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HOW TO STORE YOUR BREAST MILK?

Store, freeze, thaw and warm breast milk.

Source: Cécile MONIN-FORESTIER, IBCLC Lactation Consultant and Breastfeeding Trainer, Facilitator and Trainer in Sign-Enriched Communication.

HOW TO STORE YOUR BREAST MILK?

Do you want to express your breast milk? Whether you are a breastfeeding pump, whether you want to increase your lactation , relieve engorgement , build up a milk supply , make a donation to the milk bank … or whether you express your milk because you are going to be away or travel… There are certain rules to know/respect to properly store your breast milk, whether it is expressed manually or with your breast pump .

  • Freshly expressed, unheated, and unfrozen milk is called “fresh milk”.
  • The milk is naturally divided into two parts: milk and cream, the homogenization will allow to mix the 2 parts. 
  • If baby is born full term and in good health, milks expressed within 24 hours can be mixed as long as they are at the same temperature.

THE DIFFERENT POSSIBILITIES FOR STORAGE OF FRESH BREAST MILK:

Breast milk at room temperature ( 24-26 degrees): storage for 4 to 6 hours

Breast milk in a cooler with ice pack (15 degrees): storage for 24 hours

Breast milk in the fridge (0-4 degrees): storage for 5 days or even a maximum of up to 8 days provided that your fridge is cleaned every week, that the mother is breastfeeding a baby born at term and in good health, that the milk is expressed under optimal hygienic conditions (hand washing, clean containers).

CAUTION, place your milk in the cold part, never store your breast milk in the fridge door.

Breast milk in the freezer (between -4 degrees and -12 degrees): storage for up to 15 days.

Breast milk in the freezer (-18 degrees): for 6 months or even up to 12 months

For a baby born at term and in good health, it is possible to mix the milks expressed at different times of the same day. It is imperative that the milks are at the same temperature before mixing them, the milks will all be cooled and then mixed.

The expressed milk can be put in the freezer for 48 hours max after the 1st collection.

Pay attention to the accumulation of storage times!!

Be careful not to break the cold chain

DO NOT REFREEZE thawed milk

THE DIFFERENT POSSIBILITIES FOR DEFROSTING BREAST MILK:

Breast milk can thaw in several ways,

  • You can thaw your breast milk slowly in the refrigerator , it can take 8 to 12 hours.
  • You can also thaw your breast milk at room temperature , for the current meal, it should be consumed within an hour.
  • You can also thaw your breast milk under cold water by gradually adding hot water.
  • Finally, you can thaw your breast milk in a bain-marie or bottle warmer.

Check that your container is compatible with the temperature of boiling water. And above all, remember to check the temperature of your milk before giving it to your child.

TIPS: Avoid the use of the microwave which alters the quality of breast milk

Thawed milk can be used within 24 hours provided it is refrigerated.

Once warmed, your breast milk should be consumed within 30 minutes.

ALL THIS INFORMATION ON STORAGE AND THAWING BREAST MILK COMES FROM ILCA (International Lactation Consultant Association)

WARM UP BREAST MILK:

Your breast milk can be warmed in a bain-marie or bottle warmer, or under running cold water by gradually adding hot water.

Do not heat it directly in a saucepan or in the microwave and do not bring it to a boil.

A breast milk can be reheated twice maximum, if it has been placed in the refrigerator in the meantime and if it is consumed within 24 hours after its first reheating.

Storing thawed breast milk:

  • Thawed in the refrigerator and not reheated:
    • At room temperature: 4 hours.
    • In the refrigerator: 24 hours.
  • Thawed at room temperature or in hot water:
    • At room temperature: to complete the current meal.
    • In the refrigerator: 4 hours.

Source: Cécile MONIN-FORESTIER, IBCLC Lactation Consultant and Breastfeeding Trainer, Facilitator and Trainer in Sign-Enriched Communication.

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