How to Store Breast Milk Pumped with a Breast Pump

Breast Pump

Proper storage of breast milk is crucial to maintain its quality and ensure its safety for feeding your baby. When using a breast pump to express breast milk, understanding the correct storage guidelines is essential to preserve the nutritional value of the milk and prevent contamination. By following recommended storage practices, you can safely store pumped breast milk for future use while maintaining its integrity. Here are important guidelines on how to store breast milk pumped with a smart breast pump effectively:

Tips of Storing Breast Milk

1. Use Clean Containers

Always use clean containers, such as BPA-free storage bags or breast milk storage bottles, to store pumped breast milk. Wash your hands thoroughly before handling the containers to prevent contamination.

2. Label and Date

Label each container with the date the milk was expressed using a non-toxic marker. This helps you keep track of the freshness of the stored milk and ensures that you use the oldest milk first.

3. Temperature Guidelines

Room Temperature: Freshly expressed breast milk can be stored at room temperature (up to 77°F or 25°C) for up to 4 hours. If the room is warm (above 77°F or 25°C), the milk should be refrigerated after 1 to 2 hours.

Refrigerator: Store breast milk in the refrigerator at 32-39°F (0-3.9°C). It can be kept for up to 4 days in the back of the refrigerator, away from the door, to maintain a consistent temperature.

Freezer: Breast milk can be stored in the freezer compartment of a refrigerator with a separate door for up to 2 weeks. If you have a separate deep freezer, breast milk can be stored for up to 6 months.

4. Expressed Milk at Work

If you are pumping at work and do not have access to a refrigerator, consider using a cooler with ice packs to store the pumped milk until you can transfer it to a refrigerator.

5. Avoid Microwaving

To thaw frozen breast milk, place the container in a bowl of warm water. Avoid using a microwave, as it can cause uneven heating and destroy valuable nutrients in the breast milk.

6. Combining Milk from Different Sessions

If you are combining milk expressed from different sessions on the same day, make sure the milk is at the same temperature before combining it in a clean container.

Breast Pump

7. Thawing Frozen Milk

When thawing frozen breast milk, do so gradually by placing the container in the refrigerator overnight or under warm running water. Avoid thawing at room temperature to prevent bacterial growth.

8. Safe Handling Practices

To mix the milk layers that may have separated during storage, gently swirl the container. Avoid shaking vigorously, as this can break down some of the beneficial components in the breast milk.

9. Disposable Storage Bags

If using disposable breast milk storage bags, ensure they are specifically designed for storing breast milk. Follow the manufacturer’s instructions for sealing and storing the bags properly.

10. Storage Guidelines for Preterm Babies

If you are storing breast milk for a preterm baby, consult with your healthcare provider for specific storage guidelines as preterm infants may have different nutritional needs and storage requirements.

11. Transporting Expressed Milk

Insulated Cooler: When transporting expressed breast milk, use an insulated cooler with ice packs to maintain the appropriate temperature until you can refrigerate or freeze the milk.


All in all, if breast milk has been left out at room temperature for longer than 4 hours, it should be discarded to prevent bacterial contamination. Similarly, if breast milk has an off smell or unusual appearance, it should be discarded.

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