Making The Most of the Breastmilk You Pump
By Meri Hanson Levy, MFT, CLE
Make the most of your breastmilk storage by safely pumping and storing your milk.
- Wash your hands before you pump. Starting with clean hands ensures your milk is free from bacteria that can spoil it more quickly.
- Store your milk in 1-4 oz amounts to reduce wasted milk when thawing for bottles.
- You can combine milk pumped at different times as long as all the milk is chilled before combining.
- Refrigerated milk has more anti-infective properties than frozen milk. Use refrigerated milk before frozen milk if you have it handy.
- Breastmilk can be stored at room temperature for up to 10 hours, in a refrigerator for up to 8 days, or in a freezer up to 6 months (if your freezer is cold enough to keep ice cream hard).
- Use hard-sided plastic or glass containers with tight-fitting lids, or freezer bags that are designed for storing breastmilk.
- You can thaw and heat breastmilk under warm, running tap water. Never boil or microwave breastmilk.
- Mix or shake bottle before testing the temperature. It is normal for breastmilk to separate when stored.
- If milk has been frozen and thawed, it can be refrigerated for up to 24 hours for later use. It should not be refrozen.
- Once heated and offered to your baby, you may offer the remaining breastmilk one more time, but it should be discarded after two hours.