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Q&A: Storing Breastmilk?

"How do I store pumped milk? Should it always go straight to freezer, or does it go to the fridge first if I am using it soon? And, how do you warm up pumped milk that is stored in bags?" -trishie7

Basically, if you plan to use freshly pumped milk, you can store it in the refrigerator for up to eight days. If you can’t refrigerate it right away, it can stay at room temperature for roughly four to ten hours, depending on how hot the room is.

To defrost frozen milk, thaw it in the refrigerator (not the kitchen counter!), which takes about 12 hours. After it's thawed, it can remain the fridge for another 24 hours, but should not be refrozen. You can also hold the package under running water. To heat the milk, put the package in a container of warm water. You can also use a bottle warmer. But NEVER microwave milk or heat it directly on the stove. Store in 1-4 ounce portions to make thawing and warming easier, and make sure to date the milk.

Guest breastfeeding expert Andi Silverman is the author of Mama Knows Breast: A Beginners Guide to Breastfeeding and a mother of two. Read her blog at, and send your questions to [email protected]

By Andi Silvermanm, author of Mama Knows Breast: A Beginner’s Guide to Breastfeeding