The basics of breast milk storage – Acellon Medical Products
Category: Breastfeeding, Pump, Mamas working
June 9, 2022
Whether you’re going back to work, school, running errands, or just looking to take a break, there may come a time when you’ll have to be away from your kids. Adhering to the principles of proper breast milk storage is essential to maximize the nutritional profile and maintain the safety of breast milk. If you’re feeding your baby fresh expressed milk, thawed frozen milk, or a combination of the two, following these steps will allow your baby to receive the benefits of breast milk.
- Before expressing milk, wash your hands thoroughly.
- Read the pump manufacturer’s manual to learn how to properly wash the various parts and bottles. Usually, you should wash with hot, soapy water and air dry.
- If using a multi-user pump in a hospital environment or lactation room provided by your employerWipe down the pump dial, power switch, countertop, and any other areas needed with a disinfecting wipe.
Breast milk storage and freezing
- Use breast milk storage bag or clean, food-grade, BPA-free containers, such as glass, silicone, or plastic, with a seal or a tight-fitting lid.
- Label milk clearly with the date before storage. Rotate milk based on the date it was expressed and stored, using a “first in, first out” rule.
- Do not store milk in the refrigerator door or freezer, to protect the milk from temperature fluctuations.
- If you don’t think you’ll use the milk within 4 days, freeze it right away to help preserve its nutritional quality.
- When freezing:
- Leave about an inch of space in the breastmilk storage bag so it can expand.
- Follow the manufacturer’s instructions on how to place the storage bag (lay flat, upright, etc.) to avoid potential leaks.
- Store milk in 2- to 4-ounce portions to help reduce waste.
- Freshly expressed milk can be preserved:
- At room temperature (77°F or colder) for up to 4 hours.
- Store in the refrigerator for up to 4 days.
- Store in the freezer for about 6 months is best; Up to 12 months is acceptable.
Defrosting and warming breast milk
- Run the breast milk storage bag under warm running water, place in a bowl of warm water, or leave in the refrigerator overnight to thaw.
- Do not microwave breast milk as this will break down nutrients and create hot spots, which can burn your baby’s mouth.
- Shake gently to mix well.
- Milk can also be fed directly from the refrigerator without reheating.
- Leftover milk from a feeding should be used within 2 hours.
For more information, review CDC Guidelines to properly store and prepare breast milk.