Tips for Storing Your Breast Milk
Whether you are an exclusive pumper or you only pump occasionally, it’s important to know the do’s and don’ts of properly storing, freezing, and thawing your breast milk.
What do I need to know about storing my breast milk?
Here we’ll answer some frequently asked question as well as offer a few tips and tricks for storing and keeping your breastmilk safe.
What container should I use?
Hard BPA-free plastic bottles or glass bottles with a leak proof lid work really well. Breast milk freezer bags are great if you’re travelling or have limited storage space available. Ameda Store n’ Pour bags are an excellent option and compatible with all Ameda kits or any brand breast pump. These allow you to pump directly into the bag, write the date, and pop it into your fridge or freezer for later use.
Tip: Avoid thin bottle liners. These are meant to be used as feeding bags, but not for freezing milk. The liners will often split when frozen.
How much breast milk should I store?
Divide your milk into the smallest amounts your baby might take (e.g. snack size). You can always add milk if needed. Never save leftover milk after a feeding, when your baby takes a bottle, their saliva mixes with the milk which makes it unusable for future feedings. Storing smaller portions will reduce the possibility of having to discard any breast milk.
How long can I store my breast milk?
If you follow the times on the chart below, you can keep your milk at room temperature, refrigerate it, then freeze it. Once it is frozen and thawed you can’t refreeze it.
*Storage times may vary for preterm or sick babies. Sources: Jones, F. , Best Practice for Expressing, Storing and Handling Human Milk in Hospitals, Homes and Child Care Settings. Raleigh, NC: Human Milk Banking Association of North America, 2011; Mohrbacher, N. Breastfeeding Answers Made Simple: A Guide for Helping Mothers. Amarillo, TX: Hale Publishing, 2010.
Managing Milk Storage Time Tips
• Write the date and time on your milk container with a sticky label or non-toxic marker. Add your baby’s name if they are in daycare or in the hospital.
• You can combine milk pumped at different times. When combining milk from different days, write the date of the oldest milk on the container.
• If you plan to use your milk within 8 days, you can keep it in the fridge. Otherwise, freeze it in the coldest part of the freezer. Avoid storing in the door, the deeper into the freezer the better.
• Fresh milk can be added to cooled milk. If you are using frozen milk, you can add to it but be sure it’s cooled first and there is less fresh than frozen.
Looking for a way to make milk storage easier? Try the Ameda Store n’ Pour Freezer Bags.
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