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Storing and defrosting your breast milk

Storing and defrosting your breast milk


Storing the milk

Defrosting and warming stored breast milk

birth TIPS

Once you have expressed your precious breast milk, you can now look at options for storing it until your baby needs to drink it. In most cases, this will be either to freeze the milk for up to 3 months (or more), or to store it in the fridge for a few hours (or a few days). You can store your breast milk in sterilised baby feeding bottles or special plastic bags or 'milk pouches' (that are disposable and sealable-available at chemists). Be aware that plastic bottles (rather than glass bottles) are usually recommended. This is because the important anti-infective agents in breast milk can stick to the glass, depriving your baby from having these in their milk.

You can store your milk in a bottle 'ready to go', or pour it into the special plastic bags, defrosting these before pouring the milk into a bottle to feed your baby. You may wish to consider storing some smaller amounts of milk in separate containers, in case your baby is still hungry after having their 'allocated bottle'. This means you do not have to defrost a whole bottle (100 to 200 mls or more), for your baby to have a 30 ml 'top-up', then needing to discard the rest of the milk because it cannot be re-used.

A few mothers will place some of their expressed breast milk into sterilised plastic ice cube trays (covered with a freezer bag). This can allow small amounts of the milk to be 'added' to the baby's bottle, or the cube could be defrosted to place in rice cereals, when the baby is having solid foods.

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