Storing Breast Milk
is not that complicated

Storing breast milk properly is a must because breast milk can lose a lot nutrients or leak from the container if not stored well. 

You have worked so hard expressing your breast milk, so it is really devastating to see it being thrown away.

Breast milk storage guidelines:
temperature and duration

OK. So you’ve finally learned through the pumping breast milk process. You have some divine breast milk.  What’s next? How to store breast milk?

Ideally, you should refrigerate or keep your breast milk cool right after you express it. Store breast milk:

  • at room temperature (66-78°F, 19-26°C) for 4 hours (ideal), up to 6 hours (acceptable)
  • in a refrigerator (<39°F, <4°C) for 72 hours (ideal), up to 8 days (acceptable if collected in a very clean, careful way)
  • in a freezer (-0.4 to -4°F, -18 to -20°C) for 6 months (ideal) up to 12 months

Print this image and stick it to the fridge.

Storing breast milk guidelines


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Breast milk storage containers

When storing breast milk in containers keep in mind:

  • check for breast milk storage containers without BPA (chemical bisphenol)
  • glass or plastic containers (hard-sided) with the tight-fitting tops.
  • freezer bags specially designed to store human milk.
  • containers that are not filled up to the top. Make sure to leave 1” till the top, because breast milk expands when it freezes.
  • it is washed in hot, soapy water and air-dried properly.
  • consider putting 2-4 oz of breast milk not to waste it.
  • always mark the date and the name of your baby (if he is fed in daycare) on the storage containers.
  • make sure to always use to oldest breast milk.

There is a big variety of breast milk storage in the market. You can store breast milk in milk storage bags, milk storage plastic bottles, glass bottles, plastic cups with tight lids, there are special trays to put in the freezer. Anything to keep that breast milk as good as we can.

Here are some best options for breast milk storage picked by me and reviewed by many parents:

Storing options for breast milk

Comments about the breast milk storage

Lansinoh Freexzer Bags

"They are thicker mm of plastic, have a double seal and a separate area to write on to avoid ink contamination. In my opinion, they are also much easier to pour to/from than other brands.

I also appreciate how they lay flat for more space-efficient storage. They have held up very well in my deep freeze in arctic temperatures! "


Freezer Bags

"Great and stand up, I like these bags because it is really convenient to be able to pump straight into the bag (no bottle washing!)"

Medela Breastmilk Storage Solution Set

"I really like the fridge tray for the bottles. Seems well made. Has arrows and a in and out side so you on;y take the freshest breast milk from the fridge. I really like the "Date" lids. Great for a new mom, who just started breastfeeding and pumping and still needs to find out what fits her needs."

Medela storage bottles

 "Since these bottles, it was much easier to send with my son to daycare."

NUK/Gerber Seal N Go Disposible Liner

"Not a single bag leaked! I would pump and fill an entire Ameda bottle and then pour the milk into the bag to freeze. Good to pour out of. They are in fact thicker, lay flat."

Dr. Browns BPA Free Safe Best Freezer Bags

"It has the double closure (which the Medela bags do not). The labels are easy to mark and they stand upright and the measurements are pretty accurate. I use these with the first years milk storage organizer and it works great."


Medela Breastmilk Bottle Set

"These glass bottles are perfect for storing breastmilk in the freezer, as glass is the best material to store milk in to prevent losing vital nutrients in breastmilk. As much as 60% of important antibodies can be lost when milk is frozen in plastic bags/bottles!"

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Warming the breast milk

Before you start warming the breast milk, try giving baby cool breast milk. Maybe he will like it... 

  • NEVER microwave your breast milk. Doesn’t matter what the labels on containers say!
  • NEVER boil the breast milk!
  • NEVER warm the milk directly on the stove!

Frozen milk: Take breast milk container out of freezer and put it in the refrigerator overnight or keep under cool running water. You should increase water temperature till breast milk is warm enough to feed.

Refrigerated milk: Use running water or put the milk container in the bowl with hot water to warm the breast milk.

You should not be worried:

  1. when you see different layers, different colors in your breast milk after it’s been stored. You should gently shake the bottle before giving to the baby.
  2. when your breast milk smells or tastes soapy. This happens because of the breakdown of milk fats. This is milk is still safe for a baby to drink.

If you had a thrush or yeast infection while expressing your milk, throw away that milk, because freezing doesn’t kill the yeast in the milk.

If it is too complicated and time consuming for you to warm the breast milk, consider purchasing bottle warmers.

Bottle warmer

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Common questions
about storing breast milk

Can I add breast milk that I just expressed to the milk I already stored?

YES. But your should only add fresh expressed milk to the milk you stored (refrigerated or frozen) THE SAME DAY. Make sure to cool the fresh breast milk first, before combining them.

Stick to the rule: Different day - different storage container.

Is it safe to microwave baby bottles?

NO. There are many reasons on why no one should use microwaves ever for warming anything. Especially warming breast milk. It will make “hot spots” in the bottles.  

Have you got a question about storing breast milk?

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