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Once you've expressed your breast milk, the best way to store it is in a glass or BPA-free plastic bottle or in a custom-purpose sealable BPA-free milk bag. One good thing about milk bags is that you can easily write the date on them, which is important because your breast milk has a use-by date. You should store your breast milk in amounts that your baby takes to avoid wasting it as leftover milk can't be reheated or re-refrigerated.
Store your pumped milk in a fridge as soon as possible. If you're out and about, use blue ice packs and store it in an insulated container until you get home that day. If you have excess supply, you can freeze your unused milk and thaw it when you need it later. In any case, be sure to always place your milk in the inner-most part of your fridge or freezer away from the door to maintain consistent and cold temperatures.
Here are some general guides on how long you can store your breast milk.
Freshly expressed milk
- Deep freezer (below -19C) 6 months
- Self-defrosting freezer (around -19C) 3 months
- Fridge (around 4C) 5 days
- Room temp (winter or with ice cool packs, 16 C) 24 hours
- Room temp (around 21 C) 10 hours
- Room temp (summer, 27C) 4 hours
- Fridge (around 4C) 24 hours
- Room temp 1 hour
Thaw frozen milk slowly by swirling the bottle or milk bag in warm water or just by putting it in the fridge the day before. Don't use hot water to thaw breast milk and never thaw it in a microwave.
Remember, once you've thawed your frozen milk, you must use it within 24 hours and you mustn't refreeze it.
Enjoy breastfeeding and breast pumping!
Please also check out my other Guides on related breastfeeding and breast pumping topics.
Hi my name is Pia and I'm a qualified early childhood teacher and long-time childcare professional who has worked directly with hundreds of babies, children and families in Australia and Canada over the past 8 years. Thanks for stopping by and reading my Guide. For more information, drop by my eBay Store and check out quality breastfeeding products that I've personally picked for you.