If you are going back to work, or going to be away from bay for another reason, the best advice is to plan ahead and start building up your own bank of milk by expressing once or twice a day and storing breast milk in the freezer. 

In order to do this, we recommend expressing in line with your baby’s feeding pattern. First thing in the morning is often a particularly productive time.

How to Store Breast Milk

In order to determine how best to store breast milk, there are several factors to consider, the most important being when you intend to use the stored breast milk. Nevertheless, there are a couple of truths that should be considered no matter what.

As mentioned, those wanting to use expressed milk straight away will have different storage concerns to those wanting to use milk further down the line. Thankfully, breast milk is suitable for refrigeration and freezing. While advice varies on how to store your breast milk, as a general guideline, follow ‘The Rule of 6’s’.

If you express more than once a day, you can combine amounts in the same pot. You will notice that stored milk separates out into layers. Shake to remix thoroughly before feeding. When freezing milk, allow space at the top of the bottle for expansion. It is easiest to freeze milk in individual feed quantities of 60-125ml (2-4ozs).

Defrosting Frozen Breast Milk

To thaw frozen milk, place it in the fridge or leave at room temperature. It can also be defrosted by standing in lukewarm water. Do NOT microwave it! Even though you may be tempted or in a hurry, microwaving your breast milk can cause ‘hot spots’ and burn your baby’s mouth. It also destroys the protective properties found in breastmilk.

You should also consider the following timings for defrosted breast milk:

For more information, you may want to consider reading our advice on how to heat breast milk.