How long can you store breastmilk?

bottle-feedingAs every breastfeeding mom will tell you, breastmilk is precious and you want to keep it around as long as it’s safe to do so. You can keep pumped breastmilk in the refrigerator or freezer in either bottles or bags made just for storing breastmilk. It doesn’t last forever, so be sure to write the date on the container before you store it. So, how long will it last?

• In the refrigerator (temperature must be 32-39 degrees F), breastmilk can be kept for 5-8 days.
• If stored in the freezer inside your refrigerator, it will keep for two weeks.
• If your refrigerator has a freezer with a separate door (top, bottom or side-by-side), it will keep 3-6 months.
• If you have a separate, stand-alone freezer, breastmilk will keep for 6-12 months.

When you’re ready to use it, thaw and warm the milk. Don’t put it in the microwave because it can get too hot in there. Instead, put a bag or bottle of frozen milk under cold running water. To warm milk, put the bottle or bag under hot running water or in a bowl of warm water. Shake the bottle or bag to even out the temperature throughout the container. Be sure to put a drop or two of milk on the inside of your wrist to test the temperature before giving it to your baby.