Tips for storing breast milk
Prior to collecting:
- Hands and pump should be washed with soap and hot water, then rinsed well.
- You need to use special storage bags or containers meant for collecting breast milk.
- Containers should be clean and can be closed with airtight seals.
- You might want to use special storage bags. These are not the same as bottle liner bags, and those should not be used for storing breast milk
How to store:
- Store in 2 or 4 ounce portions to prevent wasting milk.
- Keep each day's milk collection separate. But you can combine collections from a single day to get the amount you want in a container. Just make sure you cool newly collected milk 1 hour before adding to previously collected milk.
- Leave a 1 inch space at the top of the container when freezing.
- Do not keep and reuse leftover milk that has been heated for baby's feeding.
- Put containers at the back of the fridge or freezer where it is the coldest.
- Label the container with the date the breast milk was collected.
- After the storage time has passed, throw the milk away.
- Remember to always use the milk with the oldest date first.
- Swirl milk in container to mix after it has been thawed and warmed.
These are general storage guidelines. Talk to a TMC lactation consultant, doctor or nurse for the best storage recommendations for your baby.
Human milk storage guidelines
|Type of breastmilk||Room temperature
77°F or colder (25°C)
0°F or colder (-18°C)
|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 to 2 hours||Up to 1 day (24 hours)||Never refreeze human milk after it has been thawed.|
|Left over from a feeding (baby did not finish the bottle)||Use within 2 hours after the baby is finished feeding||Use within 2 hours||Use within 2 hours|
Adapted from "ABM Clinical Protocol #8: Human Milk Storage Information for Home Use for Full-Term Infants," Revised 2017.