Expert Advice | Rosie Crawford, Qualified Midwife

June 12, 2020 2 min read

Expert Advice | Rosie Crawford, Qualified Midwife

Hey Baby Mamas!

So, you’ve finally got the hang of this breastfeeding gig, your milk has come in, and your nipples are starting to heal (woohoo!). You’ve discussed pumping with your midwife and found out how to do this correctly and you’ve just collected your first wee bottle of your own amazing golden breastmilk. Now what? It’s so important to store your milk correctly to prevent it going off and needing to be thrown out (cries...)


This is a guide to help remember roughly how long your milk can stay at different temperatures immediately after pumping:

4 – 4 hours at room temperature

4 - 4 days in the fridge

4 – 4-6 months in a regular freezer (Although some breastmilk can keep in a deep freeze for 12 months)

Tips to keeping your breastmilk stored safely:

  • Always wash your hands before handling your breastmilk
  • Only store breastmilk in specific breastmilk storage bags or food grade containers with a secure lid. Avoid storing in anything with recycle symbol “7” as this may contain BPA plastic.
  • Remember to clearly label your breastmilk with the date it was expressed.
  • When freezing breastmilk, leave about an inch of space at the top of your storage bag because breastmilk will expand when frozen.
  • If in doubt, do the ol’ sniff test. If it smells off, it probably is.

 How to thaw your breastmilk:

When you’re ready to use your stored breastmilk it’s important you prepare it properly. Never microwave breastmilk – not only does it decrease the nutrients in the milk but it also heats unevenly and heat spots can burn your baby’s mouth.

  1. Leave in the fridge overnight (must be used within 24 hours of being thawed – not 24 hours of being taken out of the freezer)
  2. Sit it in a container of warm (not boiled) water or run it under a warm tap until it is room temperature.
  3. Swirl the breastmilk around to mix the fat that may have separated
  4. Always test the temperature on a sensitive part of your skin before feeding to baby eg wrist. It should feel warm, not hot.
  5. Once you have warmed your breastmilk it must be consumed within 2 hours and you will need to throw out whatever is left after this time.

**Never refreeze breastmilk once it is thawed.

I hope this has helped answer questions around what to do with your pumped milk and how to give it to your bay safely! I will pop a link below to a helpful infographic

Rosie xx

Breastmilk storage infographic

Contact Details:

Instagram: @birthbyrosie


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