Breastfeeding help in your home or workplace

Helpful Hints

Storage of Fresh Breast Milk for the Healthy Full Term Infant

(For sick or preterm baby, consult health care provider)
Adapted from:

Location Temperature Duration Comments
Countertop, table <77°F or 25°C 6–8 hours Covering the container with a cool towel may keep milk cooler.
>77F or 25C 4 hours
Cooler and ice packs 24 hours Keep ice packs in contact with milk containers at all times, limit opening cooler bag.
Refrigerator 39°F or 4°C 5 days Store milk in the back of the refrigerator.
Freezer compartment inside refrigerator 5°F or -15°C 2 weeks Store milk toward the back of the freezer, Milk stored for longer durations in the ranges listed is safe, but taste and smell may change due to changes in the fats in the milk.
Freezer separate doors 0°F or -18°C 3–6 months
deep freezer -4°F or -20°C 6–12 months

Using Frozen Breast milk

iStock_000069907977_XXXLargeNever thaw frozen breast milk in the microwave.

Thaw frozen breast milk:

  • In the refrigerator
  • Hold the container under cool water and gradually increase the temperature of the water. Shake gently to circulate temperature through the milk.
  • The milk container can also be placed in a bowl of warm water.

Fats may separate during storage, but milk is still safe. Gently shake to combine fats with milk.

Breast milk storage DO’S AND DON’TS

(via the Mayo Clinic)

For storing milk:
DO use a capped glass or BPA free hard plastic container or plastic bag designed to hold breastmilk.

DON’T store milk in a plastic bag used for other household purposes.

DO store in amount that normally is used in one feeding and in smaller amounts for special purposes (for example 1 to 2 ounces or 2 to 4 ounce amounts).

DON’T fill to the brim, as milk expands as it freezes

You can add freshly expressed milk to already stored fresh or frozen breast milk as long as the milk is cooled prior to mixing it with previously expressed milk.

Avoid adding warm expressed milk to previously frozen breastmilk.


Contact us: or 503-454-6917

Providing in-home breastfeeding support for the Portland Metro area, including: Canby, Lake Oswego, Oregon City, Sherwood, Tigard, Tualatin, West Linn, Wilsonville and Woodburn.