Breast milk is SUCH an amazing thing. The properties and benefits it has are endless so you don’t want to waste of drop! There is a reason it is called liquid gold 🙂
In the beginning, your body will probably be producing a lot of milk, until you and your baby get into a rhythm and your body figures out how much it needs to produce. So for me, I was able to pump and freeze a lot of my milk in the beginning! I want to talk about breast milk storage how to and mention some of the guidelines to follow when storing breast milk.
Breast Milk Storage How To
You can easily store your breast milk in the fridge or the freezer. There are different kinds of containers available that you can store your breast milk in. Plastic bags, bottles and glass containers. For me, I love using glass containers whenever I can – usually I use glass when I am storing just in the fridge. Then I use plastic bags when storing in the freezer.
You want to make sure you wash your milk containers well in hot, soapy water though. Rinse them well and let them air dry. I also sanitize mine every so often just by placing them in boiling water for a few minutes. Also, wash your hands well before feeding (whether you are nursing or pumping).
.Let’s get into the how to though. The two methods we’ll cover for breast milk storage how to are storing fresh breast milk and how to store frozen breast milk.
How to Store Fresh Breast Milk
When storing your breast milk, pour your milk into the storage container and make sure you are writing the date on the container you are storing it in. This is important! Freshly pumped breast milk can be kept at room temperature up to 4 hours.
If you are planning on storing your milk in the fridge, don’t put it in the doors – store it towards the back of the fridge. You can keep your breast milk in the fridge up to 8 days but 3 days is best.
How to Store Frozen Breast Milk
Again, with frozen breast milk, pour the pumped milk into the container you want to store it in and make sure to write the date on the container. This is more important when freezing your breast milk because you will be storing it for a longer period of time and you want to make sure you are using it before it goes “bad”.
You want to freeze your breast milk in 2 to 4 ounce portions. This is about what your newborn will eat during a feeding. This is also a good amount because it will thaw quickly in a bowl of warm water.
*note, if you don’t already know this, you do NOT want to microwave breast milk to warm it up. Just use a bowl of warm water and place the breast milk in the bowl of warm water to heat up.
If you are using plastic bags to store your breast milk in the freezer, fill about 3/4 full and leave space at the top of the bag. This will allow some room for your milk to expand. Seal the plastic bag and place in the freezer. I found it easiest to store my milk (if using plastic bags) to store them laying flat. They take up WAY less room this way!
Breast Milk Storage Guidelines
I find it a little easier to follow guidelines than read through how to store breast milk. So follow the chart I created below on the recommended guidelines for storing your breast milk.
Along with the fats starting to breakdown in your milk, you may notice that the pumped milk can have a soapy or metallic odor when you take it out of the fridge or freezer. This doesn’t mean that your milk has gone bad.
For me, my little one didn’t like to drink breast milk out of the freezer, so I had to always pump fresh milk for him to eat. I used my frozen breast milk to make his food when he started eating solids!
How to Warm Breastmilk – From Fridge or Freezer
If you are warming your breast milk out of the fridge, it will be a little easier and quicker. Put the container that you have your breast milk stored in, in a bowl of warm tap water. Gently shake the milk. You can test the temp of the milk by shaking some out onto your wrist. Again, it is normal for the milk to separate into a milk and cream layer. So just shake it up.
Also, I mentioned this before, do not microwave or bring your breast milk to a boiling point. This can create “hot spots” that can burn your baby as well as kill the “good stuff” in your milk that really benefits your baby!
If you are taking your breast milk out of the freezer, you can thaw it in one of two ways. No matter which method you pick though, make sure you are thawing the oldest milk first.
One way of going about this, is to place your container of frozen milk in the fridge. You can leave it there for 24 hours. The other way to go about this is to place the container of frozen milk in a bowl of warm water. This is the method I always used. Especially if your frozen breast milk is in a plastic bag, it thaws very quickly!
If you have any questions about using stored breast milk or how to store your breast milk, leave a comment below!
All the best,