Your breast milk shelf life can depend on many factors, making it important to know! Some factors that can influence shelf life are milk volume, room temperature, temp. swings, and cleanliness. Expressed milk should also be handled in a different manner. Learn your breast milk shelf life here!
Breast Milk Shelf Life Guidelines
Before you store breast milk you must use a breast milk storage bag or a food-grade container made of glass. Some plastic containers are okay for expressed breast milk so long it does not contain BPA. Also, be sure to not store breast milk in any kind of disposable bottle liners or plastic bags.
Expressed breast milk can be left at room temperature for up to 4 hours.
Expressed breast milk can be left in the refrigerator (39°F or colder) for 4-8 days.
Expressed breast milk can be inside the freezer (0°F or colder) for up to 9 months.
Quick Tips for Storing Expressed Milk
There are plenty of things to know when it comes to handling breast milk. For example, storing breast milk in small batches is highly recommended to prevent waste. Also be sure to refrigerate the breast milk right after the being expressed.
It is also common for moms to store their breast milk at the very back of their refrigerator. Though, if you plan on not using the expressed milk within 24 hours, make sure to store it in the freezer instead.
How to Thaw Breast or Expressed Milk
Please never thaw breast milk using a microwave. This can damage the nutrients sitting inside the expressed milk. Rather, place the bag or bottle in the fridge overnight or run it under warm water. Make sure you thaw the oldest breast milk first. Some even set the container inside another container filled with lukewarm water. Also NEVER refreeze break milk after it has been thawed.
When it comes to breastfeeding, knowing the key tips and tricks on how to store breast milk will come in handy. Assure the safe storage of expressed milk to make sure your child is receiving the proper nutrients. Use these guidelines anytime you need to refer back to these storing techniques.