How long does breast milk last in the fridge? What about frozen breast milk or milk at room temperature? Medela recommends using the following guidelines for storing and thawing freshly expressed breast milk.*
Tips for freezing or thawing breast milk
- Storing Breastmilk: You can use milk bottles or Pump & Save Bags for freezing breast milk. Do not fill the bottles or bags more than 3/4 full as the milk will expand during freezing.
- Mixing Breastmilk: If you pump small amounts of breast milk several times a day, make sure you mix the milk portions only when they have all been well cooled in your refrigerator. Never add freshly pumped milk to milk that has already cooled.
- Label: Label the bottles or bags with the date of expression and use chronologically.
- Refrigerating Breastmilk: Do not store breast milk in the door of the refrigerator. Instead choose the coldest part of the refrigerator, usually at the back of the shelf above the vegetable compartment.
- Start Small: You may prefer to store smaller bottles for the first few times you start to offer your expressed milk to your baby, to minimise any wastage. Ideally store in 50ml – 100mls, you can always give more if needed.
- Thawing: In order to preserve the components of the breast milk, it is best to thaw the milk in the refrigerator overnight. Alternatively, you can hold the bottle or bag under warm water (max. 37°C). Do not thaw or heat frozen breast milk in a microwave or in boiling water. This is to avoid vitamin and mineral loss and to avoid scalding your baby.
- Mix: Gently swirl the bottle or Pump & Save Bag to mix any fats that have separated. Avoid shaking or stirring the milk.
*Note if your baby is hospitalised please follow the hospital recommendations