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How long can breast milk be stored? It all depends on temperature.
Under normal conditions, breast milk can be kept fresh at room temperature (between 60-85 degrees Fahrenheit) for 4-5 hours. As expressed milk generally has very little bacteria it can last up to eight hours in a cool room, but proper storage in this time frame is crucial. If the room is warm, no longer than four hours.
In the fridge, freshly expressed milk can be stored for between 3-5 days. However, the type of fridge you have plays an important role in your milk’s life span.
- Frozen breast milk stays fresh for two weeks in a refrigerator that has a single door to the freezer and refrigerator compartments.
- In a refrigerator that has a separate door to the freezer, frozen breast milk lasts for 3-6 months.
- In a deep freezer or chest, frozen breast milk keeps for 6-12 months. (A deep freezer keeps breast milk fresh longer because you generally won’t open it as frequently as you do a refrigerator that has a freezer.)
“In general, the CDC advises storing breast milk in the back of the freezer or refrigerator to preserve freshness for as long as possible.” // www.babycenter.com/404_how-long-does-breast-milk-stay-fresh_8918.bc
If you have an insulated cooler, freshly expressed breast milk can typically last (with the addition of ice packs) for up to 24 hours.
An important thing to remember is that the longer your milk is stored, the greater the Vitamin C loss in the milk. Also, breast milk changes over time. The milk you express just after your baby is born won’t be the same and won’t meet the same needs of your baby when she is a few months older.
Once thawed, it is generally best not to refreeze the milk. You’ll want to complete the feeding within 4 hours or less, but you can put it back in the fridge for up to 24 hours if it was thawed in the fridge but not warmed.
If anything falls outside those parameters, it’s time to discard the milk and start again!
So, how long can you store breast milk? Think temperature. If you’re unsure about how long something has been in storage, just express again and don’t take the risk.
Featured image source: www.expressing-mama.com