If you are a breast-feeding mother and going back to work or looking for more flexibility, you are probably considering using a breast pump. Once you start pumping, it’s important to know how to safely store your expressed milk.


Before expressing or handling breast milk, wash your hands with soap and water. Then store the expressed milk in a clean, capped glass or sterile bottles or bags. It has been seen that expressed breast milk can be kept safely and it all depends on the storage method.

There are certain guidelines for the mothers for keeping the breast milk for their babies:

  • Room temperature-Freshly expressed breast milk can be kept at room temperature for up to six hours. However, use or proper storage within four hours is optimal. If the room is especially warm, the limit is also four hours.


  • Insulated Bags-Freshly expressed breast milk can be stored in an insulated cooler with ice packs for up to one day.


  • Refrigerator-Freshly expressed breast milk can be stored in the back of the refrigerator for up to five days in clean conditions. However, use or freezer storage within three days is optimal.


  • Deep freezer-Freshly expressed breast milk can be stored in the back of a deep freezer for up to 12 months. However, using the frozen milk within six months is optimal.


It’s also important to note that breast milk expressed when a baby is a newly born won’t be needed much as completely meet the same baby’s needs when he or she is a few months older. Also, storage guidelines might differ for preterm or sick babies.