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How Do I Store My Breastmilk?

Pour your milk into a clean storage container.  Leave about 1½ cm or ½ inch at the top of the container, so that it does not push the lid open during freezing.  Close the container tightly and label it with the date.

Milk should be stored in single feedings.  It may take several collections to get one feeding of breastmilk.  Cool each collection in the refrigerator before adding it to already frozen breastmilk.

Use the chart on the next page to find out how long you can store breastmilk.  This depends on the method of storage. 

Breastmilk Storage Times 

Method Storage Time
Room temperature (less than 25°C) 3 to 5 hours
One door fridge Up to 5 days
Freezer section inside a fridge 2 weeks
Freezer section of a 2-door fridge 3 to 6 months
Deep freezer 6 to 12 months
Breastmilk storage times are for healthy full-term babies.

If you have a baby in the hospital, check with your baby’s caregiver for storage times for breastmilk in the NICU/Special Care Nursery. Remember to use a cooler bag to transport breastmilk to the hospital.

If you plan to use your milk within 5 days, you can keep it in the refrigerator. You do not have to freeze it.

Important Breastmilk Storage Considerations:
  • Place containers at the back of the fridge and freezer where it is the coldest.
     
  • Previously thawed breastmilk is safe for 24 hours in a refrigerator.
     
  • After the storage time has passed, throw out the breastmilk.