Freshly expressed breast milk is best for your baby. Furthermore, if you refrigerate or freeze breast milk, it is still more nutritious and provides better immunity than formula or animal milk. Therefore, as breast milk is best for your baby, it is essential to know how to store breast milk for later use – either at room temperature, in the fridge or in the freezer as per your needs.
We recommend the below guidelines for storing breast milk:
Storing milk in refrigerator – expect to use the milk within 3 days:
Refrigerator is the lower section of the fridge.
After expressing breast milk, and if you have decided to store it, then refrigerate the breast milk as soon as possible.
You may either store it in the storage container or milk storage bags made from BPA-free materials.
You may also add the newly expressed milk in the already refrigerated storage container or bag, provided the new milk added is cooled in the fridge before adding. Do not add body-temperature milk to the cooled milk.
Do not store the milk where you put your vegetables and fruits or in the fridge door as there the temperature maybe less consistent. You should store the breast milk either on the shelf above the vegetable compartment or at the back of other compartments, as those are the coldest part of the fridge.
Storing the milk in the Freezer – expect to use the milk within 6 months:
Freezer is the upper section of the fridge where you put ice-cream, ice, etc.
After expressing breast milk, and if you have decided to store it for longer duration, then freeze the breast milk as soon as possible.
We recommend you store the milk in milk storage bags made from BPA-free materials. You may store in milk storage containers but ensure they do not crack if stored under the cold temperature for long duration.
Ensure that the milk storage bags or the storage container are tightly fastened.
You may also add the newly expressed milk in the already frozen milk, provided the new milk added is cooled in the fridge before adding. Do not add body-temperature milk to the frozen milk.
We recommend that you freeze your milk in quantities of about 60 ml or lessor for easier thawing and minimal wastage. Do not exceed 3/4th of the storage container or bag size as breast milk expands during freezing.
The frozen milk can be combined with each other after its melted.
Store breast milk in the freezer and avoid storing it in the doors of the freezer as there the temperature may not be less consistent.
Melting (thawing) the frozen milk and then using it:
In order to start using the frozen milk you need to melt (thaw) it by following any of the below procedure:
run the bag of frozen milk under warm water (a maximum of 37 °C)
You may also immerse the breast milk bag or storage container into a cup of lukewarm water till the milk is melted nicely
Warm the frozen storage container or bag in a bottle warmer.
You may melt the frozen milk by moving it to fridge and leaving it in the fridge for around 12 hours. Do not let the frozen breast milk to melt (defrost) itself at room temperature.
Once the previously frozen breast milk is fully melted (thawed) it may be:
You may keep it under body temperature for a maximum of 2 hours, hence it should be fed to your baby within these two hours or thrown away.
Alternatively, you may refrigerate for up to 24 hours.
Do not try to melt the frozen milk by heating it in microwave or running the storage container or milk bag in the boiling water (40°C or more), as it would damage its nutritional value.
Swirl the storage container or bag to mix the milk fat contents nicely, avoid shaking or stirring the storage container or milk bag.
Do not re-freeze breast milk once its melted.
Stored Milk Smell odd?
It is perfectly fine to notice that refrigerated or melted (defrosted) breast milk smell different sometimes. That is usually due to an enzyme breaking down fats and releasing fatty acids to prevent growth of bad bacteria in the milk. The defrosted milk is safe for consumption.