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StorkNet > StorkNet Site Map > Breastfeeding > Breastfeeding Articles

Storing Breast Milk
By Jane Squires, RN, IBCLC

Janes SquiresQ. I am curious as to how storing breast milk works. How long can breast milk be stored in the freezer and what is the best equipment to use for storage?

A. Recommendations for storage of Breastmilk:
Choose pump suitable for need.

Short term or occasional use:
Hand expression
Hand cylinder pump
Battery pump (not usually very good)
Inexpensive electric pump

Long term or frequent use:
Hospital grade electric pump rental/purchase.

Wash hands before expressing
Store in any clean container ( for premature infants may need sterile containers)
Baby bottles
Special breastmilk storage bags

Date the container and time of expression--Use oldest first
Freeze at 0 degrees fahrenheit for up to 6 months. (Place in back of freezer, not in door compartment, where temperature fluctuates)

Thaw in pan of cool water or overnight in refrigerator.
May warm in tepid water if desired before feeding.
DO NOT MICROWAVE: Danger of scalding infant and losing nutrients.
Thawed milk may be stored in Refrigerator for up to 24 hours.
Discard milk left over in bottle after a feeding.

Wash breast pump parts in hot soapy water, rinse well and allow to air dry or wash in dishwasher.

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