If you are like most mothers, you will be considering storing the breastmilk in the fridge. This helps you be prepared for several meals (i.e., breast pump) in advance without wasting time.
However, for your baby to enjoy all the benefits of your breastmilk, you need to know how to store the milk in the fridge properly.
How long is breastmilk good for in the fridge?
The short answer when it comes to how long you can store the breastmilk in the fridge is 4 days.
- Most pediatricians agree to this time frame as there are no risks involved. But you will find that some recommend a maximum of 8 days. This would be pushing it and taking certain risks that you shouldn’t be taking. The way you store it is equally important.
- If you cleanly store breastmilk and you sterilize everything correctly, it might stay good for anywhere between 4 and 8 days. You should also place the breastmilk on the bottom side of your fridge. The reason for this is that you need to place the milk in the part of the refrigerator where the temperature is as cold as possible. This will help it conserve the milk for a longer time and in better conditions.
- Don’t put it on the door of the fridge because it will not stay at a constant, cold temperature. Even if you can keep the breastmilk in the refrigerator for more than 4 days, you should know that the more it stays there, the less vitamin C it will have.
- Your fridge will be your friend before freezing the milk but also after freezing it. You can put it in the refrigerator, and whatever quantity doesn’t get consumed in four days, place it in the freezer. But you will also have to put the milk in the fridge after you take it out of the freezer so it can defrost. Defrosting breastmilk calls for 12 hours in the refrigerator before you can warm it up and feed it to your baby.
- Transferring breastmilk from the fridge to the freezer is a great trick to help you save unfinished milk that was refrigerated. If your baby didn’t finish all the milk in the 4 days time frame, you have two options. You can toss it, or you can freeze it for further meals.
- Naturally, you will lean towards freezing it since you don’t want to waste an ounce of it. If that’s the case, all you have to do is date the milk and put it in the freezer. You can leave it in the original containers that you used to store it in the fridge, or you can transfer it to smaller bags and bottles.
- If you do choose to transfer the milk to different containers, make sure you move fast and do it while the milk is still cold. If it gets to room temperature, it will gather bacteria, and you don’t want to freeze it in this condition. But other than that, moving refrigerated milk to the freezer is a good idea that can help you store it for a longer time with no hassle.
- To help yourself, you can store the breastmilk in the fridge in special milk bags that are the size of a meal. This way, you will know exactly how many bags to take out, and you don’t have to start measuring milk quantities.
- Once the milk is taken out of the fridge, it will start reaching room temperature. You can warm it up correctly and feed it to your baby as you need to. Make sure you use only containers or milk bags created especially for storing breastmilk in the refrigerator.
- You don’t want any harmful plastic containers because they can contaminate the milk faster and even compromise it.
Storing breastmilk in the refrigerator is common and very useful for busy mothers. Plus, it makes it possible for your partner or baby sitter to feed the baby when you are not around.
However, it is essential to follow these guidelines to have high-quality breastmilk for your little one!
- “Breast milk storage: Do’s and don’ts – Mayo Clinic”. Accessed March 01, 2020. Link.