Whether you're exclusively pumping, building a stash for when you return to work, or storing an extra bottle for baby to drink during late night feedings or the occasional date night out, it's important to keep in mind safe breast milk storage guidelines for your expressed breast milk. Remember to collect and store breast milk in clean containers specifically made for breast milk storage. Here's how long your liquid gold can be safely stored at different temperatures:. If you thaw your frozen breast milk in the refrigerator, you can keep it there for up to 24 hours, or at room temperature for up to 2 hours. Once frozen breast milk is thawed, do not refreeze it.
So how do you store and use your milk safely? But good hygiene is vital to ensure that stored milk is safe for your baby — read on to find out how to store breast milk properly. Breast milk is better for your baby than formula — but freshly expressed breast milk is preferable to refrigerated, and refrigerated is better than frozen. If you have expressed breast milk cleanly and safely, you can store it at room temperature, in the fridge, or in the freezer, depending on how soon you want to use it.
These guidelines cover the full range of breast milk storage and feeding, including evidence-based directives for how to refrigerate breast milk and what to do when reusing breast milk. Some of the most important rules to remember from the CDC include:. Never re-freeze breast milk that has already been thawed. This can help you avoid having to dispose of already-thawed breast milk that does not get finished. Per the CDC, there are three best practices for thawing your breast milk:.
Many mothers find it convenient or even necessary to collect their breast milk and store it to be used later. The guidelines offered below may answer many questions mothers have about safely collecting and storing their breast milk. The following storage guidelines are only for healthy babies who were born at term. If your baby is hospitalized or was born preterm, the guidelines may be different.