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As a Mum, especially when it is your first baby, you might find yourself stranded on how to store breast milk safely. Either when you are at home, traveling or even at work. You might ask yourself questions like;

  • Which are the best containers to use when storing breast milk?
  • How much breast milk should I store in each container?
  • For how long should I store breast milk after pumping?
  • Which are the right temperatures to store breast milk?

This article will answer all the questions you may have regarding storing pumped milk. You can also read our list of best electric breast pumps of 2021

How are you supposed to store breast milk safely/correctly?

A breast pump can promote flexibility and ensure that you have enough stash for your baby. How you store your expressed milk highly influences its nutritional value. Safe storage of breast milk requires the use of appropriate cooling systems, storage containers, and thaw techniques.

Below is a video that gives some guidelines on how to store breast milk;

Follow the guidelines given above about breast milk storage.

From the video above, some of the guidelines are;

  • According to APP, you should store your fresh breast milk in the refrigerator for up to 4 days and discard it after that.
  • To be on the safe side, store breast milk at room temperature for 4 hours.
  • Use ice pack to store the breast milk when travelling.
  • When freezing the breast milk, use bags and store 4 – 6 ounces in each bag.
  • The best time to freeze milk is immediately after pumping it.
  • Frozen milk is good for up to a month when stored in a freezer.
  • Thawed frozen breast milk must be used within 24 hours and if later than that, throw it away.
  • NEVER defrost breast milk in hot water or in the microwave.
  • To freeze breast milk, you can use glass bottles or plastic bottles.
  • Indicate on each bag the date you freeze the breast milk with a marker and organize them.

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

There are suitable containers that are best for storing breast milk. Here are some tips that are helpful when it comes to safe storage of breast milk:

  1. Strictly avoid glass bottles since they are susceptible to breakage
  2. Use sterilized plastic bags or bottles
  3. You can also label the containers and take out the older bags first
  4. Do not fill the container to the brim as frozen milk expands
  5. Sterilize the containers after washing them with soap and warm water to prevent bacteria infestation.

The video below is a review of the breast milk storage bags;

According to the video above, some of the recommended bags where you can store breast milk in include;

  1. Honey Suckle breast milk bag
  2. Lansinoh bags
  3. Spectra bags
  4. Purity bags
  5. Bonafide baby

How to store breast milk at room temperature (20°C – 25°C)

The storage system for breast milk depends on our urgency to use it. If you intend to feed your little one in less than 4 hours after pumping then room temperature is the go-to for you.

It is the best way to maintain the milk’s quality since freezing reduces leukocytes which contain infection-fighting properties.

How to store breast milk in the Freezer (-18°C)

Store your milk in the coldest parts of the freezer, preferably close to the ice cube compartment and away from meat.

If the milk has thawed, do not refreeze it. This may interfere with the milk’s components and give your loved one a stomach upset.

How to store breast milk in the Refrigerator (4°C)

The milk will remain fresh for about 8 days. Milk thawed in the refrigerator after freezing can be stored for no more than 24 hours.

How to store breast milk in the Deep freezer -18°  C

Milk can be stored for a year.      

How much breast milk should I store in each container?

You may be aware of the right temperatures to store breast milk and even the best containers to use, but then a crucial question emerges, how much breast milk should you store in each container?

It is advisable to store one serving per container. This will retain the milk’s composition and prevent wastage since your baby is more likely to finish all the thawed milk.

What quantity to store breast milk

Below are the serving suggestions;

AGEQUANTITY TO STORE
Infants below a month old 60 ml – 90 ml per serving
Babies between 1-6 months 90 ml -150 ml per serving

Mothers are also encouraged to have smaller servings like 40 ml for specific needs.

How long can I store breast milk?

How long can you store breast milk? According to NHS:

According to the National Health Service, the period you store your breast milk depends on where you are storing the bags;

DevicePeriod
Refrigerator Up to five days at 4 degrees or lower
Ice compartment of a fridge For two weeks
Freezer For up to six months

How long to store breast milk at room temperature?

Breast milk which has been freshly expressed can be kept at room temperature for up to 6 hours. Nonetheless, proper storage within 4 hours is optimal. If the room is normally or especially warm, the limit is also 4 hours.

How long to store breast milk in refrigerator/freezer?

Breast milk that has been freshly expressed can be kept at the back of the refrigerator for up to 5 days in clean and favorable conditions. Nevertheless, use or freezer storage within 3 days is optimal.

Breast milk that has been freshly expressed can be kept at the back of a deep freezer for up to twelve months. However, making use of the frozen milk within 6 months is optimal.

How to store breast milk according to Medela

How to store breast milk according to Spectra

How to store breast milk in different items:

Storing it in:How to store it there, how long, suitable for:
Storage Bags such as Lansinoh bags-Each bag holds up to 6 ounces
-Can lay flat in your refrigerator or freezer.
-They clearly indicate the amount of breast milk
Diaper bagThe fresh milk will last up to 10 hours if kept at 66 – 72 degrees Fahrenheit.
Bottles with nipplesDO NOT store the breast milk in bottles with nipples
Bottle Clean bottles with screw caps that are intended for storing breast milk.
Freezer/flat freezerLay the milk bag flat in the freezer for a day or so
Without freezer/refrigerator Store the breast milk temporarily in an insulated cooler
Dry ice/Ice pack You should wrap the dry ice/Ice pack in a newspaper and place it into the cooler with your breast milk. DO NOT put the dry ice only at the bottom part of the cooler.
.
Without storage bagsYou can keep it at room temperature but not for more than 25 degrees for a maximum of 6 hours
GlassPackaging of milk varies so a thicker glass bottle might keep the milk colder.
Cool box / cooler bag: Milk should be stored for no more than 24 hours in c cooling box. Ensure all parts of the storage container are in contact with the ice pack and minimize opening the cool box.
This cooling method is suitable for traveling and daycare.

How to store breast milk in different locations

Location How to store it there
HomeYou can store it at room temperature (16-25 degrees) for about 5 hours.
In a refrigerator at 4 degrees for 3 days
In a freezer at -18 degrees for up to 6 months
At workUse ice packs or dry ice
In a refrigerator at 4 degrees for 3 days
In a freezer at -18 degrees for up to 6 months
When traveling/going outUse ice packs or dry ice and wrap the dry ice/Ice pack in the newspaper and place it into the cooler with your breast milk.
DaycareYou can store it at room temperature (16-25 degrees) for about 5 hours.
CounterYou can store it at room temperature (16-25 degrees) for about 5 hours.
Camping Use ice packs or dry ice and wrap the dry ice/Ice pack in the newspaper and place it into the cooler with your breast milk.

How to store breast milk for premature babies or newborns

How to store breast milk in Different Seasons

SeasonHow to store
SummerYou may use ice packs or deep freezer to ensure that no heat reaches the breast milk.
WinterYou may store the breast milk at the right room temperature, refrigerator or freezer.
during HurricaneIn a refrigerator or deep freezer
During the dayAt room temperature, in a refrigerator and deep freezer

How to warm breast milk

After freezing the breast milk, you may need to warm your milk. First, place the breast milk bottle or bag into a cup, jug or bowl of lukewarm water for several minutes to bring it to body temperature (37 °C or 99 °F). Alternatively, you may use a bottle warmer. Make sure that the temperature does not go above 40 °C (104 °F), and do not use a microwave because it can overheat your milk.

How to store breast milk FAQs

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