Tip of the Day
Breast Milk Storage
Breast milk can be a complete source of nutrition for infants until solid foods are introduced around 6 months. It also offers physical, emotional and practical benefits for both mother and baby.
After your milk supply is established, dads and other caregivers can share in feeding with a supplemental bottle of expressed (or pumped) breast milk. Expressed breast milk must be handled and stored properly to remain safe for your baby:
- Wash hands before expressing milk.
- Make sure to read the operating and cleaning instructions for your breast pump.
- Always refrigerate breast milk in clean bottles.
- Store expressed breast milk in the refrigerator and use within 4 days. Otherwise freeze it.
- Breast milk can be frozen:
- In a freezer compartment inside a refrigerator (not the freezer door) for up to two weeks.
- In a refrigerator-freezer with a separate freezer door for three to four months.
- In a separate freezer at temperatures below 0 degrees Fahrenheit for six months or longer.
- Date expressed milk and rotate it - first in, first out.
- Discard milk that's left in the bottle after a feeding because bacteria from the baby's mouth can contaminate the milk in the bottle.
- Store 2 to 4 ounce portions of expressed breast milk to avoid having to throw out unused milk.
- Thaw breast milk in the refrigerator; under warm running water; or in a pan of water on the stove, not the microwave oven.
- Use thawed breast milk within 24 hours and avoid refreezing.
For more information on the benefits of breastfeeding, consult a registered dietitian in your area and visit our Breastfeeding Basics page.
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