Milk Storage

CDC Guidelines for Breastmilk Storage

BREASTMILK STORAGE GUIDELINES by the CDC (For healthy, term babies)

Okay, repeat after me- The sooner the better, The sooner the better, The sooner the better! Sure, breastmilk can still be good if left out for 4 hours, but if you can, feed it as soon as possible. It may be ok up to 4 days in the fridge, but if you can, feed it sooner than that! What about the freezer? The CDC says 6 month is best, up to 12 months is acceptable.

  • After complete thaw, meaning no more ice crystals, use milk within 24 hours.
  • After using a bottle warmer, feed within 2 hours.
  • After baby has started drinking from the bottle, use within 2 hours.
  • ”Room temp” actually refers to a range of temperatures from 68-72f or 20-22c
  • Milk that has only partially thawed can be refrozen!

This information is provided by the Center for Disease Control and is up to date. You will see a WIDE range of hours posted by many sources. As usual, I encourage you to do you research and use your own judgement.

Freezing Breastmilk

Storing breastmilk in BRICKS can really help freezer space and organization, AND thaws quicker!
1️⃣ Remove all the air from your bag of breastmilk. Don’t fill more than the recommended amount on the bag, and measure using a bottle instead of the bag, which can be inaccurate. Don’t know how to get that air out? There are some great examples on YouTube. I use the edge of my counter.
2️⃣ Freeze FLAT on their sides. I use a plastic tray to keep them perfectly flat in my freezer!
3️⃣ Assemble flat frozen pags together into a gallon ziplock bag and date it. Store in the freezer- CDC says best by 6 months but good up to 12 months, especially in a deep freeze!

Make sure to measure your breastmilk in the bottle before transferring into a breastmilk bag to freeze. You’ll find that you achieve greater accuracy when you use the bottle first to measure!
Never fill a breastmilk bag over the specified maximum amount to reduce risk of leaking or expanding too much while freezing.

Thawing Breastmilk

If you freeze your milk bags flat, they actually thaw pretty quickly and evenly!
👍 DO: Thaw overnight in the fridge or in a bowl of warm water. (You can use hot water if you’ll use that warm milk for a feeding right away.)
👎 DON’T: Microwave the milk or place a frozen milk bag directly into a bottle warmer touching the heating elements.

Feeding temperate should be about the temp of the inside of your wrist so just take the bottle and put a drop on your wrist. You shouldn’t be able to feel it! There’s no harm in feeling cold milk if baby takes it!

❄️If the milk is only partially thawed and still has ice crystals in it, you can refreeze it. Use milk within 24 hrs after complete thaw! ❄️