Storing breast milk

Breast milk can be stored and given to the child later, for example, if you are going to be away from the child or if you want your partner to be involved in the feeding. To prevent bacteria from growing in the stored milk, it is important to handle and store the milk properly.

Ingela Ågren

2 min read

Ingela Ågren

Storing breast milk
Photo:Preggers

It is important to wash your hands carefully before you handle breast milk. All containers, including the pump, collection cup, ice container, and other parts that the milk comes in contact with must be thoroughly washed and sterilized.

Preservation time for breast milk:

Room temperature: Three hours, provided the child will have the milk the same day. It is preferred, however, to refrigerate the milk as soon as possible.

Refrigerated: 72 hours or a maximum of 24 hours if the milk subsequently will be frozen.

Frozen: Six months.

Carefully label the milk with the date it was expressed.

Freshly expressed breast milk should be cooled in the fridge before being added to other chilled milk expressed the same day. Never mix warm and cold milk, to prevent bacteria from growing.

When freezing breast milk, it’s a good idea to freeze it in an ice cube tray. That way, it’s easy to take out only the amount needed when the milk is to be used. The ice cube tray must be washed, dried, and cool before the milk is added. Place the ice cube tray in a freezer bag and seal it around the tray. When the milk has frozen, simply empty the tray into the bag and keep the bag in the freezer. Another tip is to keep the breast milk in ice cube freezer bags or special-purpose breast milk freezer bags, available at pharmacies.

To thaw the breast milk, place it in the fridge, where it can be kept for 24 hours. If you need to use the milk immediately, place it in a warm water bath. Don’t let the breast milk thaw at room temperature and don’t use a microwave as this may impact negatively on the quality of the milk. Leftover heated breast milk cannot be stored and must be discarded.

Ingela Ågren

Ingela Ågren