Breastfeeding is the ultimate bonding experience between you and your baby. You will cherish
it forever! Sometimes it’s not always easy to breastfeed your baby directly so storing breast milk
for safe consumption later is very important. Here are some tips for safely storing breast milk.

1. Wash your hands with soap and water before expressing milk and be sure the area where
you are working is clean.
2. If you are having trouble getting the milk to flow, keep an item that reminds you of your
baby close by, this can really help!
3. If you are still having trouble expressing milk, apply warm moist compresses and gently
massage the breasts for a few minutes.
4. Be sure to store the milk in clean, BPA-Free containers with lids, covered ice cube trays
or freezer-safe storage bags.
5. Label the container with the date. Add your child’s name if you are taking it to a
childcare provider.
6. Store milk in the coldest part of the refrigerator or freezer.
7. Always use the oldest dated milk first.
8. Do not mix fresh milk and frozen milk in the same container.
9. Milk left in a baby bottle after a feeding should be thrown out. Do not save it for use at
another feeding.

Safely Thawing and Warming Breast Milk

• Thawing breast milk in the refrigerator is the best method. If time is an issue, breast milk
can be thawed quicker in a closed container or bottle under cool running water.

• Some babies accept breast milk right from the refrigerator and others prefer it warm.

• To warm the breast milk, gradually increase the temperature of the water to warm the
milk or immerse the container in a pan of water that has been heated on the stove.

• Do not heat the breast milk directly on the stove.

• Never bring the temperature of breast milk to boiling point.

• Avoid using a microwave oven to thaw breast milk. They do not heat liquids evenly and
the oven’s high temperatures could destroy nutrients in the breast milk.

• Always check the temperature of the milk before feeding your baby.

• Do not re-freeze breast milk once it has been thawed.

Type Condition Life

Fresh Room temperature 6-8 hours

Fresh Insulated cooler bag with ice packs 24 hours

Fresh Refrigerator 8-10 Days

Frozen Freezer within refrigerator 2 weeks

Frozen Freezer with separate door Up to 6 months

Frozen Chest or upright deep freezer Up to 12 months

Thawed Refrigerator 24 hours

Source: Academy of Breastfeeding Medicine

About the author:

Cheryl Tallman is the founder of Fresh Baby (

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