What is the proper storage and thawing methods for breast milk?


UnderCover asks:

I have a couple questions about the topic in the heading.

Do all breastfeeding moms have to pump their milk? I am a stay at home mom and only breastfeed I do not pump. Is it a bad thing.

What is the proper storage of pumped breast milk and how long is it good for?

What is the proper way to thaw breast milk?

Best answer:

Answer by frogysue
No, you don’t need to pump at all! Most people do for a couple of reasons: it gives them a sense of security because if they every need to stop BFing for a few days, like because they have to go on medication for an infection or something, they know they have a store of milk that their baby can use instead of formula. Also, many moms like the freedom to ocassionally go out w/o baby for longer than a feeding period. But by no means is it bad to not do so, or do you need to do so.

You can store pumped milk in the refrigerator in regular bottles, usually for up to 7 days. You can also freeze milk in the special freezer bags they sell (the fats will stick to regular plastic containers so you should not use them) and freeze the milk for up to 3-4 months. You can combine different pumping sessions as long as you date the whole bottle with the oldest date. It is always preferable not to push the limits of storage times, just to be safe.

You can thaw breast milk in the fridge overnight, or else run it under warm (not hot) water. Once thawed, you need to use it within 24 hours

HOpe that helps!

One thought on “What is the proper storage and thawing methods for breast milk?

  1. It isn’t necessary for all BF mums to express milk. Some do it because they have to (eg gone back to work), some (like myself) pump to keep a supply in the freezer in case of emergency so they don’t have to supplement with formula , some don’t at all. Some pump to provide relief from an oversupply of milk or to increase their supply also, but it is by no means necessary.
    Pumped breast milk can be kept at room temperature (no more than 26 degrees celcius) for 6-8 hours, 3-5 days in the fridge (4 degrees celcius or less) or in the freezer for the following times: for a fridge compartment in the fridge – 2 weeks, a fridge with seperate freezzer compartment – 3-4 months, deep freezer (-18 degrees celcius or less) up to 6 months. These are all from freshly expressed, you shouldn’t keep milk at room or fridge temp for any length of time and then freeze and breastmilk must never be re frozen under any circumstances. There are special breastmilk bags you can buy or they also make little ice cubes type trays for it, make sure you buy the ones designed for breastmilk.
    When thawing milk you can either leave it in the fridge overnight or leave iit in a bowl of room temperature water, never use hot water as this will spoil the milk. If the milk has been thawed in the fridge it can remain there for up to 24 hours, if thawed at room temperature it must be used immediately (within 4 hours). Any milk that a baby has begun feeding on must be discarded when baby has finished with it, as their saliva spoils milk.
    Milk can be given cold (frisge temperature) but you’ll find many babies don’t like this so if you wish to warm the milk you can then place it in a bowl of warm water for 5-10mins to get it warmer. Again never use hot water and do not warm it in the microwave.

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