How Long Is It Possible to Store Breast Milk?

How Long Is It Possible to Store Breast Milk

Being a nursing mom is not easy. You have to be around the child to guess his signs and keep him comfortable. Babies mostly demand milk, a calm environment to play, and a soothing nap. You will get a lot of time to spend with the child for the first few months.

Things won’t be the same when the child is 2-3 months old. You may get busy with household chores or your job. It might not be possible to breastfeed the child whenever he demands. Therefore, you will have to find another way of feeding the baby.

It is too early to feed formula milk to the baby if he is not 6 months old. Breastfeeding will continue for at least 2 years. You can store breast milk in milk bottles to feed the baby on demand. Continue reading to learn how to store breast milk and what the right breast milk storage time is.

How Long You Can Store Breast Milk at Room Temperature?

It is not always possible to find a refrigerator to preserve breast milk. Your company may not provide this facility. Therefore, you will have to store breast milk at room temperature. Breast milk does not stay useful at room temperature for a long time.

You should carefully check the marking on the milk bottle. Feed breast milk before it expires otherwise it can cause health issues. Many parents make this mistake and then the child suffers from digestive tract diseases.

How long you can store colostrums at room temperature?

You can store colostrums at room temperature (27°C-32°C) for 12 hours. It will expire after 10-12 hours. So, feed it to the child before it’s too late.

How long you can store mature milk at room temperature?

Mature milk is the milk produced after 6-7 days of the child’s delivery. You can store it at 15°C for a day. It does not lose the nutritious values for 10-12 hours at room temperature of 19°C-22°C. It will stay useful only for 6 hours if stored at 25°C.

Breast milk’s preservation time reduces as the temperature increases. It starts decomposing when you store it for a long time at room temperature. Fresh breast milk has a bluish tone. It gets yellow as time passes and becomes harmful for the child when stored for 12-24 hours.

You should carefully check the storage time according to the temperature of the room. You should breastfeed if it’s too late.

How Long You Can Store Breast Milk In A Cold Storage?

Cold storage offers the best way out for prolonged preservation of breast milk. Suppose you work in a company that offers a refrigerator, you can store breast milk in it. Use a breast pump to squeeze out the milk and store it in sanitized bottles. Take those bottles with you in an insulated pocket to the workplace and store them in a refrigerator.

You should avoid storing breast milk for too long if you are traveling. You may not find cold storage solution on a flight or in a car. Insulated pockets maintain the right temperature for just a few hours. Breast milk will soon decompose and then you can’t use it!

The storage time for breast milk in cold storage is as follows

You can store breast milk for eight days in a refrigerator at 0-4°C temperature. It won’t decompose and stay edible for the mentioned time.

Suppose you are using a small freezer box, it can preserve breast milk for 8-15 days. You will have to ensure that the temperature does not rise in the freezer box.

You can preserve breast milk for 3-4 months if stored in a separate freezer. Do not open its door quite often because there won’t be an ideal temperature to store breast milk for prolonged periods.  

It is also possible to preserve breast milk for up to 6 months if you are using a deep freezer. The temperature must be below 0°C and you should not open the door of the freezer too often.

Breast milk’s shelf life increases when you store it in a refrigerator or another cold storage unit. All parents do not own an expensive freezer. Refrigerator is commonly available at every home and office. Therefore, it is the right place to store breast milk for a day or more days. It won’t decompose or lose its nutritional values.

How to feed breast milk preserved in cold storage?

Breast milk turns solid when stored in a cold storage unit for a long time. You can feed it cold to the child. You have to thaw it and feed it at the right temperature to keep the child healthy.

Take the cold breast milk bottle out and put it under a running water tap. Milk temperature will gradually increase and then you can heat it to feed the child.  Suppose you don’t have that much time, put the milk bottle in a pot of boiling water. It will thaw out quickly and then you can feed it to the baby.

Do not use a microwave oven to heat breast milk. It destroys the nutritional value of milk and makes it harmful for the child. Use the heating solution suggested in this post. Thus, the milk will thaw and heat evenly and it will be ready for feeding within a few minutes. Do not boil the milk, just gradually heat it to make feeding comfortable for the child.

What Is the Best Way of Preserving Breast Milk?

Preserving breast milk for prolonged periods is not quite difficult. You have to learn the scientific way of doing it to prevent milk from decomposing quickly. Start the preparation 1-2 weeks before you decide to go back to work.

You will have to adjust the breastfeeding time according to the time when you get breaks. 1-2 weeks is enough for the baby to adapt to the new feeding methods. Always feed the child before you go to work and be there when the child may need food.  

Your child will be 5-6 months old when you join the office of the company again. He will need food every 4-5 hours. Take breaks accordingly and prepare enough milk for each serving. Follow the below-given tips to preserve breast milk for prolonged periods.

Things You Need For Breast Milk Storage

Get a breast pump to pour milk. Buy 4-5 milk bottles for storing breast milk. Lastly, you will need a sterilizer to sanitize all the milk bottles every day. Always use a BPA-free milk bottle and utensil. An insulated pouch will be quite helpful in maintaining the cool or normal temperature of the milk.

Using breast pump

Follow the directions given on the breast pump to squeeze milk properly. Make sure you do not hurt yourself while squeezing milk out. It should not cause pain in your breast. You may need to change the pump if it hurts or meet the doctor for further assistance.

Store milk in clean bottles

Use the sterilizer to kill all the germs accumulated in the milk bottle. Now, fill the bottle with breast milk. Store those bottles in your refrigerator to take them out when you are leaving the home for work.

Carry milk bottles in an insulated pouch

Buy a diaper bag that comes with insulated pockets for storing breast milk. This bag will make it so easy to store and carry baby essentials. Take the milk bottles out when you reach the workplace. Store milk bottles in a refrigerator and follow the right thawing method to thaw the milk and heat it.

What to Check Before Storing Breast Milk for Prolonged Periods?

There are a few important things you should check before storing breast milk, which are:

  • Make sure the storage unit is perfectly clean. Avoid the use of a refrigerator where you usually store daily-used foods. Germs can easily infect milk bottles and then your child.
  • Check the cooling capacity of the cold storage unit to evaluate how long it can preserve breast milk.
  • Never feed cold milk to the child. Find a way to thaw out milk and then feed it to the baby.
  • Make sure milk bottles are perfectly cleaned before storing breast milk. Sterilize each bottle and then use it for milk storage.
  • It won’t be necessary to store breast milk in a refrigerator if the room temperature is below 30°. It does not expire within 6-8 hours if stored at room temperature.


Some mothers have no choice but to rejoin the job to provide a better life to the child. Both parents work throughout the day and mothers take responsibility for the child. Breast milk storage solutions help the nursing mother in feeding the child on time.

We have shared information regarding breast milk storage time in different conditions. Choose a suitable way to store breast milk and follow the right method to maintain its quality. Thus, your child will always get nutritious milk to fill his tummy. It will work much better if you try combination feeding after 6 months.

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