How to store breast milk


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Breast milk storage bags inside a fridge

Wondering about the best way to store breast milk after expressing? Or how long you can store breast milk for? Here’s a quick dose of reassurance to help you keep that liquid gold safe after pumping.

Why express breast milk?

There are so many reasons why expressing milk can be essential, from relieving engorgement, to pumping milk for your baby to drink later, not to mention boosting your supply. 

How to express breast milk

You can express milk by hand, but breast pumps are an easier, more elegant solution. Manual and electric pumps can help to simulate let down and make it possible for you to get on with other things while expressing. Call us biased, but hands-free breast pumps are where it’s at. 

What’s the best way to store breast milk?

Once you’ve expressed your breast milk, store it in a sterilised container or a breast milk storage bag. Label it with the date, so you can keep tabs on how old it is.

If you have a lot of milk to store, split it between containers so you avoid wasting any.

Storing breast milk in the fridge

In the fridge, breast milk will keep for up to 8 days, so long as it’s chilled at 4°C or lower. If your fridge is higher than 4°C, aim to use it within 3 days.

Storing breast milk in the freezer

You might be wondering, ‘Can I freeze breast milk?’ And the answer is a big, resounding ‘yes’!

If you have an ice box in your fridge, you should be able to store your breast milk in there safely for up to 2 weeks.

A freezer will extend the life of your breast milk massively. Keep it frozen for up to 6 months at -18°C or lower.

How to defrost breast milk

When you’re ready to defrost your breast milk, either:

  • Move it to the fridge to let it completely thaw out
  • Pop it in a bowl of warm water or hold it under a warm water tap. 

It’s never a good idea to defrost or warm breast milk in a microwave. Once you’ve defrosted your breast milk, use it straight away and don’t refreeze it.

If your milk is too cold straight from the fridge, bring it up to temperature by running it under a warm tap or putting it in a jug of warm water for a few minutes. Voila, baby. Dinner is served!