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    Proper Storage and Preparation of Breast Milk

    Learn about the guidelines for proper storage and preparation of human milk.

    Proper Storage and Preparation of Breast Milk

    Following recommended storage and preparation techniques can maintain the safety and quality of expressed breast milk for the baby’s health.

    These are general guidelines for storing human milk at different temperatures. Various factors affect how long human milk can be stored safely. Such factors include milk volume, room temperature when milk is expressed, temperature fluctuations in the refrigerator and freezer, and cleanliness of the environment.

    Human Milk Storage Guidelines

    Human Milk Storage Guidelines

    Storage Location and Temperatures

    Type of Breast Milk Countertop

    77°F (25°C) or colder

    (room temperature) Refrigerator

    40°F (4°C) Freezer 0°F (-18°C) or colder

    Freshly Expressed or Pumped Up to 4 Hours Up to 4 Days Within 6 months is best

    Up to 12 months is acceptable

    Thawed, Previously Frozen 1–2 Hours Up to 1 Day

    (24 hours) NEVER refreeze human milk

    after it has been thawed

    Leftover from a Feeding

    (baby did not finish the bottle) Use within 2 hours after the baby is finished feeding

    Download this PDF which can be printed on magnets through a printing service.

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    Safe Storage of Expressed Breast Milk

    Before expressing or handling breast milk:

    Wash your hands well with soap and water. If soap and water are not available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol.

    Mothers can express breast milk by hand or with a manual or electric pump.

    If using a pump, inspect the pump kit and tubing to make sure it is clean. Discard and replace moldy tubing immediately.

    If using a shared pump, clean pump dials, power switch, and countertop with a disinfectant wipe.

    Storing breast milk after expressing:

    Do you have other questions, such as where to store breast milk at work, and what to do when the power goes out?

    Visit Frequently Asked Questions.

    Use breast milk storage bags or clean, food-grade containers to store expressed breast milk. Make sure the containers are made of glass or plastic and have tight fitting lids.

    Avoid bottles with the recycle symbol number 7, which indicates that the container may be made of a BPA-containing plastic.

    Never store breast milk in disposable bottle liners or plastic bags that are not intended for storing breast milk.

    Freshly expressed or pumped milk can be stored:

    At room temperature (77°F or colder) for up to 4 hours.

    In the refrigerator for up to 4 days.

    In the freezer for about 6 months is best; up to 12 months is acceptable. Although freezing keeps food safe almost indefinitely, recommended storage times are important to follow for best quality.

    Storage tips:

    Clearly label the breast milk with the date it was expressed.

    Do not store breast milk in the door of the refrigerator or freezer. This will help protect the breast milk from temperature changes from the door opening and closing.

    If you don’t think you will use freshly expressed breast milk within 4 days, freeze it right away. This will help to protect the quality of the breast milk.

    When freezing breast milk:

    Store small amounts to avoid wasting milk that might not be finished. Store in 2 to 4 ounces or the amount offered at one feeding.

    Leave about one inch of space at the top of the container because breast milk expands as it freezes.

    If you deliver breast milk to a child care provider, clearly label the container with the child’s name. Talk to your child care provider about any other requirements for labeling and storing breast milk.

    Breast milk can be stored in an insulated cooler with frozen ice packs for up to 24 hours when you are traveling. At your destination, use the milk right away, store it in the refrigerator, or freeze it.

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    Safe Thawing of Breast Milk

    Always thaw the oldest breast milk first. Remember first in, first out. Over time, the quality of breast milk can decrease.

    There are several ways to thaw your breast milk:

    In the refrigerator overnight.

    Set in a container of warm or lukewarm water.

    Under lukewarm running water.

    Never thaw or heat breast milk in a microwave. Microwaving can destroy nutrients in breast milk and create hot spots, which can burn a baby’s mouth.

    Source : www.cdc.gov

    Breast Milk Storage Guidelines: How Long Can Breast Milk Stay Out & in the Fridge?

    Breast Milk Storage Guidelines

    by Amanda Krupa

    Medically Reviewed by Micah Resnick, M.D., F.A.A.P.  on July 30, 2021


    Find out how to safely store breast milk at room temperature, in the fridge and in the freezer, plus how long you can safely keep it.


