basic guidelines on breast milk storage and usage

Having a child is a full time job but breastfeeding is also another full time job that moms take on as 1 person.  Especially from a first time mom’s perspective you are so focused on making sure your child latches and the fact that you can breast feed, you don’t really think about all the other tasks related to breastfeeding like how to store the milk, how long can you keep it, how long can it stay out or how do you know if it has gone bad?  I personally was overwhelmed but was so blessed I had a sister in law who had just gone through the process so she gave me the 101 on how to take care of the milk.

Breast Milk Bags

I created a little checklist for myself so I wouldn’t have to keep googling during my 2 minutes of free time for those questions that come up all the time.

Basic guidelines on breast milk storage and usage

  • Milk is best stored in sterilized hard plastic containers, closed glass containers or milk storage bags.  **The milk storage bags can easily tear so keep them in a plastic container in your freezer
  • Each bag or bottle should be clearly labeled with the child’s name, date you pumped the milk and the amount  you pumped.  **Remember breast milk expands when it freezes so do not fill the container to the very top
  • Fresh expressed milk will stay good for up to 4-6 hours at ROOM temperature.  Dispose of the milk if it has been sitting out any longer than six hours
  • Milk can be stored in an insulated cooler with an icepack for 24 hours.  You can put it in the refrigerator or freezer after the 24 hours
  • Milk can be stored in the refrigerator for up to 6 days.  **Place the milk in the very back of the refrigerator where it is the coldest.
  • Milk can be stored in a standard freezer for up to 6 months and up to 12 months if you have a big commercial freezer.  “Place the milk in the very back of the refrigerator where it is the coldest.  Also remember the longer you store your milk, the more chance you have of loosing some nutrients in the milk and potentially getting bacteria in the milk.
  • To thaw frozen breast milk, leave it in the refrigerator overnight or use a bottle warmer.  Don’t put it in the microwave.
  • Thawed frozen breast milk is only good for 24 hours.  Throw any leftover milk away
  • Thawed frozen milk may look different than your fresh milk but it is okay.  It may look a bit curdled and smell different but as long as you following the date and heating guidelines, the milk should be fine.
  • You can add cooled breast milk to another bottle of cooled breast milk but never mix warmed milk with cold milk

 

 

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