Breast Milk Storage Guidelines

When a mother is breastfeeding her child, there may be occasions when she wishes to express and store her milk. Reasons for this often include returning to work, but wanting the baby to continue reaping the benefits of the breast milk or allowing somebody else to take a turn at feeding the baby.

If you choose to express milk, then it is very important to make sure that you store the milk correctly. Here are some breast milk storage guidelines for breast milk expression and storage.

Hand Expression of Breast Milk

There are two main methods of expressing milk; by hand or by using a pump. Many women find that expressing milk by hand is simpler than expressing using a pump and saves on the cost of the additional equipment. However, other women find it difficult to learn hand expression techniques and prefer to use a pump.

To learn these breastfeeding techniques, it can be useful to get some guidance from a trained breastfeeding adviser. Using a breast pump can also take some practice to get right. Whichever method you choose, it is important to make sure you are comfortable and that you have plenty of time. A helpful tip is to drink a glass of water while you are expressing, as this encourages milk flow.

Equipment Needed for Breast Milk Expression

Before you get started with breast milk expression and storage, it is important to have all the right equipment ready.

  • A breast pump (optional).
  • Bottles and teats.
  • Sterilizing fluid or tablets for cleaning the equipment.
  • A sterilizing unit.
  • Storage bags, such as lansinoh breast milk storage bags, or breast milk storage containers.
  • Labels for dating bags or containers and a pen.

Refrigeration &
General Breast Milk Storage Guidelines

To make sure you keep your baby healthy and that the milk is safe to drink, it is important to use the following guidelines:

  • Make sure the breast milk is in sterilized, airtight breast milk storage containers or bags.
  • Label the containers with the date the milk was expressed and put in the refrigerator.
  • Store the breast milk at 4°C or lower.
  • Store the breast milk for no longer than five days. If you haven't used the milk within five days, you need to discard the breast milk.
  • If your refrigerator has an ice compartment section, then you can store the milk there for up to two weeks.

Breast Milk Freezer Storage

Another way to store breast milk is in the freezer. Breast milk storage guidelines differ slightly to storing breast milk in a refrigerator.

  • Store the milk in an appropriate container that has been sterilized and is airtight.
  • Breast milk can be stored for up to six months in a freezer and thrown away if not used by this time.
  • Dating labels are helpful in making sure you do not keep it too long.
  • Defrost the milk in a refrigerator and then use straight away.
  • Once breast milk has defrosted, do not refreeze.

Medela Pump and Save Breast Milk Bags, 50 Count

Breastfeeding has many benefits for both the baby and mother. Expressing and storing breast milk is an excellent option for mother's who would like a night out. It also allows her partner to take a turn in feeding the baby.

If you do choose to express milk, then it is essential to follow these breast milk storage guidelines.

How To Store your Breast Milk

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* Exact storage temperatures for breast milk storage safety. 

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