    Breast milk storage guidelines

    How long does breast milk last at room temperature?

    How long does breast milk last in the fridge?

    How long does breast milk last in the freezer?

    How should you thaw frozen breast milk?

    Breast milk storage for NICU and hospitalized babies

    How to tell if you shouldn’t use stored breast milk

    If you’re a pumping mama, spilt milk can give you plenty to cry about. It takes a Herculean effort to follow safe storage rules when half asleep after a 3 a.m. pumping session or running late for a 10 a.m. meeting. But, little details matter. Shortchanging and cutting corners could make your baby very sick.

    Here are the basics when it comes to storing your liquid gold safely.

    Breast milk storage guidelines

    The guidelines for storing and preparing breast milk for healthy, full-term babies depend on a few factors: the type of breast milk, the storage location and the temperature. If all of this information (see chart below) is hard for you to remember on the fly, think “rule of fours”: For freshly pumped breast milk, you can safely give it to baby for up to four hours at room temperature and up to four days in the refrigerator.

    To prevent your breast milk from going to waste, store it in small batches; 2 to 4 ounces (59.1 to 118.2 milliliters) is recommended. Any remaining breast milk left in a bottle after your baby is finished with a feeding should be used within two hours, or, if quickly refrigerated, used for the next feeding.

    You can always thaw an extra container if needed — and you have some options in terms of container type:

    Sterile glass or hard BPA-free plastic bottles with tight-fitting lids. Do not use containers with the recycle number 3 or 7, which may contain Bisphenol A (BPA).Breast milk storage bags made for freezing human milk. Do not use disposable bottle liners or other plastic bags to store breast milk; they are too thin and could sprout a leak. In addition, there is considerably higher fat loss when milk is stored in these polyethylene bags.

    Note: Breast pumps and supplies that assist lactation qualify as tax-deductible breastfeeding gear. The IRS doesn’t provide a specific list of approved items beyond the pump itself, but if the product was used for a medical reason (e.g., cream on your cracked nipples), it will likely qualify as a tax-deductible item. Also keep track of what you spend and check your insurance policy to see if your plan covers breastfeeding supplies, such as storage bags, in addition to breast pumps.

    Continue Reading Below

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    How long does breast milk last at room temperature?

    The length of time breast milk can last at room temperature depends on its type.

    Freshly pumped breast milk can be stored at room temperature (no warmer than 77° F) for up to four hours if it’s not in direct sunlight or close to other sources of heat.Thawed, previously frozen breast milk can stay at room temperature for one to two hours. Use it or lose it!

    If your baby has some leftovers after a feeding and didn’t finish the bottle, it must be used within two hours. After this time, you must discard it. Too many germs!

    Storing breast milk in smaller quantities so that your baby uses the full portion at each feeding can help reduce waste.

    How long does breast milk last in the fridge?

    The amount of time breast milk can stay in the fridge depends on the type:

    Freshly pumped breast milk can be stored in the back of the refrigerator (39° F or 4° C) for up to four days — just don’t forget it’s back there.Thawed, previously frozen breast milk can stay in the refrigerator for 24 hours before you have to throw it out. (No mom wants that!) So, only take out what you think your little one will need for a day. Never refreeze breast milk after it has been thawed.

    Again, if your baby has some leftovers after the feeding, it must be used within two hours.

    When warming breast milk from the fridge, place the bottle in a bowl of warm water or run it under warm water. Microwaving breast milk is not safe.

    Breast milk naturally separates into a milk layer and a cream top when it is stored. It looks a little funky, but it’s normal and is safe to swirl prior to feeding.

    How long does breast milk last in the freezer?

    You can store breast milk in a refrigerator with a freezer that has a separate door (0°F or −18°C) for up to 12 months, although using it within six months is preferable.

    The earlier you use up your breast milk, the better, because longer storage can diminish the amount of vitamin C in it. The temperature of your freezer should be around 0° F. Again, like the fridge, it’s best to store it in the back of the freezer furthest away from the door where temperatures are most consistent.

    Source : www.whattoexpect.com

    Breast milk storage: Do's and don'ts

    Learn how to safely store expressed breast milk, what containers to use and how long breast milk will keep.

    Source : www.mayoclinic.org

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