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How to store breast milk properly.

By Rose Le Blanc (she/her), Lactation Consultant

Text Transcription

Hi everyone, I just wanted to come on and talk a little bit about milk storage.

There’s a lot of confusion, a lot of mixed information out there on the internet. So I thought I would clarify some of that for all of you.

So when it comes to milk, putting it in the fridge, we can keep the milk there for seven days. You want to store it in the back of the fridge, not close to the door. That’s probably the temperature where it’s going to stay the same and stay nice and cool.

If you’re keeping it in the freezer, it can stay in the freezer, a separate freezer outside of the refrigerator for six months.  If it’s a freezer that’s inside a refrigerator, it will only last two weeks. *To clarify, the separate freezer mentioned in the video refers to a refrigerator with a bottom freezer, top freezer or side freezer. It doesn’t have to be detached from the refrigerator. It is basically a separate drawer that’s attached to the refrigerator but not inside of it. A chest freezer is a freezer that is completely separate from the fridge and breast milk stored in this type of fridge will last one year. A freezer inside a refrigerator is one that is not a separate drawer and is literally inside your refrigerator. This type of refrigerator is no longer common in most people’s kitchens. It’s usually used as an addition to the main refrigerator or can be found in places like hotel rooms.*

When it comes to defrosting your frozen milk, you want to do it slowly. Ideally putting it into the refrigerator and letting it slowly come to refrigerator temperature, and then bringing it out to room temperature. If you want to do it a little bit faster, you can put it in a bowl of cool water and slowly bring it to room temperature that way.

Now, if you’re pumping it and then you’re leaving it out and you want to give it to your baby soon after you’ve pumped it, you can leave your breast milk out at room temperature that’s no more than 27 degrees, for up to six hours. Now, if it’s warmer in your home and you know, we’re getting into the thirties Celsius, then you probably only have a couple hours where you can leave it out.

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When it comes to giving your milk, whether they’re warm or cool, you don’t need to give it warm. It can be offered to your baby on the cooler side. Babies often don’t care whether it’s not warm or not. So you don’t need to warm it up to a certain temperature. Of course, you never want to warm it up too much. So you’re never putting it in the microwave. Ideally, you’re just bringing it to room temperature, or even offering it on the cooler side. I hope that clarifies, bye everyone.

Rose Le Blanc  is a lactation consultant here at West End Mamas.  She is a graduate of Newman Breastfeeding Clinic Lactation Medicine Program and a CAPPA Certified Postpartum Doula. She also holds an honours degree in Anthropology from the University of Toronto and a degree in Social Work from York University. After hours, you can find her with her partner and three active children.

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