Friday, August 20, 2010

Handling and Storing Human Milk

Human milk needs to be handled differently than either formula or cow's milk from the store. The table shown below (thanks to gives the standard guidelines for how long milk is viable at various temperatures:

Human Milk Storage - Quick Reference Guide*

Room Temperatures
Warm room (79°F) 4-6 hours
Normal room temp (66-72°F) 10 hours
Insulated Cooler with ice pack (50-60°F) 24 hours
Refrigerator Storage**  
Freshly pumped 8 days
Thawed from frozen 24 hours
Freezer (never refreeze!)**  
Typical freezer (30°F) 3-6 months
Deep freezer (0°F) 6-12 months
Temperature Storage Time

*These guidelines are intended only for a healthy, full term baby! 
**For best results, store milk in the back of the refrigerator or freezer, away from the door. 

How do I know my milk is still good?
This one is simple,  the same way you know that cow's milk is still good, by smell!  Breastmilk that is too old or 'bad' will have a strong sour/spoiled smell and should be thrown away.  If it smells fine, it's safe to use.




    How do you store your milk? Do you use storage bags? It seems weird to store the milk laying down in the bags when it is only 2 ounces.

  2. I do - I use Gerber brand milk bags. I lay them down to freeze so that they're nice and thin, then store them vertically (like a file in a drawer) in a Tupperware bin. That way I can put new stuff in back, and use the old stuff from the front first so it doesn't expire. It does look a bit weird, but they thaw faster that way too.


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