Breast milk storage is easy and straightforward because even though breast milk does not contain  preservatives, it is all-natural and exceptionally fresh. For 6 days or less of breast milk storage simply put the breast milk in a covered glass or plastic bottle in the refrigerator. Breast milk storage bags usually have a measurement scale that shows how much milk is in the bag.
Once the breast milk storage bag is filled, write the number of ounces as well as the date of the milk was pumped. To store breast milk in the freezer, the simplest and most convenient way is to use breast milk storage bags.
The length of time that breast milk will remain fresh depends on the temperature at which it is stored. I use those ever-popular breastmilk storage bags for putting my pumped breastmilk in the freezer. The World Health Organization asserts that “breast milk is the ideal food for the healthy growth and development of infants,” encouraging new mothers to exclusively breastfeed their babies for the first six months of life. The La Leche League International, a leading breastfeeding advocacy group, suggests that breast milk be stored in two to four ounce amounts in order to minimize waste by either freezing or refrigeration.
Human breast milk that has been pumped can be stored at room temperature for up to six hours safely, but mothers are advised to refrigerate or chill their milk as soon as possible after pumping.
Containers of pumped milk should be dated in order to facilitate use of older milk first, with the child’s name also included on the label if the pumped breast milk is intended for use in a daycare setting. Before handling stored breast milk to prepare a bottle, nannies and childcare providers should carefully and thoroughly wash their hands to prevent contamination. Human breast milk can vary in color and consistency depending on the nursing mother’s diet, so color isn’t typically an indicator of freshness.
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For short-term storing, such as in the refrigerator, you can keep the milk in the plastic bottle that comes with your pump or transfer it to bottles measured for individual feedings. If you’re pumping at work, you can store your milk in a travel cooler with ice packs or in a common space refrigerator. Milk that you plan to use within 8 days should be kept refrigerated, as opposed to frozen, so that thawing is not necessary. For long-term storing, you can use glass or plastic containers, or plastic freezer bags made specifically for storing breast milk. If you need to combine freshly expressed milk with frozen milk, cool the expressed milk first. When you’re ready to use frozen milk, thaw in refrigerator (usually 12 hours or overnight) or run under lukewarm water if needed right away. Swirl your bottle of milk gently before use if the creamier portion has separated, but do not shake!
If your baby does not finish a bottle, most sources say it is OK to re-refrigerate once (3).
If you wish to freeze your milk in glass containers, freezer-safe Bernardin Mason jars in 125 ml (4.2 oz) are a great, convenient size. You can get extra use out of your pump accessories between washings by giving them a quick rinse, throwing them in a large ziploc bag, and storing them in the refrigerator until the next pumping session. If you and your baby experience thrush, you can still give milk pumped during the infection to your baby while being treated. Please note: This and other Daily Mom articles may include sponsored advertisements, reviewed products and services, affiliate links and other forms of sponsorship. The Latest in CAPTUREDaily Mom's Guide to PhotographyDid you recently upgrade your point and shoot camera to a Digital SLR?
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Even in a warm room that’s 78°F breast milk will not expire for 4 hours and simple refrigeration will keep the milk fresh for 8 days. The best way to do this is with breast milk storage freezer bags which are available online and from baby stores or baby sections in most big box stores. Before you put the storage bag into the freezer, here is a breast milk storage tip: put the storage bag into a one gallon freezer bag and label the freezer bag with the current month. These are typically zip top bags that have a scale that measures the amount of breast milk in the bag as well as a section that can be written on to indicate the date the milk was pumped.
None of the statements on this page have been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. When new moms work outside of the home, however, many opt to pump and store their breast milk so that nannies and other childcare providers can continue providing their child with the most nutritious possible food source during this crucial time. While frozen milk remains fresh for up to six months in a deep freezer, refrigerated milk used within eight days retains more of its original anti-infective properties. Containers made of glass or hard plastic free from bisphenol A (BPA) with tight-fitting tops are ideal for storage after being washed in hot, soapy water and allowed to air dry after being thoroughly rinsed. Frozen milk may be thawed either in the refrigerator or by immersing the container in warm water; using a microwave to either thaw or heat the breast milk is strongly discouraged.
