In the first few days after delivery, breasts can become engorged with excess milk and mothers may find it convenient to express and store their breast milk for later use.
Tips For Storing Breast Milk
- Express breast milk, using a manual or electric breast pump.
- Wash your hands well with soap and water before handling the pre-sterilised bag.
- Mark each bag or container with the date and time when you expressed the milk.
- Tear open the bag horizontally along the perforated edge at the top, in the direction of the arrowhead.
- Hold the opened bag with one hand and use the other hand to pour the freshly expressed breast milk into the bag slowly, not filling the bag beyond 150ml.
- Before sealing the bag, squeeze out the air and use your fingers to zip close the bag.
- For best results, keep the bag upright, in a separate hard-sided container until the milk has frozen.
- Store breast milk bag or container in the back of the fridge for 24 hours or back of freezer for 3 months.
How To Thaw Frozen Breast Milk
- Always thaw/defrost the oldest breast milk first. Check the date and time written on each bag or container.
- Thaw the frozen milk overnight in the fridge, or, for immediate use, immerse the bag in warm (not hot) water until the milk is fully defrosted. Pour the milk into a sterilised feeding bottle, feeding cup or spoon.
- Never thaw frozen milk at room temperature, as this will enable bacteria to multiply in the milk.
- Never thaw breast milk in a microwave oven or boiling water. This will reduce the milk’s nutrients.
- Only warm the milk after it has been thawed/defrosted.
- Thawed milk can be stored in a fridge for up to 24 hours.
- Discard any remaining milk. Don’t refreeze thawed or partially thawed breast milk.
You will need a manual or electric breast pump and storage containers. These can be cups or bags.
See examples below.