A Guide to Safely Store and Prepare Breastmilk

A Guide to Safely Store and Prepare Breastmilk

If you’re a breastfeeding mom, at some point or another you will probably have to pump. But how long is breastmilk good for in room temperature, in a cooler, in the fridge and in the freezer? When should you discard? Here is everything you need to know about how to properly and safely store and prepare breastmilk.

Breastmilk Storage Guidelines

guidelines to safely store breastmilk

* These breastmilk storage guidelines are for milk expressed for a full-term healthy baby. If your baby is seriously ill and/or hospitalized, please discuss storage guidelines with your baby’s doctor.

Once you have expressed your breastmilk that you would like to store, you can either keep it in your storage bottle and place it in the refrigerator or you can transfer it to a breastmilk storage bag. Be sure to label it with the date that you expressed the pumped milk and how many ounces are in that storage bag. We recommend storing all different amounts (1-5 ounces) in bags so that you can avoid wasting any breastmilk. This way if your baby wants a little more breastmilk to eat, you don’t have to eat up and waste another 5 ounce bag of breastmilk.

TIP! Always use the oldest expressed breastmilk first so as to avoid any milk expiring. Breastmilk is considered spoiled once it smells bad or tastes sour.

How to Thaw Breastmilk

There are two ways we recommend thawing breastmilk:

  1. Transfer the frozen breastmilk storage bag to the refrigerator to slowly thaw. This takes about 12 hours to thaw. We recommend doing this the night before you need to use the frozen milk for a feeding the next day.
  2. Place the frozen breastmilk storage bag into a warming bowl with warm water. This will thaw the breastmilk much faster.
READ MORE
How to Clean Your Breast Pump and Why It's Important

Do not refreeze once you have thawed the breastmilk!

You will notice that the cream has risen to the top once it is frozen. When you thaw the breastmilk, gently swirl it to combine.

TIP! Never shake breastmilk! Breastmilk is made up of living cells. When you shake breastmilk you are damaging the molecules and breaking apart the proteins. It’s important that the proteins remain together and intact because they help protect the lining of baby’s gut.

How to Warm Breastmilk

If you want to warm breastmilk that is already thawed from the fridge, we recommend getting a bowl and filling it with warm water. Place the bottle or storage bag of breastmilk inside for a few minutes for the milk to warm.

nanobébé warming bowl and bottles

TIP! Always check temperature of milk before giving to baby. Do this by squirting a little out of onto the inside of your arm. That skin is more sensitive and will be able to better tell if the milk is too warm for baby.

FAQs

Can different pumping sessions and/or different pumping dates be combined in one bottle for a feeding? Yes. Just avoid adding warm milk to a container that has previously refrigerated or frozen milk. It’s recommend to cool the new milk before combining.

Can I heat breastmilk in the microwave or on the stove to warm? No. These can create hot spots which can scald your baby’s mouth and overheating breastmilk destroys its nutritional value.

Can’t I use a bottle warmer to heat my breastmilk? That is an option, however, they can potential overheat your breastmilk which causes killing beneficial nutrients. This is why we recommend using a warming bowl instead.

READ MORE
5 Normal Feelings to Have in Your First Month of Breastfeeding

If my baby doesn’t finish the bottle at one feeding, is it okay to save it and give it again later? Yes, but offer it within 1-2 hours. Discard it after that time. Also, do not put the remaining milk back in the fridge. It is not recommended to reheat breastmilk that has already been heated. Keep the remaining milk at room temperature and use within 2 hours.

Breastfeeding and pumping for our babies is an incredible gift to give them. With these guidelines of how to safely store and prepare breastmilk now you can feel confident that you are giving your baby the best food possible.

About the Author /

Nina is The Baby Chick® & CEO of Baby Chick®. She is a baby planner, birth doula, postpartum doula, childbirth educator, newborn care specialist, and a mother. With over eight years of experience, she has supported hundreds of families during their pregnancies, births, and postpartum journeys.

