As you embark on the incredible journey of nurturing your little one, you'll find yourself encountering numerous moments of wonder, including the magical properties of breast milk. This liquid gold isn't just a source of nourishment; it's a testament to the incredible bond between you and your baby. To make the most of this precious elixir, let's dive into the art of storing breast milk with ease.

The Marvels of Breast Milk:

Before we delve into the storage tips, let's take a moment to marvel at the remarkable qualities of breast milk. It's not just a meal; it's a customised potion tailored to meet your baby's nutritional needs. Packed with antibodies, enzymes, and essential nutrients, breast milk is the superhero of infant nutrition. It adapts to your baby's changing requirements, offering protection against infections and fostering optimal growth. Plus, it's a delightful bonding experience that creates a sense of comfort and security for both you and your little one.

Whoever came up with the phrase “don’t cry over spilt milk” obviously didn’t ever spill breast milk they had spent time expressing! So let's talk about storage so that you don’t waste a drop of your precious milk! With the hustle and bustle of daily life, it's important to have a hassle-free method for storing breast milk. Here's a simple guide to keep things relaxed and efficient:

Choose the Right Containers: Opt for BPA-free, sterile containers or breast milk storage bags. These come in various sizes, allowing you to store just the right amount for your baby's next feeding.

Label and Date: Time tends to slip away, especially when you're in the throes of parenthood. Avoid confusion by labeling each container with the date of expression. This ensures you use the oldest milk first, following the first-in, first-out principle.

Storage Time: 

  • In the fridge for up to 8 days at 4C or lower - if you're not sure of the temperature of your fridge, or it is higher than 4C, use it within 3 days
  • For 2 weeks in the ice compartment of a fridge
  • For up to 6 months in a freezer, if it's -18C or lower
  • Breast milk that's been cooled in the fridge can be carried in a cool bag with ice packs for up to 24 hours.

* Taken from NHS

Cooling and Freezing: If you're planning to use the milk within a few days, refrigeration is your friend. Ensure the milk is stored at the back of the fridge, where temperatures are more consistent. For longer storage, consider freezing the milk. Be sure to leave some space in the container to allow for expansion as the milk freezes.

Thawing Gracefully: When it's time to use your frozen breast milk, opt for a gentle thawing process. Place the container in the fridge overnight or use warm water to thaw it gradually. Avoid using the microwave, as it can create uneven temperatures and destroy some of the milk's valuable nutrients.

Temperature Matters: Keep a close eye on temperature. Freshly expressed milk is ideal, but if that's not an option, thawed milk is the next best thing. It's always good to follow the rule of "if in doubt, throw it out."

Storing breast milk doesn't have to be a daunting task. With the right approach you can make the most of this liquid gold. So, dear parents, embrace the journey, revel in the wonders of breast milk, and store it with ease – your little one will thank you with gurgles and smiles. 

Lauren Hampshire