Breast milk storage

The composition and nutrients in your milk can be influenced by how you store and reheat your milk. Any containers that contact your milk should be clean and sterile. Avoid cross contamination with other foods when storing your milk in the fridge. It is acceptable to store breast milk for up to 4 days in the fridge (preferably the back, not the door, to prevent warming from the door opening). If you are going to freeze your milk try to freeze it within 24 hours of pumping it as the beneficial enzymes begin to change at approximately 25 hours. This doesn’t have to be a determining factor in the how quickly you freeze your refrigerated milk, but it’s worth it to store as soon as possible. If not used within 4 days, fresh breast milk should be transferred to the freezer in a clean, freezer-safe container and dated with the original pump time. It is acceptable to store breast milk in a freezer with an attached refrigerator for up to 6 months and in a deep freezer for up to 9-12 months, but the sooner it’s used the better. Nutrients in frozen breast milk are mostly preserved for 1 month, but after 3 months in the freezer, there is a noteworthy decline in concentrations of fats, calories and other macronutrients. Freezing kills some of the live antibodies found in your milk, so rather than freezing all of your pumped milk, feed as much fresh or refrigerated milk as possible.

• Breast milk stored in the refrigerator maintains most if it’s immune properties with break down starting after 25 hours.

• Heating breast milk at high temperatures (especially in the microwave—which is not recommended), can destroy the antibodies and other immune factors in your breast milk.

• Frozen breast milk loses some of its healthy immune factors, but not all.