Breastfeeding Your Baby: Mothers' Milk, Babies' Choice
First 24 Hours
Care of Yourself
Days to 6 Weeks
Weeks to 6 Months
Months to 24 Months
and Lifestyle Habits
Keeping your milk clean and safe:
- It is important to wash your hands and storage containers with
soapy water and rinse well before you begin to express your milk.
- Save milk in 2-4 oz. containers with leak proof lids. Use glass
or plastic containers or milk collection bags.
- Some mothers express directly into bags.
- Your breastmilk may start to smell soapy or metallic after
being stored in the fridge. This is a normal change due to enzymes
in the milk that digest the fats. The milk remains safe to feed
. You may need to heat your milk before storing it, if your baby
rejects the milk. Contact your Public Health Nurse for advice.
Storing expressed breastmilk:
- Expressed milk has properties to keep it fresh and safe for
- If it will be used within 8 days, fresh milk should be refrigerated
instead of frozen.
|Breastmilk is safe to store at room
27-32°C: up to 3-4 hours
19-22°C: up to 6-8 hours
|Small cooler with icepack 15°C:
up to 24 hours
|In a fridge: 3 days optimal 4°C
5-8 days max
|In Your Freezer:
Top or bottom of your fridge: 2 weeks
Separate door of fridge: 6 weeks—3 months
Chest type freezer (- 20°C): 6-12 months
Thaw frozen breastmilk in the fridge or by holding the container
under warm running water. Shake to mix. Do not refreeze thawed
milk. Thawed breastmilk can stay at room temperature for four
hours. Microwave ovens should not be used. It heats the milk unevenly;
it can contribute to burns in the babies mouth.
Feeding expressed breastmilk:
Breastmilk can be fed by tube, spoon, cup, or bottle. Babies
learn to breastfeed more easily if bottles are not used in the
first six weeks. Wait until your baby is six weeks old before
giving an occasional bottle.