Storing your breast milk allows you to have it ready for your baby whenever you need it. It’s important to store milk properly so that it’s fresh and maintains its nutritional and anti-infective qualities.
Expressed milk can stay at room temperature for around 6 hours. It can be stored in the fridge for up to 8 days if your fridge is between 0 and 4 degrees. If your fridge is higher than 4 degrees, or if you are unsure of the temperature, use it within 3 days. Keep your milk in the ice compartment of your fridge for up to 2 weeks, or in the freezer for up to 6 months.
If you don’t think you will use it within the maximum storage time, freeze it as soon as you can.
666 – is a good way to remember the storing times
6 hours at room temperature, 6 days in the fridge, and 6 months in the deep freeze.
Storing in the fridge or freezer – Make sure you store your milk in small batches to avoid wastage, and when freezing your milk leave space in your storage container for expansion.
The Ardo Easy Store breast milk storage bag is the perfect way to store breast milk safely in the fridge and freezer with minimum space requirements. The storage bags have a double zip to prevent leaking. The filled bag stands on its own and can be easily stacked in the freezer helping you save space.
Store your milk at the back to avoid temperature fluctuations and label your milk with the date.
Cool bag – safely store your milk in a cool bag with an ice pack for around 24 hours. You may want to wrap your ice packs, as contact with the storage containers may freeze the milk partially. The Ardo cool bag complete comes with 6 bottles and 2 cooling elements.
Defrosting your milk – if defrosting in the fridge use the breast milk within 24 hours, however if you are defrosting outside of the fridge, use it immediately. When defrosting outside of the fridge and you don’t have time to let it come up to room temperature you can run under lukewarm water, not hot.
If your baby will take your breastmilk straight from the fridge served cold, then do this! No waiting for the milk to come up to room temperature.
NEVER defrost breastmilk in the microwave as it can lead to hot spots & reduce some of the milk components. NEVER refreeze breastmilk.
Why do storage guidelines vary?
If your baby is premature, or their immune system is compromised, maximum storage times may be shorter. The conditions milk is stored may vary, for example room temperature may be different.
Can you reuse expressed milk from a bottle that has been drunk from?
There is little research on this, guidance suggests it should be used within an hour or two and then discarded. Offer milk in small amounts to avoid wastage.
Can you mix milk together that has been expressed at different times?
Yes, but first wait for the freshly expressed milk to cool before adding to the milk in the fridge. Most guidance suggests restricting batches to the same day it was expressed.
All this and more on our video – Learn all about storing your breastmilk with IBCLC, Ilayda!