How long can breast milk be stored and should it be stored in
a bag or in a bottle RTU?
I'm assuming that "RTU" means "ready to use." Breastmilk can be
safely stored in glass, hard plastic bottles, plastic freezer
bags, or polyethylene milk storage bags especially designed for
storing breast milk.
You may want
to freeze your milk in ice cube trays. Clean the tray first with
hot soapy water and air dry. Each cube is about an ounce, so you
can pop out as many ounces as you want and put them into freezer
bags. They are great to have on hand for snack or cereal feedings
when you just need an extra ounce or two.
is possible, give your baby fresh milk that has been refrigerated,
not frozen. Freezing kills some of the live cells and antibodies
in human milk, but not all of them. Since formula doesn't have
any of these anti-infective properties to begin with, frozen milk
is still better for him than formula. If you are planning to use
the milk within eight days, refrigerate it rather than freezing
milk is a living substance, its antibacterial properties help
it stay fresh longer than formula. How long you can store it depends
on the temperature.
expressed milk can be stored at room temperature for up to ten
hours. Colostrum or milk expressed within one week of delivery
can be stored for twelve hours at room temperature. However,
whenever possible, milk should be placed in the refrigerator
soon after expressing.
milk can be kept in the refrigerator for up to eight days. Store
it toward the back.
milk can be stored in a cooler with icepacks for up to 24 hours.
milk can be placed in a freezer compartment inside a fridge
for up to 2 weeks. (These are usually only found in older type
milk can be kept in a self-contained freezer compartment for
3-6 months, depending on how often the door is opened. Store
it toward the back.
- Fresh milk
can be stored in a separate chest type deep freeze for 6-12
- Milk that
has been frozen and thawed can be kept in the fridge for 24
hours. Thawed milk should not be refrozen.
these guidelines, remember that fresh milk which has been stored
at room temperature or in a cooler before being placed in the
fridge or freezer may not keep as long. That's why you should
always place milk in the fridge as soon as possible after expressing
guidelines on storing breastmilk have been revised over the last
few years. There is still a lot of old information out there,
so don't be surprised if the guidelines above tell you something
different from what you have read in books or seen in a pamphlet
that you picked up in your doctor's office.
I am going to be storing some breastmilk for times that I might
not be at home so that my son's father might be able to offer
him a bottle. I am using the new Avent Bottle... And the question
that I have is how long can you store breastmilk in the refrigerator
and or freezer... Thank you in advance for your help.
You'll find that there is some conflicting information out there
about storing breastmilk. The official guidelines keep changing
every few years, and there is still a lot of outdated information
used to say that you could store milk in the fridge for 24 hours,
then they said 48 hours, then 72 hours, and now they say that
it will safely keep for up to 8 days. They used to think that
because human milk wasn't pasteurized like cow's milk, then it
would spoil faster than formula. Now we know that because of the
live cells and antibodies in human milk that limit the growth
of bacteria, it actually stays fresh much longer than cow's milk
guidelines are this: fresh milk will keep in the fridge up to
8 days, and frozen milk will keep 3-4 months in a regular freezer
compartment with a separate door, and in a chest type deep freezer,
fresh milk when you can, because freezing the milk will kill some
of the live cells. Frozen breastmilk is still better than formula,
because freezing doesn't kill all the cells, and formula doesn't
have any to begin with.
You can find
out lots more details about storing milk in my article "Collecting
and Storing Breastmilk."
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