Below are guidelines for the storage of milk for healthy, term babies. If you have a baby with special needs, please discuss this with your baby’s doctor in the intensive care until. Most likely, you will simply need to lean on the lower end of the storage parameters, such as three hours at room temperature and three days in the refrigerator.
Remember most people can follow
The Rule of 6’s
6 hours at room temperature
6 days in the fridge
6 months in the freezer
(12 months if it is a deep chest freezer)
The CDC recommends a 4 hour rule for fresh milk and 4 days for refrigerated milk, while the Academy of Breastfeeding gives a 6-8 hour and a 5-8 day window, respectively. It seems that some women have a longer breastmilk shelf life than others. It may be helpful to do an experiment to determine your own breastmilk shelf life.
Date your milk. Mark your milk with any notes. If you’ve been told to pump and dump, consider keeping the milk and marking it rather than discarding. Do some extra research on the need discard this milk before disposing of it.
Place in the back of your fridge where it is the coldest, not in the door. When freezing, store in 2, 3, or 4 oz increments so you can mix and match sizes when defrosting.
You will notice the milk separate as it cools in the fridge. Thicker, more opaque milk will rise to the top and thinner, more translucent milk will settle on the bottom. This is totally normal.
If you are giving your baby milk from the fridge, warm it up by setting it in a bottle warmer, a cup of hot water, or by running it under hot water. You don’t have to warm breastmilk before you feed it to a baby as long as baby accepts it, but you should warm it enough to be able to swirl the fat back into your milk. Try not to shake your milk too much. Once milk is warmed and offered to the baby, it should be discarded within two hours.