The following guidelines apply for mothers who have healthy full term babies. Guidelines may be different for a mother who is pumping and storing milk for a sick or premature baby. In this case check with hospital staff for specific guidelines.
STORING MILK IN THE REFRIGERATOR
* Breastmilk may be kept in the refrigerator for up to 8 days.
* Breastmilk looks thin and bluish-white. When refrigerated fat rises to the top, so shake gently before using.
* Refrigerated breastmilk is best kept in plastic bottles or containers because the white cells, (leukocytes) of the milk adhere to glass.
* You may add fresh chilled milk to a container of breastmilk that you have in the fridge already.
* Put a label with a date on each container.
STORING MILK IN THE FREEZER
* Chill milk in refrigerator before freezing it.
* You can use either glass or plastic containers because with freezing some of the leukocytes and nutrients are destroyed anyway, therefore if your milk will be used within
8 days it's best to store the milk in the refrigerator.
* Freeze the milk in small portions (2-4 ounces, 60-120 ml) so there won't be much waste
when baby doesn't finish a bottle. Smaller amounts are also easier and faster to thaw and
* You can add fresh, chilled milk to a container with already frozen milk.
* When milk freezes it expands, so don't fill containers to the top, leave some room for expansion, don't tighten caps until milk is frozen.
* Always put a label with date on each container.
FROZEN MILK KEEPS FOR:
* Up to 2 weeks in a freezer compartment in the refrigerator.
* 3-6 months in a refrigerator freezer with a separate door, store milk in the back of the freezer.
* 6-12 months in a separate deep freezer (chest-type freezer).
HOW TO THAW AND WARM UP BREASTMILK
* You can thaw a container with frozen milk by holding it under cool running water and gradually add warm water until the milk is thawed and heated to room temperature.
* You can also put the container in a pan of warm water, previously heated on the stove.
* Thawed milk may be kept in the refrigerator for up to 24 hours.
* Use the microwave to heat up breastmilk, or heat milk directly on the stove. Some components of the milk can be destroyed this way. Also, microwaves heat liquids unevenly, causing "hot spots" in the milk that could burn the baby.
* Refreeze thawed milk.
Breastfeeding - Advantages for Mother and Baby
How the breast works and prenatal nipple care.
Positioning of the baby on the breast.
How often and how long should I breastfeed my baby.
Is my Baby getting enough milk?
When your baby cries
Engorgement, plugged ducts, breast infection and sore nipples
Breastfeeding and working.
Family planning while breastfeeding