Here's a tip: Before you feed your baby any expressed breast milk, smell it. If it has any strong odor, don't give it to your baby/toddler. Breast milk doesn't have much of an odor at all when it is okay to drink.
4-10 hours: Freshly expressed breast milk
- 4-6 hours: In a warm room (approx. 79°F / 25°C)
- 10 hours: room temperature (66-72°F / 19-22°C)
- 24 hours: previously frozen, thawed breast milk (32-39°F / 0-4°C)
- 8 days: freshly expressed breast milk (32-39°F / 0-4°C)
- 2 weeks: In the freezer compartment of a small refrigerator
- 3-6 months: In a freezer attached to a refrigerator
- 6-12 months: In a chest freezer/deep freeze (approx. 0°F / 19°C)
More Breast Milk storage guidlines/tips!
- As a general rule you should not re-freeze thawed breast milk, however, I am not going to lie. If it is still cold, I have refrozen it, and my kids are still alive.
- As always, when you are putting your milk in a refrigerator or freezer, always store it as far away from the door as possible. This keeps it colder than if you would store it in the door or close to the door.
- Never shake breast milk to mix it. Often the milk fat will separate from the liquid portion of the breastmilk. To combine it swirl or stir it gently. Shaking it can compromise the living portions of the milk.
- You can combine two different pumping sessions worth of breast milk into one container as long as they are both the same temperature. I always let mine sit in the refrigerator for a few hours each before combining them, just to be safe.
- If you are using breast milk storage bags, freeze your milk flat. Lay the bags down and let them freeze. It is easier to stack, store, and transport them later if they are all a similar shape.
Though it might sound a little gross, I compare breast milk storage and care to how you would handle meat. You wouldn't combing a bunch of hot meat with cold meat, and you wouldn't refreeze meat if it has come to room temperature. That is just asking for bacteria to grow!