Storing Breast Milk

Breast milk can be stored in any container made for food storage.  Label the milk container with the baby’s name, date and time.  Only place a single serving in each container.

CDC Breast Milk Storage Guidelines

  Storage Location and Temperatures
Type of Breast Milk Countertop

77°F (25°C) or colder (room temperature)

Refrigerator

40°F (4°C)

Freezer 

 0°F (-18°C) or colder

Fully Expressed or Pumped Up to 4 Hours Up to 4 Days Within 6 months is best; Up to 12 months is acceptable
Thawed, Previously Frozen 1–2 Hours Up to 1 Day
(24 hours
NEVER refreeze human milk
after it has been thawed
Leftover from a Feeding (baby did not finish bottle) Use within 2 hours after the baby is finished feeding

CDC. (2019). Proper storage and preparation of breast milk.  Retrieved from: https://www.cdc.gov/breastfeeding/recommendations/handling_breastmilk.htm

Tips for thawing and warming up breast milk

  • To thaw milk, place the unopened container of breast milk in the refrigerator or in a bowl of warm water.
  • Do not thaw or warm any milk in the microwave.  Microwaves damage milk components and heat milk unevenly, which can burn your baby.
  • Breast milk does not necessarily need to be warmed. Some moms prefer to take the chill off and serve at room temperature. Some moms serve it cold.  If your baby prefers milk at room temperature, place the unopened container in a pan or bowl of warm water for several minutes.
  • Do not refreeze breast milk once it has been thawed, and use within 24 hours.

For more information, please visit the CDC’s Breastfeeding page.