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Breast Milk Storage Guidelines

CDC Breast Milk Storage Tips

Freshly Expressed or Pumped Milk:

  • Room Temperature: Keep it at 77°F (25°C) or colder for up to 4 hours.

  • Refrigerator: Store it at 40°F (4°C) for up to 4 days.

  • Freezer: Freeze it at 0°F (-18°C) or colder. Best if used within 6 months, but it's okay up to 12 months.

Thawed, Previously Frozen Milk:

  • Thawing: Allow 1-2 hours for thawing at room temperature.

  • Refrigerator: Once thawed, use it within 1 day (24 hours).

  • Never Refreeze: Never refreeze breast milk after it has been thawed.

Leftover Milk from a Feeding (Unfinished Bottle):

  • Use Within 2 Hours: If your baby didn't finish the bottle, use the leftover milk within 2 hours after the feeding.


Other Breast Milk Tips:


  • Containers: Store breast milk in clean, BPA-free containers like bottles, milk storage bags, or breast milk storage containers.

  • Labeling: Always label the container with the date you expressed the milk. Use the oldest milk first (first in, first out).

  • Hand Hygiene: Wash your hands thoroughly before expressing or handling breast milk to maintain cleanliness.

  • Breast Pump Cleaning: Clean and sterilize breast pump parts and containers after each use.

  • Refrigerated Milk: If you plan to use the milk within a few days, keep it in the refrigerator. It's safe for your baby to consume even if it separates into layers.

  • Freezer Storage: Use airtight containers or breast milk storage bags for freezing. Leave some space at the top of the container or bag as breast milk expands when frozen.

  • Breast Milk Smell: Breast milk may have a different odor from formula or cow's milk, but it is perfectly normal.

  • Inspect for Spoilage: Check the milk's color and smell before feeding it to your baby. If it has an rotten odor or looks discolored, discard it.

  • Thawed Milk Use: Use thawed breast milk within 24 hours. Do not refreeze thawed milk.

  • Transporting Breast Milk: If you need to transport breast milk, use an insulated cooler bag with ice packs to keep it cool.

  • Breast Milk and Medications: Consult your healthcare provider before breastfeeding if you are taking medications or supplements to ensure their safety for your baby.

Remember, these guidelines ensure your breast milk stays safe and fresh for your baby. For personalized advice or if you have any questions, don't hesitate to consult with your healthcare provider or a lactation consultant.

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