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New moms have a lot of worries.
Milk storage and usage is a big one of those worries!
I see questions all of the time about how long it can stay out, or when it should be used by. One of my most popular Pinterest pins is actually a guide in regard to milk storage and usage!
With it being such a big topic for new moms, I figured I would lay out for you guys what my understanding of the rules is in regard to milk storage.
During my twin pregnancy, I read a lot into milk storage and usage. I have read even more since then! In my opinion, the guidelines set by the American Academy of Pediatrics are the ones to follow.
Though I did end my journey right before we hit the eight month mark, I was an exclusive pumper up until that point. With that being said- I have stored and used up a lot of milk while nourishing the twins!
Now that I am no longer expressing, they are solely formula fed. Meaning I have a few tips for formula storage as well!
So in this post I will go over with you guys everything you need to know about milk before it hits the bottle.
As a disclaimer- I am not a doctor nor am I pretending to be one. Everything in this post is presumed to be my understanding of safety guidelines pertaining to the storage and usage of breastmilk and formula. I have gathered the majority of my knowledge from reputable sources, such as AAP, however everything in this article is my own understanding of the information I have read and I am simply providing you what is my own understanding of the guidelines in which breastmilk or formula should be stored or used.
The Every Mom Guide to Milk Storage and Usage
Let’s start off with strictly breastmilk.
Freshly pumped breastmilk is good to go for up to four hours. This means that you can leave it in a bottle on the counter for up to four hours, or take it with you shopping and safely use the milk.
Upon reaching the four hour mark, however, the milk should be placed either in the fridge if you are planning to use it within the next two days, or the freezer in a dated milk bag. When stored in the fridge, make sure it is on a shelf and not the door. Milk in the door can spoil quicker being that it isn’t consistently at the same temp due to opening and closing the door.
Milk stored in the fridge is safe to drink for up to 48 hours from time of expression.
This is where some people get confused. Do not add in the extra four hours that it was sitting on the counter. That is unsafe for baby to drink. The time stamp needs to be from time of expression.
Your best way to go about this is to keep a pumping log or write on the milk bag right away after you pump.
If you aren’t going to need the milk within the next two days, get it in the freezer right away! Not because of the spoiling risk, but because it will be easier to remember if you date the bag and get it in the freezer right away.
Milk stored in the freezer is good for up to nine months.
I know we all figure that frozen items last forever, but that isn’t the case. Especially when it comes to your baby!
I am one of the people who keeps things in the freezer for months or even years and still eats it later on, but not when it comes to breastmilk.
Frozen milk in a standard freezer will last for up to nine months, or in a deep freezer up to 12 months.
Thawed milk must be used within 24 hours. Make sure that you only thaw what you are going to need to avoid wasting any of your liquid gold.
To thaw milk, place milk bag in a cup of warm water and it should thaw within minutes. Never microwave breastmilk! Also, the milk fats may separate. So if you see a big of yellow in the bag you didn’t do anything wrong. Those are natural fats that will blend right back in with the rest of the milk when you pour it into a bottle.
Now for Forumla
Formula should be used within 24 hours of making it.
Something that you can do is mix up enough formula for your entire day and keep it in a closed pitcher in the fridge. Then all you have to do in order to make a bottle is potentially warm up the milk after it is in a bottle.
Warm up the bottle the same way you would if it was breastmilk. Place bottle (with formula in it) in a glass of warm water. Check the temp periodically. Should be warmed within minutes.
That is pretty much it when it comes to formula. Just make what you need and keep it in the fridge! Anything that isn’t used within 24 hours needs to be thrown out. And if you do decide to utilize the pitcher method, make sure to clean with a gentle soap and water daily.
Along with these tips, I wanted to include a few of my favorite items when it comes to breastmilk and formula storage.
Here are a few of my favorite items to make milk storage and usage easy!
I even made up a quick and simple guide for you guys to pin for later!
Did I miss anything? Any other milk storage questions? Go ahead and comment below!
And don’t forget to check out Twins and Coffee on Instagram for the day to day life with twins! I feature a lot of my favorite brands for the twins, as well as for myself over on Insta. I also run the occasional giveaway! Don’t miss out!
Great post! Very informative! I always hated dealing with pumps and milk storage so I mostly just fed straight from the breast.
Thank you for sharing this helpful information, all in one place. It’s hard enough being a new mom without trying to remember all of these facts!
What a great guide! And I love the graphic you gave. I will definitely be pinning this and taking a screen shot for reference
Such a great roundup of how to store breast milk or formula properly. Everyone is always asking this question in my mom group!
Thank you! I hope it makes things just a little bit easier!
Oh I totally get it! I see so many questions about breastmilk. Glad I could help!
Love this guide. I’m pregnant with #2 and I’ve totally forgotten all this already haha. Thank you for a great reminder and chart to pin.
I love the graphic!! So helpful and informative!! Great post!
Everything about nursing can be such a blur! Congrats on #2!