Bottles that a baby doesn’t finish should be discarded, rather than saved; the risk of contamination is very real, despite the antibiotic nature of expressed human breast milk.
The Mayo Clinic also reports that breast milk that has been frozen and later thawed may have a different consistency, color, and odor than freshly pumped milk. Although a bodily fluid, breast milk is not considered a biohazard and the CDC does not require special handling, labeling, or separate refrigeration (1). Don’t add more than there is of the frozen, since you want to avoid the frozen milk thawing. If you combine milk from several pumping sessions, label it with the date of the oldest milk.
That is, to avoid waste you can put the milk back in the fridge and offer again within a few hours.
Most breast milk has a mild or slightly sweet scent, but mothers occasionally report that thawed milk smells soapy.
After the infection has cleared, however, discard the milk as neither cooling nor freezing kills yeast (6).
Instead of tossing the milk, consider using it for diaper rash, baby eczema, cradle cap, or any of a number of alternative uses. It is not intended to replace medical advice from your physician, doctor or health care professional.


Thank you for posting your sources – often times I worry about where blog articles pull their information but you definitely did your research! Put a strip of masking tape on the bottle and label it with the date the breast milk was pumped or hand expressed.
It is okay to combine the milk from two or more pumping or hand expression sessions in one bag as long as the older breast milk has been refrigerated and is not more than 8 days old. Click the image or the link below for a handy printable version of our breast milk storage guidelines you print then hang on your refrigerator or freezer. These nannies are then tasked with the responsibility of properly handling the bottled breast milk, and understanding the best methods for storage.
There are also specially-designed freezer bags commercially available, though traditional food-storage bags aren’t recommended due to the possibility of rupture or leakage.
This method can both destroy valuable nutrient content and create hot spots in the bottle that can scald the delicate tissues of an infant’s mouth. For this reason, nursing mothers are urged to store milk in two to four ounce containers to minimize waste. Additionally, breast milk can often separate into two distinct layers of milk and cream; this separation is also not an indication that milk isn’t fresh. Immunological cells in the milk are purported to stick to the sides of glass bottles, however the difference is probably negligible if your baby is receiving only some of his milk from bottles.
Breast milk storage bags are thicker and have a lining to prevent fatty components from sticking to the side. It is true that the composition of your milk changes over time to suit your growing baby’s needs.
Full freezers will hold their temperature for approximately 48 hours if the door is kept closed (4). This may be due to enzymes in the milk digesting some of the fat and is probably fine if your baby accepts the milk. Chances are your mom had stuck a few disposable cameras in your backpack and sent you on your way. This keeps your freezer stash of breast milk organized by month, which will make finding the oldest milk very easy when it comes time to unthaw and use your stored breast milk.
Containers designated for freezer storage should not be filled to the brim, as the milk will expand as it solidifies. Bottles microwaved for too long may also explode under intense heat, wasting the milk and creating quite a mess. Frozen milk should be kept near the back of the freezer, because the temperature tends to be the most constant in this area. To reincorporate the milk and cream, simply shake the storage container gently or swirl it carefully until it’s combined again. As a precaution, it should not be kept longer since bacteria from the babies mouth has contaminated the nipple. However, even older milk, as long as it has been properly stored and handled, is beneficial to your little one.
If not, scalding (but not boiling) the milk and quickly cooling prior to freezing may solve this problem if baby is rejecting the milk, although this may lower the nutritive content and is not ideal (5).
In her spare time she enjoys blogging about photography, travel, married life, and motherhood at The Whimsical Photographer. Most experts do not recommend refreezing the milk, although there has been little research on how repeated re-freezing changes the properties of breast milk. If you know ahead of time of a potential long power outage, you might also consider packing your supply in dry ice.



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