As a new mother, you probably have a lot of questions about how to feed and care for your newborn, including how to store breast milk. Safely storing breast milk helps make sure your baby gets the nutrients they need and prevents harmful bacteria from forming.
When you’re lactating, the temperature of your breast milk is about the same as your body, around 98.6 degrees Fahrenheit (F) or 37 degrees Celsius (C). It’s safe for your baby to drink freshly expressed breast milk at this temperature, directly from your breast.
If you have excess breast milk, you can store it at room temperature for up to four hours. Room temperature is around 77 degrees F (25 degrees C) or colder.
Be sure to wash your hands thoroughly before handling breast milk, and use a clean container that you can close or seal.
In a sealed container, breast milk will keep longer in the fridge than at room temperature. You can safely store breast milk in the refrigerator for up to four days.
If you store breast milk in the fridge, it can be useful to label each container with the date and time the milk was expressed. You can use waterproof labels and store the containers sequentially. This makes it easy to know how fresh the milk in each container is. Pro tip: the back of your fridge typically maintains the most stable temperature.
To warm up stored breast milk, put the sealed container in a bowl of lukewarm water. Warmed milk is safe to drink within two hours of being reheated.