Breast milk storage guidelines are important to ensure the safety and quality of breast milk for your baby. Here are some general recommendations:
Use clean, BPA-free containers specifically designed for breast milk storage, such as bottles or breast milk storage bags.
Clearly label each container with the date when the milk was expressed. If you plan to use different batches of milk, label them with the time of expression as well.
Freshly Expressed Milk
Freshly expressed breast milk can be stored at room temperature (up to 25°C or 77°F) for up to 4 hours. If the room is warmer (above 25°C or 77°F), it is best to refrigerate the milk within 1-2 hours.
Breast milk can be refrigerated for up to 3-5 days at a temperature of 4°C (39°F) or below. Place the containers at the back of the refrigerator, where the temperature is more consistent.
If you want to store breast milk for a longer period, freezing is recommended. It can be frozen in the freezer compartment of a refrigerator with a separate door for up to 3-6 months. If you have a deep freezer, breast milk can be stored for up to 12 months. Use the coldest part of the freezer for optimal storage.
Thawing and Using Frozen Milk
To thaw frozen breast milk, place it in the refrigerator overnight or hold the container under warm running water. Avoid using a microwave or boiling water as they can destroy some of the milk’s beneficial components. After thawing, gently swirl the container to mix the fat that may have separated. Use the thawed milk within 24 hours and never refreeze it.
Remember to always practice proper hygiene when handling breast milk and wash your hands before expressing or handling containers. If you have any concerns or specific medical conditions, it’s advisable to consult with a healthcare professional for personalized guidance.