The Bradley Method of Natural Childbirth

The Bradley Method of Natural Childbirth

For The Best Birth Possible!

Breastmilk Storage Guidelines 

Here are general guidelines on human milk storage;  the guidelines may change over time.  Don't get too upset about slight variations, either in your milk or the recommendations.  If the milk smells and tastes fine to you, it's probably fine for your baby.  

Here's a link for the RI Breastfeeding Coalition's advice on storage: http://www.ribreastfeeding.org/pumping--storing-breastmilk.html

Here's the one for the CDC:  http://www.cdc.gov/breastfeeding/recommendations/handling_breastmilk.htm

Here's what the most recent edition (8th) of The Womanly Art of Breastfeeding (La Leche League's main book) states: (This is for a healthy full-term infant.)


Where                                                              (Temperature)                           Time
Room Temp                                                     (66-78F, 19-26C)                        4-8 hours
Insulated Cooler Bag                                          (5-39F, -15-4C)                          24 hours
Refrigerator                                                          (39F, 4C)                                 3-8 days
Freezer compartment of refrig.                             (5F, -15C)                                 2 weeks
Freezer comp. of fridge w/sep. doors                    (0F, -18C)                               3-6 months
Deep freezer                                                         (-4F, -20C)                             6-12 months


Some more info on storing milk:  as with any other food, don't mix temperatures.  So, you should NOT add warm milk to cold milk or any liquid milk to frozen.

IF you've determined that some milk you've stored is too old for your little one to drink, don't throw it out.  Use it for first aid:  on a scrape or cut, on an earache, pinkeye, athlete's foot fungus, etc. It is antibacterial and can speed healing. 

If anyone is going to give a baby a bottle, they should use a method called "paced feeding."  It just means that the baby is getting it gradually, with the ability to turn away or refuse it if he's full.  Paced feeding means also that the baby isn't laying down -- in what I call the "drink or drown" position -- instead, he's mostly sitting up.  Whether a bottle has breastmilk, formula or anything else in it, it's better for the baby to be practically upright when drinking.  Think how awkward it is for you to drink semi-reclined!

By the way....in no particular order...
* wash your hands before expressing or handling milk;  
* any clean container works;  
* put the date on the bag or bottle before you fill it; 
* if milk separates into cream and milk, swirl it gently to recombine; 
* don't store milk on fridge or freezer doors (there's too much temperature variation) 
* it's best to store milk towards the back of the refrigerator or freezer
* Follow the basic food storage rule of FIFO, "first in, first out." 
NEVER microwave breastmilk to re-heat.   

More questions?  Come to a LLL meeting!