How to Start Storing Breast Milk: A Simple Guide for New Moms

How to Start Storing Breast Milk

Congratulations, new mom! You might discover that you need to conserve breast milk when you start your nursing adventure. Knowing how to start storing breast milk is crucial, whether you’re going back to work, have to be away for a few hours, or just want to have a backup supply. In this guide, we’ll walk you through the process of storing breast milk so you can make sure your baby gets the best nutrition even if you’re not there.

Why Store Breast Milk?

Having breast milk to store can bring flexibility and peace of mind.'” It enables other individuals, such as your partner or a babysitter, to nourish your child when you’re not present. ” This is also beneficial for situations where you need to reduce engorgement or drink excessive amounts of milk. The correct storage of breast milk helps to maintain the vital nutrients and antibodies in the milk, ensuring that your baby is getting the right nutrition.

Preparing for Successful Breast Milk Storage

Prior to storing breast milk, gather the necessary items, such as breast tissue storage bottles, a breast pump and labels, and freezer wraps. The process will be more efficient with these tools. Additionally, take measures to maintain a clean and tidy environment. Keep your hands hygienic while washing equipment to prevent contamination.

Guidelines for the storage of breast milk

Breast milk is best stored properly. If you want to use the milk within four hours, it can be kept at room temperature (around 77°F or 25°C). Why? To prolong its shelf life, keep it in the refrigerator at 32–39°F (0–4°C). The best way to store things is by freezing them for an extended period of time. To use the milk with the oldest contents, mark each container with a date.

Breast milk storage while at work or on the move

How to Start Storing Breast Milk

Breastmilk can be easily stored for breastfeeding mothers who work or need to travel. To prevent the milk from getting mishandled, use cooler bags and ice packs. Upon arrival, transfer the milk to a refrigerator or freezer without delay. The storage regulations remain unchanged during travel.

Advice for handling breast milk

For optimal quality and safety, here are some do’s and don’ts for safely storing breast milk:


  • Label containers with the date to track freshness.
  • Leave some space at the top of the container when freezing to account for expansion.
  • Wash containers, pump parts, and your hands thoroughly before expressing and storing milk.
  • Use breast milk within the recommended timeframes for the best quality.


  • Don’t use a microwave to thaw or warm breast milk, as it can create hot spots and damage nutrients.
  • Don’t mix freshly pumped milk with frozen milk unless you plan to use it immediately.

Mature breast milk should not be heated in a microwave, as it can cause hot spots and damage to the nutrients.

Tips for Properly Thawing Frozen Breast Milk

Thawing frozen breast milk is a crucial step in the process of using stored milk. Here’s how to do it safely and effectively:

  • Gradual Thawing: Avoid using hot water or the microwave to thaw breast milk, as this can destroy its valuable nutrients. Instead, opt for gradual thawing by placing the frozen milk in the refrigerator overnight.
  • Gentle Swirling: Once thawed, you might notice some separation in the milk. Don’t worry; this is normal. Gently swirl the container to mix the fat and liquid components before feeding.
  • Immediate Use: Once breast milk is thawed, use it within 24 hours. Do not refreeze previously frozen milk.

Maintaining a Breast Milk Storage Schedule

How to Start Storing Breast Milk

Establishing a consistent storage schedule can help you manage your breast milk supply efficiently. Here’s how to create a routine that works for you:

  • Pumping Frequency: Aim to pump around the same times your baby would typically feed. This helps signal your body to continue producing an adequate milk supply.
  • Storage Containers: Keep a supply of clean, labeled storage containers handy to immediately store freshly expressed milk.
  • Recording Dates: Label each container with the date of expression. This ensures you use the oldest milk first and minimizes waste.

Safely Transporting Breast Milk: Travel Tips

When you’re on the move, maintaining the quality of your stored breast milk is essential. Follow these travel-friendly tips:

  • Insulated Cooler Bags: Use insulated cooler bags with ice packs to keep your milk at the right temperature while traveling. This is especially important if you’re away from home for an extended period.
  • Plan Ahead: Estimate how much milk you’ll need during your outing and pack a little extra, just in case. It’s better to have more than not enough.
  • Immediate Storage: Once you reach your destination, transfer the breast milk promptly to a refrigerator or freezer to ensure its freshness.

Making the Most of Stored Breast Milk: Creative Uses

Beyond feeding, stored breast milk can serve various purposes. Here are some creative ways to utilize your liquid gold:

  • Breast Milk Baths: Adding a small amount of breast milk to your baby’s bathwater can be soothing for their skin. Its natural properties can help alleviate minor skin irritations.
  • Breast Milk Jewelry: Some artisans can turn a small amount of your breast milk into a unique keepsake, such as a pendant or bracelet. It’s a beautiful way to remember your breastfeeding journey.
  • Frozen Breast Milk Treats: If your baby is starting solids, consider using breast milk to create nutritious popsicles or puree cubes for an extra boost of nutrients.

Troubleshooting and FAQs

My stored milk has an unusual smell. Can I still use it?

Unusual smells might not necessarily indicate spoilage. Give the milk a sniff test; if it doesn’t smell rancid, it’s likely safe to use.

I see layers in my thawed milk. Is it still good?

Separation is normal in stored breast milk. Gently swirl the milk to remix the fat, and it’s good to go.

I’m worried about my milk supply. What should I do?

Consult a lactation consultant for guidance on increasing or maintaining your milk supply.

Can I mix fresh and frozen breast milk?

Yes, you can mix them if they’re both at the same temperature, but do so right before feeding.

How to Start Storing Breast Milk? Conclusion

It’s simple to keep breast milk in your hands. The key is to follow these guidelines for thawing your breast milk, keeping it on time during travel, and finding creative uses that can be used without harming your baby. Your milk is a reflection of your love and care as an individual, so remember to give it respect.