Q&A: Does Breast Milk Have a Shelf Life?

How long can you store breast milk?
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ByErin van Vuuren
Updated
Mar 2017
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Here are the basics for a healthy, full-term baby. (You’ll need to be a little more careful for preemies and special needs or hospitalized babies. In these cases, ask your hospital for their policy.)

Room temperature: 6 to 8 hours

Insulated cooler with ice packs: up to 24 hours

Refrigerator: 5 to 8 days

Freezer inside refrigerator: up to 2 weeks

Freezer with separate door: 3 to 6 months

Stand-alone deep freezer: 6 to 12 months

To maximize shelf life, try to keep milk in the back part of your fridge (away from the door, where temps change frequently) or in the middle of your freezer (away from freezer walls, which can let in some warmth).

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