Expert Advice

Storing Breastmilk For Full-Term Babies

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Breastmilk storage for full-term babies is the same but different, depending on where you store it.

 And you probably already know that before you begin, your pump parts and supplies need to be clean. It’s a simple idea—but an extremely important one—to prevent bacteria from passing into your freshly-pumped milk.


  • Stays fresh for three to eight days in the refrigerator
  • For six to 12 months if it’s frozen
  • For 4 to 6 hours at room temperature

Whether you’re at home, work, or en route to something, storing breastmilk safely requires only a few things:

  • Clean hands
  • Clean pump and containers
  • Refrigeration or cooling
  • Labeling

Storing breastmilk for full-term babies is easy with a little planning

And there are only 7 basic ideas to keep in mind:

  1. Freshly pumped breastmilk is safe at normal room temperature (about 75 degrees Fahrenheit or 25 degrees Celsius) for about six hours
  2. Glass or plastic bottles, or breastmilk storage bags are all safe storage containers
  3. Each stored bag or bottle should be labeled with the pumping date
  4. If you’ll be using these in daycare or if baby is staying with other children, label the bag or bottle with your child’s name
  5. Each bag or bottle should contain just the amount you need for a feeding (about 2-4 ounces at first)—better to have too little and use more than one container than to have too much in one and have to throw it away
  6. Freshly pumped milk can be added to refrigerated or frozen milk that you expressed in the same day
  7. Defrosted breastmilk cannot be re-frozen—use it within 24 hours then throw away what you don’t use

At home

  • Keep track of and properly refrigerate each bag of your magic milk with labels that tell the date it was expressed
  • Use the oldest milk first (“first in, first out”) so that your stored supply is rotated and fresh

At work

  • Make sure your bags or bottles are labeled (date, time, your name)
  • Try to put your pumped milk against the back wall of the employee fridge so it’s cold and safe from getting knocked around, and the bags won’t get torn or inadvertently open
  • Put your icepacks (labeled, of course) in the freezer so they’re ready for the trip home

 En route or traveling

  • Make sure your ice packs are well-frozen
  • Use a insulated cooler bag for best refrigeration
  • Your milk will stay fresh for about 24 hours in a well-insulated bag

There are some cool tools to help with storing breastmilk

In their wonderful article on breastmilk storage, American Pregnancy suggests these helpful products to make collection and storage easier and more convenient:

  • The Milk-Saver slips into your bra to capture every precious drop
  • Freeze is a storage system for keeping your bags organized in your refrigerator
  • Milk Trays work like ice trays but are designed to safely store breastmilk in one ounce “milk sticks” that fit into any bottle

Giving your baby the best nutrition straight from the source (that’s you!) is a commitment that needs time and attention, especially if you’re a working mom.” ]

Knowing how to keep every precious drop safe helps reduce stress and increase your comfort.A little planning and the right supplies help you find a routine that works for you and your lifestyle. Click To Tweet

To learn more about breastfeeding tips, download our free Birth Plan eBook now. After three years of research, collaboration with more than 100 childbirth experts and resource centers from Healthy Child Healthy World to the American Association of Neonatal Nurses, the Best Ever Baby Birth Plan Guide is available for a free download.

This new resource for pregnant families is a compilation of top tips and advice from more than 20 nationally-recognized experts in the field including renowned pediatrician, Dr. Alan Greene and GraceFull Birthing founder, midwife Elizabeth Bachner. These trusted experts offer thoughtful guidance for whatever type of birthing experience parents want, in whichever setting they choose.

Published: April 22, 2017 | By SP Turgon, Certified Labor Doula | Reviewed by: The Best Ever Baby Expert Team | Last reviewed: April, 2017

By SP Turgon, Certified Labor Doula

Sabriga TurgonStoring Breastmilk For Full-Term Babies

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