Storing Breastmilk

During breastfeeding it is likely you will express and store your milk. Perhaps you’re planning on a night out or you might be stocking up for when you go back to work. Whatever your purpose breastmilk is easy and safe to store.

What to store breastmilk in?

Expressed milk stored in a fridge can be kept in sterile bottles. Labelled with date and time.

If you’re storing breastmilk in the freezer, you can buy milk storage bags or use a sterile ice cube tray with a lid.

What’s the shelf life of breastmilk?

Breastmilk lasts ages due to its superb antibacterial properties. It actually fights and kills bad bacteria, it is a disease fighting super-juice.

Room temperature
Breastmilk can sit out at room temperature for up to 6 hours and still be fine to give to baby. Make sure it’s in a sterile container with a sealed top. Store in a cool place, not next to a fire, heater or radiator.

If you’re NOT planning on using the milk straight away then it’s advisable to store it in the fridge.
Breastmilk stored at 2-5 degrees in the back of a fridge and will last up to 8 days. Be sure to label it with a date and time. Avoid storing milk in the door of the fridge as the temperature may not be stable.

For long term milk storage, store in the freezer at – 18 degrees or below for up to 6 months.

If you only have a freezer compartment you need to use the milk within one month.

To defrost expressed breast milk, take it out of the freezer and thaw it in the fridge. Use it immediately once it’s been thawed and discard any unused milk. Do not heat up frozen milk, or put it in a microwave as it looses its antibacterial properties.

You can warm the thawed breast milk in a bowl of hot water immediately before feeding it to your baby. Milk taken out of the fridge that’s unused should be discarded.

For more details on breastmilk storage, check the NHS website: