of using it within the next few hours)
- If the milk separates, gently swirl it to redistribute the cream before feeding (don’t shake)
- You can combine several pumpings in one container by adding cold to cold
- The Milk expands as you freeze it, so leave space at the top if you plan to freeze
- Fill each container with 60mls to minimize waste
- Store in the back of the refrigerator, where temperature is most consistent
- Horizontal bags may save space
- Use the oldest frozen milk first to keep it from getting too old
- Thaw frozen milk in the refrigerator or bowl of warm water
- Don’t heat the milk on the stove or in the microwave
- Thawed milk can be used for up to 24hours. Then use, refreeze or discard.