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(quote by @debiandbebi)⁠
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Instagram post 17862171103601373 All of these things make me happy. What would you add to your self care toolbox?⁠
I'm seriously needing some of these things tonight to start a new week. Hoping you mamas get some self care time too! 💕⁠
📷: @hallmark⁠
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Instagram post 18081610903134401 Praying that your toddler let's you get to sleep this weekend. 🙏💤⁠
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(quote: @mommywinetime)⁠
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Instagram post 17853200368708392 SURPRISE! A little shocked, a little tired, and a LOT BLESSED. Congrats, @sarah_lit! ❤️⁠
📷: @sarah_lit⁠
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Instagram post 17864808397574241 Pregnant and hungry all the time? Here are some great ideas to keep in the fridge when the hunger pains kick in! 🤰👍⁠
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Instagram post 18073051357163780 When it comes to clamping the cord, our mottos is "what's the rush?" The blood volume in the placenta and cord at the time of birth is BABY'S blood. It's simply mid-circulation in the placenta at the time of birth. It just makes sense to leave it be and let it finish its job.⁠
No, the blood won't drain out of baby and go backwards into the placenta.⁠
No, your baby is not more likely to get sick from jaundice.⁠
Yes, your baby will still be getting oxygen while they figure out breathing, especially important if they need resuscitation.⁠
Yes, your baby will have better iron levels for the first year of their life.⁠
Look at how thick and engorged this cord still is at 4 and 18 minutes after baby was born. Just imagine how much blood baby would have lost if the cord had been clamped immediately, or at 60 seconds, 90 seconds, or 3 minutes! The placenta was expelled immediately before the 18 minute photo was taken. The pulse in the cord could still be felt even AFTER THE PLACENTA HAD BEEN DELIVERED! The cord was finally clamped and cut more than an hour after birth at 73 minutes. ❤️⁠
📷: @lawrenrosephotography⁠
Informative post and words by @bundleborn⁠
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Instagram post 17852665306696124 With the holiday season upon us and moms trying to make everything magical for their families, remember to stop and take a moment to take care of you. ❤️ Have a hot cup of coffee, a long warm shower and some alone time. Communicate this with your partner not as a wish but as a necessity. We must take the time to take care of ourselves to better take care of them. 💕⁠
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Instagram post 17990835490280335 I totally felt this way when I was pregnant. And kinda feel this way after all that turkey. 🤣🦃 Happy turkey day to all you expecting mamas!!⁠
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Instagram post 18094211479105476 I spy with my little eye the cutest turkey ever. 😍 Happy Thanksgiving, everybody! Hope it's filled with love, laughter, and cuteness like this. ❤️⁠
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Instagram post 17852562805720320 Loneliness is a real thing in new motherhood and I want to be sure we talk about this. It's okay to say, "I feel lonely." We normalize one another's experiences when we share the reality of our journey. It can be so isolating when we bring our small human home and our lives revolve around his/her care. We feel detached from the outside world. The monotony of new motherhood can be heavy.⁠
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Here are some tips to combat isolation:⁠
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1️⃣ Get outside when possible.⁠
2️⃣ Video chat with friends/family.⁠
3️⃣ Join a virtual group.⁠
4️⃣ Invite someone to come over.⁠
5️⃣ Find a local mom's group.⁠
6️⃣ Listen to the radio or a podcast (it's interesting how this can make us feel connected with others)⁠
7️⃣ Run an errand--even grabbing a coffee via drive-thru can feel good.⁠
8️⃣ Get to know your neighbors.⁠
What would you add to the list?⁠
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Instagram post 17867282176536875 ⁠For the week of Thanksgiving (and longer if you can!) let's focus on what we DO have instead of what we lack. The more we express gratitude and appreciate our blessings the more we recognize all of our blessings and everything we should be thankful for. 💕⁠
📷: @hallmark⁠
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Instagram post 17855722339639264 ✈️ Tips to Survive a Plane Ride with Kids ✈️⁠
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Flying on a plane with your little one for the first time can be terrifying. Are they going to cry the whole time? How will they handle the airport, the turbulence and the landing? Well we have some tips that will help prepare you for your flight with your kids. Here's what to do to have a more enjoyable experience 😊 {Link in bio!}⁠
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