How to Store Breastmilk

Breastmilk, the liquid gold. 
Here is a guide based on the guide distributed by the Australian Breastfeeding Association. 

It is important that breastmilk is properly chilled, frozen and stored.

There are two ways to store breastmilk: 
In the fridge: Expressed milk can be kept in the fridge at 4 degrees Celsius for up to 3 days before use. 
In the freezer: Breastmilk can be frozen for 2 weeks in the freezer compartment inside a refrigerator or frozen for up to 2 months in the freezer section of a refrigerator with a separate compartment. It can be kept in a deep freezer, frozen below -18 degrees Celsius, for up to 6-12 months. 

Freeze breastmilk in small quantities, like in ice block trays. Once frozen, store in good quality freezer bags. Label it with date and even time.  it is easier to thaw small quantities so if they are frozen in small containers like ice blocks, you can thaw only the amount you need without wastage. 
 - Thawed breastmilk that has not been heated can be stored in the refrigerator for 24 hours. 
 - Thawed breastmilk must not be re-frozen. 
 -  Breastmilk cannot be reheated if baby doesn't finish the feed. Only warm up small ammounts of breastmilk at a time.
 - You can add freshly expressed milk to chilled or frozen milk containers, but if you are adding to frozen, always cool it in the fridge first.

Store the breastmilk in clean sterile containers. These containers that have been really well washed in hot water and mild detergent, rinsed well with lean water and dried with new paper towel or air-dried. 

Containers suitable for storing breast milk include:
 - Plastic baby bottles
 - Special breastmilk freezer bags, available from chemist and specialized stores.
 - Freezable plastic cups or containers with lids
 - if you are expressing several times a day, your manual breast pump or pumping kit can be stored inside the fridge between sessions. Put it inside a clean plastic bag or closed container. Otherwise rinse the pump parts in cold water after each use and store in clean, closed container.
 - At least once every 24 hours wash / sterilize the pump / parts.

Thawing and Warming milk:
 - Frozen breastmilk can be thawed in the fridge over 24 hours or warmed quickly in hot water. Do NOT microwave it and do NOT leave it to stand in room temperature.
 - Place the container under the tap with cold water, gradually warming to water until the content becomes liquid.
 - Warm it (Chilled or thawed) in a jug or saucepan of hot water until is body temperature and then give it a gently mix.

Happy Feeding!

Vic Lic

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