We know that as a busy mom, you may not be able to stay home with your baby all day. Jobs and other commitments make it necessary to express and store breast milk for use while away from your little ones. So as a handy reminder, we’ve compiled a list of 10 tips and tricks for storing breast milk well, to ensure the best quality milk for your baby.
1. Room temperature storage
Breast milk can be safely stored in sterilized containers and kept at room temperature which is between 66 and 78 degrees Fahrenheit (or 18 – 25 deg C) for between 4-6 hours. This is an acceptable alternative when you are only going to be gone for a few hours.
2. Insulated cooling bag storage
Expressed breast milk may be stored in an insulated cooler bag for up to 24 hours. Store expressed milk in sterilized containers and surrounded by ice packs inside the zipped cooler bag. The temperature should not rise above 39 degrees Fahrenheit (or 3 deg C).
3. Refrigerator method
Place your expressed breast milk in sterilized containers. Store it at the back part of the refrigerator which is kept at a maximum of 39 degrees F (3 deg C). While this method of storage is optimal for keeping breastmilk fresh for 72 hours, it is still acceptable to store breast milk in this manner for up to 8 days.
4. Refrigerator freezer at 5 degrees F.
You can also store breast milk in the freezer compartment of your refrigerator. The recommended temperature is at around 5 degrees F. The maximum recommended storage time for this method is up to 2 weeks. Although the breast milk is still safe after this time, the quality begins to deteriorate as fats break down.
5. Refrigerator freezer at 0 degrees F.
Breastmilk can be safely stored in refrigerator freezers at 0 degrees F for longer periods of time. When the temperature is kept at 0 degrees F., the milk may be stored for periods of between 3 and 6 months.
6. Deep Freeze method
You can store breast milk in a deep freezer which is kept at minus 4 degrees Fahrenheit for between 6 and 12 months. It is recommended that you express the milk into sterilized containers and chill it immediately afterwards. The milk may be chilled in the refrigerator for up to 8 days, and then frozen in the deep freezer.
7. Storing milk in plastic containers
Plastic bottles must be of the right type to avoid potential contamination of the milk from chemical processing of the products. Polypropylene bottles marked with the number 5 or which display the letters PP are the safest option.
8. Glass bottle storage
Using glass bottles which have been thoroughly cleaned with hot soapy water and air dried help to eliminate the possibility of chemical contamination. Whether you are using glass or plastic bottles, leave a minimum of 1 inch of head space at the top for expansion of the milk as it freezes.
9. Plastic freezer bag storage
You can purchase plastic freezer bags which are designed specifically for the storage of breast milk. These bags are considered safe and come in different sizes. It is recommended that you store the breast milk in the amounts that you baby will eat in one feeding to cut down on waste.
10. Adding fresh milk to previously frozen supplies
It is acceptable to add newly expressed milk to previously frozen bags or bottles. Just follow the guidelines for expressing it under sanitary conditions with clean hands and clean capturing containers. The new milk should be chilled in the refrigerator or in a cooling bag before it is added to the frozen milk container.
Whether you are just away for a few hours or for an extended period of time, you’ll have peace of mind in knowing that you will still be able to make sure that your baby gets the very best form of natural nutrition possible.
Below is the chart for easy reference.