Have breast milk to store? Wondering what to do with it?!! We have compiled the most up to date research and information to make storing, freezing and feeding your breast milk easy peasy!
Storing, Freezing and Feeding Breast Milk – What you Need to Know!
Storing, feeding and feeding breast milk sounds easy enough, right? It is! You just have to follow a few simple rules to make sure you are doing it safely! Our favorite resource for the most up to date information is cdc.gov. We’ve taken their best tips and broken it down for you here!!
Storing Fresh Breast Milk
- Follow the 4-4-6 Rule when storing freshly expressed breast milk!
- Good for 4 Hours at Room Temp (77° F or colder)
- Good for 4 Days in the Fridge (40° F or colder)
- Good for 6 months in the Freezer (up to 12 months is acceptable)
- Store in small increments (1-3 oz) to prevent wasting breast milk!
- Store in BPA free storage bags or bottles.
- Label your milk with the date it was expressed and number of ounces.
- Lay your breast milk storage bags flat when freezing. This will result in a nice, thin bag of frozen breast milk that is easy to store in your freezer!
Storing Thawed or Previously Frozen Breast Milk
- Follow the 2-1-0 Rule for thawed breast milk! (Times listed are from the time that the breast milk was completely thawed, not the time it was removed it from the freezer!)
- Up to 2 hours at Room Temp (77° F or colder)
- UP to 1 Day (24 hours) in the Fridge (40° F or colder)
- 0 time back in the Freezer (never refreeze milk once it has been thawed!)
- Is baby refusing thawed breast milk? Does your thawed breast milk smell or taste soapy? -> It could have high levels of lipase, which breaks down more quickly at colder temperatures. Try scalding your breast milk before freezing it to eliminate the lipase. (We recommend reaching out to an IBCLC to come up with plan that will work for you!)
Thawing Frozen Breast Milk
- There are 3 ways you can safely thaw frozen breast milk!
- In the fridge over 8-12 hours.
- In a container of warm water.
- Under lukewarm running water.
- Do not microwave breastmilk! It destroys the nutrients and can cause hot spots in the milk.
- It is safe to use a bottle warmer to thaw milk!
- Only thaw what you know you will use within the next 24 hours. Thawed milk that is not used within 24 hours should be thrown away -> SAD!!!!
Feeding Breast Milk to your Baby
- Breast milk can be served warm, room temperature or cold!
- Test the milk temperature on your inner wrist before feeding to make sure it’s not too hot!
- Breast milk that is leftover after a feeding can be fed within 2 hours of finishing the bottle. It’s best to place it back in the fridge but ok if left at room temp.
What if I have too much stored breast milk?
- Use a deep freezer! Breast milk is good for up to 12 months in a deep freezer!
- Donate! Many milk banks make it easy to donate stored breast milk.
- Use extra milk in baby’s bath (it’s great for the skin!).
The more you pump, save, store, freeze, thaw and feed your breast milk, the easier it gets! And remember, make sure to share these tips with family members and caregivers who will be feeding baby. Better yet, print this post and tape it to the fridge!