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Storing Breast Milk Safely


Make the most of your breastmilk storage by safely pumping and storing your milk.

  • Wash your hands before you pump. Starting with clean hands ensures your milk is free from bacteria that can spoil it more quickly.
  • Store your milk in 1-4 oz amounts to reduce wasted milk when thawing for bottles.
  • You can combine milk pumped at different times as long as all the milk is chilled before combining.
  • Refrigerated milk has more anti-infective properties than frozen milk. Use refrigerated milk before frozen milk if you have it handy.
  • Breastmilk can be stored at room temperature for up to 10 hours, in a refrigerator for up to 8 days, or in a freezer up to 6 months (if your freezer is cold enough to keep ice cream hard).
  • Use hard-sided plastic or glass containers with tight-fitting lids, or freezer bags that are designed for storing breastmilk.
  • You can thaw and heat breastmilk under warm, running tap water. Never boil or microwave breastmilk.
  • Mix or shake bottle before testing the temperature. It is normal for breastmilk to separate when stored.
  • If milk has been frozen and thawed, it can be refrigerated for up to 24 hours for later use. It should not be refrozen.
  • Once heated and offered to your baby, you may offer the remaining breastmilk one more time, but it should be discarded after two hours.


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