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Storing breastmilk

Producing breastmilk

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.

Storing breastmilk

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.

Storage tips

  • 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.

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