Medela Take 5: Breast Milk Storage - Freezing

Parenthood is a whole unknown world and no matter how many books you have read, classes you have attended, you’ll always have extra questions. We’re here to help with all things breastfeeding and delighted to introduce ‘Medela Take 5,’ where we’ll share 5 quick, informative and helpful tips each month on breastfeeding. First up, is the topic of storing expressed breast milk, specifically the freezing of breast milk.

Breastmilk Storage Bags in the freezer draw

You’ve mastered expressing and now you’re ready to store your liquid gold. Breast milk can be stored in the refrigerator or can be frozen for use on a later date.

Take a look at our Take 5 for some quick, concise and informed facts on freezing your breast milk:

  1. Freezing: Store smaller bottles for the first few times you start to offer your expressed milk to your baby. This will minimise any wastage. Ideally store in 50ml – 100mls, you can always give more if needed. Label the bottles or breast milk storage bags with the date of expression and use chronologically.

  2. Do not fill the bottles or bags more than 3/4 full as the milk will expand during freezing. Optimum freezing temperatures: -18 to -20 °C (0 to -4 °F)

  3. Your breast milk can be stored in a freezer for up to 12 months’ maximum. Ideally use within 6 months. For NICU infants, use within 3 months.

  4. Thawing: If thawing to room temperature, in order to preserve the components of the breast milk, use within 4 hours. If thawing to fridge temperature, use within 24 hours.

  5. Gently swirl the breast milk bottles or breast milk storage bags to mix any fats that have separated. Avoid shaking or stirring the milk.