If you’re going back to work you don’t have to stop breastfeeding. You can produce milk and store it so you build up a reserve. Producing milk in this way is called "expressing" and you can express breastmilk by hand or by using a pump. But make sure you sterilise all the equipment before you start.
Milk should be stored in a fridge and carried home in a cool bag. Ask your employer to provide a fridge if you don’t already have access to one.
Milk can be stored in the fridge for up to 3 days at 5 - 10°c or for 5 days at 0 - 4°c (usually at the back of the fridge). Breastmilk can be stored for up to 2 weeks in the ice compartment of a fridge or for up to 6 months at -18°c or lower in a freezer.
- Label and date breastmilk before putting it in the fridge or freezer.
- Have a trial run with childcare before returning to work.
- Be prepared by keeping an extra top and some breastpads at work.
- Defrost frozen breastmilk in the fridge and use it within 12 hours. But don’t refreeze it once thawed.
- If you’re using milk within 5 days of expressing it, it is better to store it in the fridge than in the freezer
- Breastmilk must always be stored in a sterilised container
- If you use a pump, make sure you wash it thoroughly after use and sterilise it before use
- Don't use a microwave oven to warm or defrost breastmilk.