When storing breast milk for home use, make sure that your hands are clean before expressing (pumping).
- Use 2 to 3 bottles that have been washed, rinsed well and sterilised. It should have a cap that fits snugly, such as a screw cap or use breastmilk storage bags.
- Always put a date on the milk’s container before freezing breast milk.
- Store breast milk in the back of the fridge as this is the coolest place (not in the fridge door) – must be used within 3 – 5 days and thrown out if not used within this time frame
Fresh breast milk can be kept at room temperature for up to 8 hours
Frozen milk can be kept:
- For 2 weeks inside the freezer compartment.
- For up to 3 or 4 months inside a separate door refrigerator or freezer.
- For 6 months inside a deep freezer at constant 0 degrees.
Frozen and thawed milk can be refrigerated for up to 9 hours, but it should not be refrozen.
Don’t heat breast milk bottles in a microwave because overheating destroys the milk’s beneficial properties and heat can burn your baby. In addition, breast milk bottles may explode if forgotten in the microwave too long.
Thawing And Using Breast Milk
The two best ways to thaw frozen breast milk are:
- By putting it in the refrigerator
- By swirling it in a bowl of warm water
When leaving breast milk with a child care provider, make sure you label the container with your child’s name and the date.
- Do not refreeze breast milk once it has been thawed.
- Do not save breast milk from a bottle that has been used.
- Never add fresh milk to frozen breast milk.