Storage of Breast milk

The best time to start collecting you breast milk is about 2 weeks before you go back to work. This will give you enough time to collect milk for the first week or so when you go back to work. Remember that while you are breastfeeding directly from the breast you will not be able to express as much as when you are back at work. You do not need to have a full freezer stash ready for when you go back to work.

Tips for storing and collecting breast milk:

  • Collection
    • Try to collect milk in the approximate amount that you will feed. This helps to reduced milk wastage.
    • Collect and store your milk in food grade containers. These can be plastic bags, bottles or food containers. Make sure they can be frozen and will not leak.
    • When collecting try to add milk of the same temperature to each other. For example don’t add warm fresh milk to fridge or frozen milk. Rather wait for the milk to cool down and then add.


  • Storage
    • Milk can be stored as per this table
Milk  storage/ handling Deep freeze          -180C Refrigerator/ freezer


Refrigerator 40C Insulated cooler with ice packs 150C Room temperature 250C
Fresh 6 months 3-4 months 3 days      (72 hours) 24 hours 4 hours
Frozen, thawed in fridge Do not refreeze Do not refreeze


24 hours Do not store 4 hours
Thawed, warmed , not fed Do not refreeze Do not refreeze 4 hours Do not store Until feeding ends
Warmed, fed Discard Discard Discard Discard Until feeding ends

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