Storing your Breast Milk

You should always used a container that has been sterilised for storing your expressed breast milk (EBM)

You can store your expressed breast milk at room temperature for up to four hours.

EBM can be stored in the back of the fridge (at a temperature of 4oC or lower) for up to five days. NB. You should never store your EBM in the fridge door because frequent opening and closing will cause regular temperature fluctuations

EBM can be stored in the ice compartment of a fridge for up to two weeks; however, it can be stored in a freezer for up to six months. If you are using a bottle to freeze your EBM, you will need to leave a one inch gap at the top of the container because your EBM will expand when frozen

When you want to defrost frozen EBM, you should do this in the fridge; then use the EBM immediately. It is not safe to refreeze defrosted breast milk

When your baby breastfeeds they receive your breast milk at your body’s core temperature (around 37oC), so you may want to give your baby your EBM at room temperature or warmed. If you do choose to warm your EBM, you should avoid using a microwave oven because this can result in your EBM being overheated and burn your baby’s mouth and throat

If expressing your breast milk while in hospital, you will need to label the container/bottle with your name and the date and time that you expressed your breast milk. Maternity wards have a fridge that is used specifically for storing expressed milk

When you need to use your frozen breast milk, the easiest way to thaw it is to allow it to defrost in the fridge the night before. If this isn’t feasible, you can stand the bottle/container in hot water to defrost the milk. You should avoid using a microwave oven to warm up your expressed milk because its action will destroy a lot of the protective antibodies (immune properties) that are present in breast milk.

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