Adhering to recommended storage and prepping methods can help to keep expressed breast milk safe and healthy for the baby. These are general recommendations for stashing human milk at various temperatures. Several factors influence how long breastmilk can be safely stored. Milk quantity, room temperature when milk is expressed, thermal fluctuations in the fridge or freezer, and environmental cleanliness are all factors to consider.
Before handling breast milk:
- Wash your hands thoroughly with soap and water before expressing or dealing with breast milk. If soap and water are unavailable, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol.
- Breast milk can be expressed by hand or with a manual or electronic pump.
- If you’re using a pump, make sure the pump kit and tubes are clean. Replace mouldy tubing as soon as possible.
- If you’re using a shared pump, use a disinfectant wipe to clean the pump dials, power switch, and countertop.
Storage of breast milk after expressing:
- To store expressed breast milk, use the best milk storage bags or hygienic jars. Make certain that the canisters are made of plastic or glass and that the lids are securely fastened.
- Bottles with the recycle emblem number 7, which implies that the jar may be made of BPA-containing plastic, should be avoided.
- Never store breast milk in non-breast milk-specific single-use plastic bottle liners or plastic bags.
- Milk that has been newly expressed or pumped can be stored as follows:
– For a maximum of 4 hours at room temperature.
– Refrigerate for up to four days.
– Freeze for at least 6 months; up to a year is acceptable. Although freezing keeps food safe nearly indefinitely, it is important to follow recommended storage times for the best quality.
- Label the breast milk clearly with the date it was expressed.
- Breast milk should not be stored in the fridge or freezer door. This will safeguard the breast milk from temperature swings caused by the door opening and closing.
- If you do not anticipate using newly expressed breast milk within four days, freeze it immediately. This will aid in preserving the integrity of the breast milk.
- If you’re delivering breast milk to a child caregiver, make sure the container is clearly labelled with the child’s name. Discuss any additional requirements for labelling and storing breast milk with your child care provider.
- When travelling, breast milk can be stashed in a climate controlled cooler with frozen ice bundles for up to 24 hours. When you arrive at your destination, use the milk immediately, store it in the fridge, or freeze it.
- When freezing breast milk
– keep small amounts in the freezer to avoid wasting milk that may not be finished. 2 to 4 ounces, or the quantity offered at one feeding, should be stored.
– And since breast milk expands as it freezes, leave about an inch or two of room at the top of the container.
To protect your breast milk from contamination, carefully clean, sanitise, and store pump equipment, baby bottles, as well as other feeding items.