The Do's and Dont's of Breast Milk Storage (and tips!)

Pumping is an amazing way to stock up on breast milk be it for work, for the sake of mama's me-time and even for bonding moments that Daddy or other family members can have with baby. But is storing your concern? Breast milk storage is without a doubt pure science in its true nature, so read on to learn how to save every ounce of that liquid gold making that pump session all its worth 🙌🏻

Proper storage and preparation of expressed breast milk is crucial to preserve the quality of the milk for baby’s consumption. However, a lot of parents encounter so much confusion surrounding this area as there are two types of milk to store :

  1. Fresh milk
  2. Thawed milk

Then there’s the question of how long and what temperature suits best for these two types of milk

  1. Refrigerator
  2. Freezer or
  3. Deep freezer

Which goes where, when and how? Confusing? Let’s take a glance at the breast milk storage guideline to understand the proper way of storing and ensuring breast milk is at it’s freshest.

*photo courtesy of: The Bump

The above is a general guideline for storing breast milk at varying temperatures. However, there are several variables which play a role in how safe the breast milk is even if its stored properly. Factors can range from milk quantity, cleanliness and temperature of environment where milk was expressed as well as temperature fluctuations in both fridge and freezer.

Therefore, here are some useful tips on storing the best milk for your baby :

Do’s & Don’t’s of Breastmilk Storage

  • On The Counter

- Always avoid direct sunlight. Store breast milk at the coolest location in your home. High temperatures could activate bacteria growth so avoid this at all cost.
  • In A Cooler Bag

    - 24 hours is the safest maximum amount of time for you to store your breast milk in the cooler bag. Always keep ice packs along with the milk in the bag and only open the cooler bag until its ready for use.
    • In The Fridge

      - Best location to store breast milk is in the center of the fridge, as far back as possible.

      • In The Freezer

        - Safest location to store breast milk is in the back of the freezer, where temperatures are more stable. Rule of thumb - FIRST IN, FIRST OUT. Always use the oldest milk first.

        Storing Expressed Breast Milk:

        1. Make sure breast milk storage bags or food-grade containers are clean and are made of either glass or plastic with air-tight lids/zips.
        2. Only use storage bags that are intended for storing breast milk to protect and keep breast milk fresh and healthy.

        Storage Tips

        1. Label, label, label!

        Always remember to clearly label the storage bag with the date it was expressed. And since its your journey, why not make it special and label the bags with little notes such as milestones, how you were feeling or little affirmations for yourself (emoji) on the storage bag. Get Boss Daddy to write a little note of love too 💕

        2. Doors are a no-no.

        Never store breast milk in the refrigerator door or freezer. This is where most temperature fluctuations occur.

        3. Pop it straight into the freezer.

        If you feel the breast milk won’t be used within 4 days. This will help retain the quality of the expressed breast milk.

        4. Travelling

        If you're travelling, breast milk can also be stored in an insulated cooler with ice packs. Depending on the quality of the insulated cooler, storage can be kept safe for up to 24 hours. Upon arrival, always store the milk in the refrigerator or freezer if milk is not to be used straight away.

        Freezing Tips

        1. To avoid wasting precious milk, try storing smaller amounts according to how much or what is required per feed for your child to drink. So if some of you face an oversupply, don’t dump all that milk in one big storage bag, mama! Practice this tip 👍🏻
        2. Because breast milk expands as it freezes, always leave about an inch of space at the lid/zip.

        *IMPORTANT KEY NOTES TO ALWAYS REMEMBER*

        Before you begin your pump session, always make sure your hands or those that are handling your pumps are clean.

        Inspect your pump and thoroughly make sure that the tubing is clean. Milk residue can cause mouldiness therefore affecting the quality of your expressed milk. Replace with new tubing immediately if mouldy.

        I hope this article helps clarify how best to properly store your expressed breast milk, Mamas. Cause every Mama wants a peace of mind knowing that their baby will be fed the best milk when you’re at work, or just simply enjoying some me-time to yourself.

        Any concerns, join our 24/7 Telegram Mommy Hotline as we are constantly helping new mothers navigate this very confusing phase of their life. Lets support one another through knowledge sharing and remember Boss Mamas, you’ve got this!  Save that liquid gold! And save it good! 🍼💪🏻⭐

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