An easy mnemonic that new mothers might find helpful is the “5-5-5” rule, which stands for proper breast milk storage guidelines. Ideally, you should aim to use expressed breast milk within five hours if it’s at room temperature, which should not exceed room temperature normally. If refrigerating, use the milk within five days, ensuring it’s kept at a consistent, cool temperature in the back of the fridge. Lastly, for long-term storage, you can freeze the milk for up to five months. It’s important to prevent it from fluctuating temperatures, so the back of the freezer, where it’s coldest, is best.
What are the rules for storing breast milk?
Storing breast milk properly is essential to retain its nutritional and immunological benefits. At a maximum of 77°F or a cooler ambient temperature, freshly expressed milk can sit for about four hours. However, if your room is warmer, it might be safer to refrigerate or cool it sooner. In the refrigerator, aim to use or freeze breast milk within four days, keeping it in the coldest part, usually at the back. Frozen breast milk is best used within six months when stored in a standard freezer, although it can be safe up to twelve months. Regardless, ensure that the frozen milk doesn’t thaw and refreeze, as this could compromise its quality.
Can I put breast milk back in fridge after baby drinks from it?
When it comes to reusing breast milk that a baby hasn’t finished, time is of the essence. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) suggests that you can safely reuse leftover breast milk within a two-hour window post-feeding. If it has been longer than that, it’s advisable to discard the milk to prevent potential bacterial growth. Refreezing is not recommended as it can degrade the milk’s protective properties and nutrients.
How long can I leave freshly pumped breast milk?
Freshly expressed breast milk can safely be stored in the back of the refrigerator for up to four days; however, using or freezing it within three days is preferable for maintaining optimal quality. When it comes to freezing, storing the milk in a deep freezer can extend its life up to an entire year. Always store the milk in sterilized containers and label them with the date of expression to track its freshness effectively.