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Breastmilk Storage Tips

Pumping to save milk is an amazing way to give yourself more freedom with breastfeeding! You’ll want to be extra careful with the thawing and storage process though, so we’ve created this chart to keep your breast milk stash safe.

Breastmilk Storage Tips

Pumping to save milk is an amazing way to give yourself more freedom with breastfeeding! You’ll want to be extra careful with the thawing and storage process though, because bacteria can build up in the breast milk, making it unsafe for your baby. We’ve broken down this pretty complex process into the following table so you can keep your breastmilk stash safe.

When the bottle is…Freshly PumpedThawed
At room temperature, it can be stored:No more than 4 hours.No more than 2 hours.
In an insulated cooler back, it can be stored:Up to 24 hours before it must be refrigerated or frozen.Up to 24 hours before it must be discarded.
In the refrigerator, it can be stored:Up to 4 days before it needs to be used or frozen.Up to 24 hours before it must be discarded.
In the freezer, it can be stored:Between 6-12 months.Never re-freeze breastmilk after it’s been thawed.

Other Tips:

  • If you warm breastmilk in a bottle for your baby and they do not finish that bottle, that bottle cannot be re-refrigerated and must be used within 1-2 hours. 
  • You can mix milk from different pumping sessions, but both sets of breast milk must be at the same temperature before mixing. That means that if you’re adding freshly pumped breast milk to refrigerated breast milk, you must refrigerate the freshly pumped milk before mixing. The Academy of Pediatrics did recently state that you could mix freshly pumped breast milk to refrigerated breast milk but they later redacted that statement. You can always check with your pediatrician to see what they recommend for your situation.

Check out our other breastfeeding resources:

Sources: The Center for Disease Control, the Academy of Breastfeeding Medicine, and the Academy of Pediatrics