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    Parents guide

    Home ›› An Easy Guide to the Best Way to Store Breast Milk 
    Home ›› An Easy Guide to the Best Way to Store Breast Milk 

    A quick guide to storing breast milk and serving it safely

     

    3 min. read

     

    Breastfeeding is a special time for every mom-baby duo, but like all good things, it'll come to an end eventually. That's when storing breast milk can be very useful. It allows you to go back to work or spend time away from your baby safe in the knowledge that they're getting the wonderful nutrients they need from your breast milk.
     

    But what’s the best way to store breast milk? And what should you keep in mind when warming it up? We’ve put together this guide on how to store breast milk to help you serve up healthy, nutrient-packed bottle feeds every time.

    Breast milk rules: breast milk storage time


    First, let’s look at the ins and outs of how to store breast milk after pumping.
     

    Breast milk is pretty durable provided it’s sealed in a sterilized airtight container and chilled at a consistent temperature. As a busy parent, you may not always have time to sterilize containers yourself, so you may find pre-sterilized disposable storage bags useful - easy to store and freezer-safe.

     

    How long the milk lasts will depend on where you store it. Here’s a quick rundown of the breast milk storage rules:

     

    • Room temperature: up to four hours
    • Refrigeration: up to five days at 39.2°F (4°C) or lower 
    • Freezer: up to six months 1

     

    If all this sounds like a lot to remember, fear not! The best way to avoid any confusion when storing breast milk is to label all your containers with use-by dates. Use the oldest milk first.

    Of course, sometimes you might need to transport milk, so use an insulated cool bag on those occasions.


    You might be wondering if you can let breast milk stand and then chill. Unfortunately not. The key to not spoiling breast milk is to keep it at a consistent temperature – so if you’re planning on refrigerating or freezing it’s best to do this as soon as possible.

     

    If you’re struggling to produce enough milk, our article on how to increase milk supply is here to help.

    What you need

    Philips Avent

    Breast milk storage cups

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      Philips Avent Breast milk storage cups

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      Store breast milk securely

      Express, store and feed your breast milk efficiently, with our new storage cup. Sterilize and re-use the storage cup with the Philips AVENT pump or teats-one system, many options! See all benefits

      Store breast milk securely

      Express, store and feed your breast milk efficiently, with our new storage cup. Sterilize and re-use the storage cup with the Philips AVENT pump or teats-one system, many options! See all benefits

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    Store breast milk securely

    Express, store and feed your breast milk efficiently, with our new storage cup. Sterilize and re-use the storage cup with the Philips AVENT pump or teats-one system, many options! See all benefits

    Store breast milk securely

    Express, store and feed your breast milk efficiently, with our new storage cup. Sterilize and re-use the storage cup with the Philips AVENT pump or teats-one system, many options! See all benefits

    Breast milk rules: how to warm and serve

     

    Now that we’ve gone over how to store breast milk, let’s move on to warming it up.

     

    Warming breast milk means heating it to somewhere between body and room temperature, although some babies don’t mind it a little chilled.
     

    The easiest and safest way to warm milk, regardless of your milk storage method, is to use a baby bottle warmer. We don’t recommend using a microwave because they tend to create uneven hot spots that can burn your little one’s mouth. A baby bottle warmer, on the other hand, allows you to warm milk evenly – and preserves the quality of the milk by heating it gently.

     

    What if you’ve frozen your breast milk? Freezer storage doesn’t make warming the milk that much harder. Frozen milk can be thawed: 1

     

    • Gently in a baby bottle warmer (safer than defrosting in a microwave, preventing hot spots)
    • In the refrigerator
    • Under lukewarm running water
    • In a bowl of warm water

     

    Once it’s thawed, don’t refreeze it.
     

    If you don’t have access to a baby bottle warmer, and you’re warming milk by placing it in a bowl of warm water, remember to test the temperature of the bottle on your skin before serving it to your little one.

     

    Happy bottle feeding!

     

    Want to know more about our bottle warmers and sterilizers? Click here to explore the range.

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    Centers for Disease Control and Prevention - Proper Storage and Preparation of Breast Milk