Storage of Breast Milk for Healthy Full Term Babies
Fresh Breast Milk:
Fresh breast milk not refrigerated: four hours @ 79°F / 26°C if
warmer, refrigerate in one hour
Fresh breast milk refrigerated: eight days @ 39°F / 4°C or
cooler if uncertain of refrigerator temperature, store for only
Frozen Breast Milk:
Frozen breast milk: two days in small freezer compartment within
Frozen breast milk: three months at 0°F / -20°C in
Frozen breast milk: Up to 12 months @ 0°F / -20°C in deep freeze
Defrosted Breast Milk:
Previously frozen and thawed in the refrigerator (not warmed or
used): 24 hours after thawing, if kept refrigerated.
Previously frozen and quick thawed in bowl of very warm tap
water: four hours
Do not refreeze defrosted breast milk
Breast milk in feeding container: discard after feeding
Suggested Storage Containers:
Glass or clear plastic (polycarbonate or polypropylene) baby
bottles and lids or glass canning jars and lids. Sterilize prior
to each use by any of these methods:
Boiling for 20 minutes in covered pot
Cleaning in dishwasher, top shelf (small pieces
placed in a covered nipple basket)
Medela Quick Clean Micro-Steam Bags
Any quality brand baby bottle sterilizer
Any brand Breast Milk Freezer Bags (Stand upright until frozen
to avoid spillage. Do not use freezer self-sealing bags or
bottle liners for storage)
Mother's Milkmate Storage System (1.800.499.3506 or
Fill container 1/2 to 3/4 full, leaving air for expansion. Label each
container with the date and time, use the oldest milk first. If
freezing, place the container in the rear of your freezer where the
temperature is the coldest. Do not store milk containers on the door of
your freezer—too warm!
Baby Bottles Nipples, Bottle Feeding Tips and Pacifiers
Experiment with types of baby bottles and nipples. Many breastfeeding
babies prefer a bottle nipple which makes them work hard at sucking on
the bottle. At present, the Avent bottle and Avent #1 nipple seem to be
most successful in transitioning your baby to the bottle and back to the
breast without problems. These nipples are silicone and have "no taste"
to confuse your baby. Discuss bottle choices with friends, family and
breastfeeding support groups. Experiment.
Baby's bottles, nipples and pumping equipment need to be "sterilized"
after each use for the entire first year. You may "sterilize" by any of
these following methods:
Washing in your dishwasher. Top shelf with small pieces in
closed nipple baskets, bottles placed upside down (family dishes
may be on the bottom shelf)
Boiling in a large covered pot for 20 minutes
Quick Clean Micro-Steam Bag available from Medela
Any quality brand of baby bottle sterilizer
Remember to offer baby a bottle once a day, every day beginning at 3
weeks of age. Family members, friends or an older sibling are suggested
to teach baby to bottle feed. Fill bottles 1/2 more than baby drinks.
Remember, breast milk will separate when stored, so swirl the milk
gently to mix the fat/cream which will rise to the top, prior to feeing
baby. Elicit the baby's root reflex by tickling your baby's mouth with
the bottle nipple. Keep the nipple filled with liquid to prevent your
baby from swallowing too much air and getting "gas pains". Burp
frequently. Discard any milk remaining in the bottle after feeding is
completed; do not refrigerate and reuse.
Avoid pacifiers until you and your baby are latching without problems.
Until then, use a clean finger, short nail, no nail polish, nail placed
down to baby's tongue for baby to suck between breastfeedings, if
needed. Babies love to suck their father's larger fingers! When choosing
a pacifier, think safety first. Purchase any one-piece pacifier that
cannot come apart with baby's sucking. Wash pacifiers in very hot soapy
water frequently. Pacifiers may be "sterilized" with you baby bottles,
nipples and pumping equipment. If baby enjoys a pacifier, offer at sleep
times. The incidence of SIDS may be reduced with pacifier use.
For more information, call 1.866.CALL.MLH.