Storing Your Breastmilk
|Freshly Expressed Breastmilk|
|Location||Temperature Range||Ideal Duration|
|Room temperature||19-26°C (66-78F)||3 hours|
|Warm room||27-32°C (80-90F)||2-3 hours|
|In a refrigerator||4°C (39F)||2-3 days|
|In a freezer||-20 – -9°C (-0.4 – -4F)||6 months|
*These guidelines are for milk pumped for a full-term healthy baby. If your care provider has provided alternative instructions, always adhere to those.
- If you are preparing to freeze your breastmilk, do not fill storage bottles to the brim, or fill breastmilk storage bags beyond the intended capacity so as to allow for expansion during freezing.
- Always indicate the date you expressed your breastmilk on the containers for future reference.
- For ease of thawing and warming, and to avoid waste, you may wish to store breastmilk in 1 to 4 ounce (28-118 ml) portions.
Thawing Your Breastmilk
There are 3 ways to thaw frozen breastmilk:
a) Thaw breastmilk overnight in the refrigerator. It takes about 12 hours to thaw. Thawed breastmilk can be kept in the refrigerator for up to 24 hours. Do not refreeze thawed breastmilk.
b) Place the bottle or storage bag in a bowl of warm water.
c) Hold the bottle or storage bag under warm running water until milk is thawed and reaches room temperature.
- Do not thaw frozen breastmilk in a microwave or in a pot of boiling water.
- You may combine milk from different pumping sessions so long as the milk is at the same temperature.
Warming Your Breastmilk
To warm breastmilk, place the bottle in a small container with warm water (of not higher than 40°C) for several minutes. Gently shake the bottle periodically. Alternatively, use a bottle warmer.
- Do not microwave breastmilk. Microwaving can cause severe burns to baby’s mouth from hot spots that develop in the milk during microwaving. Microwaving can also change the composition of breastmilk.
- Do not heat breastmilk in boiling water or in any water higher than 40°C as it can negatively affect the nutritional contents of the milk.
- If your baby does not finish thawed breastmilk in one feeding, you may refrigerate and use within 1-2 hours before discarding.
- Avoid adding warm breastmilk to refrigerated or frozen breastmilk. Cool the warm milk or ensure that both portions of milk are at the same temperature before combining. If you add warm breast milk to cold milk, it increases the temperature and can make it susceptible to bacteria growth / contamination.
- Breastmilk is considered spoilt when it smells bad or tastes sour.