Breast Milk Storage: A Mommy's Guide to Keeping Your Baby's Nourishment Fresh

Proper storage of breast milk is crucial for preserving its nutritional value and ensuring its safety for your baby. Here's a comprehensive guide on how to store breast milk effectively:

  • Cool Breast Milk Promptly: After expressing or pumping breast milk, cool it down as soon as possible. This helps prevent bacterial growth and maintain the milk's integrity. Ideal cooling methods include placing the milk in a refrigerator or submerging the milk container in a bowl of ice water
  • Choose Proper Storage Containers: Use sterile, BPA-free containers specifically designed for breast milk storage. These containers are typically made of glass or plastic and have airtight seals to prevent leakage and contamination. Avoid using disposable bottle liners, as they may contain harmful chemicals that can leach into the milk.
  • Label Containers Clearly: Label each storage container with the date and time of expression to ensure you're using the oldest milk first. This helps maintain freshness and prevents accidental feeding of expired milk.
  • Refrigerate or Freeze Breast Milk: Freshly expressed breast milk can be stored in the refrigerator for up to four days. For longer storage, freeze breast milk in individual portions. Frozen breast milk can be stored in the freezer for up to six months.
Thawing Frozen Breast Milk: To thaw frozen breast milk, place the container in the refrigerator overnight or in warm water. Avoid thawing breast milk in the microwave, as this can destroy some of its nutrients. Once thawed, use the milk within 24 hours.

General Storage Guidelines:
  • Store breast milk in the back of the refrigerator to maintain a consistent cool temperature.
  • Avoid storing breast milk in the refrigerator door, as the temperature fluctuates more in this area.
  • Fill storage containers only to the three-quarter mark to allow for expansion during freezing.
  • Never refreeze previously frozen breast milk.

Additional Tips:
  • Wash your hands thoroughly with soap and water before handling breast milk or storage containers.
  • Use sterilized breast milk pumps and accessories to prevent contamination.
  • If you're traveling with breast milk, use a cooler pack or insulated container to keep the milk cool.
  • Talk to your doctor or lactation consultant if you have any questions or concerns about storing breast milk.


  1. Lawrence, R. A., & Lawrence, R. M. (2011). Breastfeeding: A guide for the medical profession (7th ed.). Elsevier Health Sciences.
  2. World Health Organization. (2017). Infant and young child feeding.
  3. Academy of Breastfeeding Medicine (ABM) Clinical Protocol #4: Revising Infant and Young Child Feeding Recommendations for Breastfeeding.
  4. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Breastfeeding.
  5. La Leche League International. Breastfeeding Support and Information.
  6. Mayo Clinic. Breast milk storage: Keeping your baby's food safe.
  7. National Institute of Child Health and Human Development (NICHD). Breastfeeding Your Baby.
  8. United States Department of Agriculture (USDA). MyPlate for Moms: Breastfeeding.


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