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How do I store my milk?

• Put your breast milk in clean bottles or breast milk storage bags that are labeled “BPA Free.”
• Store about 2-4 ounces per bottle or bag for the first 6 months.
• Once your baby starts solid foods the amount that you will need to store for your baby may decrease.
• Label containers with the date pumped and the baby’s name.
• Use the oldest milk first.
• At work or school, store breast milk in a cooler with ice packs or in a refrigerator.
• If your stored breast milk smells sour, throw it out.
• Thaw breast milk in the refrigerator overnight or in a bowl of warm water.
• Never microwave breast milk.

Breast milk storage guidelines for healthy full-term babies


Fresh Breast Milk

Thawed Breast Milk



3-4 hours

1-2 hours

Room temperature must not be higher than 85°F or 29°C. Containers should be covered and kept as cool as possible.

Insulated cooler bag

24 hours

For transport only

Keep ice packs in contact with milk containers and limit opening the cooler bag.


3 days

24 hours

At or below 39°F or 4°C

Freezer section inside a refrigerator

2 weeks

Do not refreeze

At or below 5°F or minus 15°C

Freezer with separate door or deep freezer

6 months

Do not refreeze

Below 0°F or minus 18°C

Academy of Breastfeeding Medicine Protocol Committee (2010). ABM clinical protocol #8: human milk storage information for home use for full-term infants. Breastfeeding Medicine, 5 (3), p. 127-130.


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