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Tips For Pregnant Mums

Pumping Breastmilk - Recommendations for storing, thawing, and heating pumped breastmilk

12 February 2020

The effort of pumping breastmilk is worthwhile for mothers who want to keep up breastfeeding when they return to work, travel, or are absent for any reason.

However, it is very important to make sure that pumped breastmilk is stored under the proper conditions.  This article has all the important rules for pumping, refrigeration, thawing, and heating pumped breastmilk.

Bookmark this for future reference.

Pumped Breastmilk – Storage Conditions and Lifespan

  • 25°Celsius (air-conditioned room in the summer): 4-6 hours
  • 20°Celsius (indoors in the winter): 8-10 hours
  • 15°Celsius (cooler): 10-24 hours
  • Refrigerator (the coldest part, not in the door): up to 5 days
  • Freezer: 3-4 months
  • Deep Freezer: up to 6 months

Recommendations for Thawing and Heating Pumped Breastmilk

  • Pumped breastmilk can be left at room temperature only until the next feeding.
  • It is recommended to store pumped breastmilk in quantities of up to 60 ml. An infant’s stomach is the size of his fist, so that will act as a good measure for your milk supply. Remember this measurement when you are bottle-feeding your baby, or as you pump.
  • Pumped breastmilk can be stored in designated bags or reusable bottles.
  • Pumped milk that was stored in the refrigerator for a few hours can still be frozen.
  • It is recommended to thaw frozen breastmilk in the refrigerator.
  • If you must thaw breastmilk quickly, it is recommended to place the bottle under warm running water, or in a cup of hot water – not above 60°C.
  • Do not thaw or warm breastmilk in the microwave!
  • Do not boil or cook breastmilk. It can damage the nutrients.
  • You should heat the breastmilk to as close as possible to body temperature, but you can also offer cold or room-temperature breastmilk to your baby.
  • Before feeding, lightly test the temperature of the breastmilk on the inside of your wrist. If it feels pleasant, it is fine for your baby.
  • Thawed breastmilk should be used within 24 hours and never refrozen.
  • Do not reheat breastmilk that has been heated once before. Give it to your baby at the next feeding and then throw away what is left over.
  • After several hours in the refrigerator the breastmilk can secrete fat deposits. This is normal and does not indicate spoiled milk.
  • It is easy to identify spoiled breastmilk by its sour smell. If you think the milk is spoiled, throw it out immediately.

An Important Recommendation!

Feeding your baby from a bottle within the first few months is not recommended.  Instead, allow breastfeeding to develop naturally.  Bottle feeding can cause nipple confusion and lead to difficulties with breastfeeding.  Therefore even in the delivery room, it is important to notify medical personnel that you intend to breastfeed and therefore your baby should not be given a bottle without your permission.

You can read more about breastmilk here.