The amount of time that human milk may be safely preserved depends on a number of factors. These elements include the amount of milk produced, the temperature at which it is expressed, temperature variations in the refrigerator and freezer, and environmental cleanliness.
Breast Milk Storage Guide
- Countertop (room temperature)
For countertop storage, the breast milk does not last long. Freshly expressed milk would only last up to 4 hours at best. If the milk was stored on the countertop when previously frozen, it would only be able to last for around 2 hours at best.
- Refrigerated (4°c)
If the freshly expressed milk is stored in the refrigerator, it could be kept for up to four days because the cooker temperature prevents the milk from expiring faster. However, if the milk was previously frozen, it would only last for up to 1 day only.
- Freezer (-18°c)
The best way to store breastmilk in freezer is in proper bags or bottles. Freshly expressed milk can last between 6 months to 12 months while it is still acceptable. But you should never store previously frozen breast milk in the freezer because there is a huge risk of it being spoiled because of the shifts in temperature.
It is important that you should remember that the breast milk that is leftover from feeding should be used within 2 hours after the baby is finished feeding. Regardless of where you store it. This is to prevent the consumption of spoiled milk by your child.
Prior to handling or expressing breast milk:
- Use soap and water to thoroughly wash your hands.
- Use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol if soap and water are not available.
- Mothers can use a manual or electronic pump or their hands to express breast milk.
- When using a pump, check sure the pump kit and tubing are clean.
- Replace any mouldy tubing right away and throw it away.
- Use a disinfectant wipe to wipe out the tabletop, power switch, and pump dials if you’re using a shared pump.
- The date the breast milk was expressed is clearly marked on the container.
- Breast milk shouldn’t be kept in the freezer or refrigerator’s door. This will lessen the impact of temperature variations brought on the opening and shutting of the door on the breast milk.
- Freshly expressed breast milk should be frozen as soon as possible if you don’t think you’ll use it within 4 days. This will aid in preserving the breast milk’s quality.
- When breast milk is frozen:
To prevent wasting milk that may not be used up, store little portions. Keep in containers that hold 2 to 4 ounces or the serving size.
Breast milk expands as it freezes, so leave approximately an inch of room at the top of the container.
- Label the container with the kid’s name clearly if you are delivering breast milk to a child care centre. Any further specifications for labelling and storing breast milk should be discussed with your child care provider.
- When travelling, breast milk can be kept for up to 24 hours in an insulated cooler with frozen ice packs. Use the milk immediately away, put it in the fridge, or freeze it until you get there.