Breast milk Storage Guideline Time Line

Use this chart as a basic guideline for storing your breastmilk.

Fresh Milk Frozen, Thawed in refrigerator Frozen, Brought to Room Temperature Thawed, Warmed, Fed
Room Temperature 8 hours

(below 72°F, can be left up to 10 hours).

4 hours Finish feeding and discard. Do not refreeze. Finish feeding and discard. Do not refreeze.
Cooler with Frozen Ice Packs

(59°F)

24 hours
Refrigerator

(39°F)

8 days 24 hours 4 hours Finish feeding and discard. Do not refreeze.
Refrigerator Freezer

( 0°F)

4 months Finish feeding and discard. Do not refreeze. Finish feeding and discard. Do not refreeze. Finish feeding and discard. Do not refreeze.
Freeze

(0°F)

12 months Finish feeding and discard. Do not refreeze. Finish feeding and discard. Do not refreeze. Finish feeding and discard. Do not refreeze.

*These guidelines may not be best for sick or premature babies. Contact your physician for proper guidelines.

  • Make sure to always write the date on the container.
  • It is best to cool fresh breast milk in the refrigerator if you wish to add it to already frozen breast milk.
  • It is rare that your breast milk will ever spoil if it has been stored properly.  Your breastmilk may separate, with the fat rising to the top.  This is perfectly normal, as is a slightly bluish color.  In addition, some breast milk may smell soapy, this too is normal.

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