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Breast Feeding

Storing pumped breastmilk

11/07/2005

Question:

How long does pumped breastmilk keep if refrigerated? How about if it is frozen? Once you take breastmilk out of the refrigerator or freezer, how long does it keep? Once you warm the breastmilk, does it have to be used within a certain time span?

Answer:

I'm glad you are producing enough milk to store it for later times. Breast milk can be kept in the refrigerator for 48 to 72 hours but it is best to keep it in the back of the refrigerator not on the door.

Breast milk should be kept in the coldest part of the refrigerator, which is usually the back, or in a deep freezer. Breast milk can be frozen for up to 6 months. Again it should not be kept on the door of the freezer.

Once breast milk has been taken out of the refrigerator or thawed it needs to be used within 4 to 6 hours.

Breast milk should be used within 2 hours once it has been warmed. It is not advised to warm milk in the microwave as that can leave warm spots and break down the protein.

Good luck with the pumping and storing.

For more information:

Go to the Breast Feeding health topic, where you can:

Response by:

Barbara   Morrison, PhD, CNM, FNP Barbara Morrison, PhD, CNM, FNP
Assistant Professor of Nursing
Frances Payne Bolton School of Nursing
Case Western Reserve University