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Storing breastmilk

Breast milk can be left for a maximum of 6 hours at room temperature.

  • It can be stored in the fridge (at a temperature of 4 degrees Celsius) for between 4 and 8 days.

  • It can also be kept in a freezer for up to 6 months.

  • Milk needs to be placed in either the fridge or freezer as soon after expressing as possible.

  • Try to use a new container every time you express.

  • Storage container/bag should be labelled with your name, time and date on it, and placed inside a clean sealed bag or box.

  • Store the milk away from meat products, eggs or anything that is uncooked.

  • Do not use the door of the fridge to store breast milk as it is cooler inside the body of the fridge.

Using stored breastmilk

  • Frozen breast milk should be defrosted in the fridge and used within 12 hours. If it is needed more quickly, run it under cool, then warm running water. NEVER heat milk in a microwave

  • Use defrosted milk immediately and throw any waste away

  • The milk may separate when defrosted. This is normal, just shake it a little.

Written following guidance from "expressing and storing breast milk" (BfN 2006)

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