Milk Storage Guidelines

By Dr. Nancy Brent

Current guidelines for handling and storage of breast milk vary among different authorities.

BrentCircleThe best researched, most scientifically valid are the guidelines put out by the Academy of Breastfeeding Medicine. You can find details HERE, and I’ve included their recommendations below.

One way of avoiding wasting breast milk (some call it liquid gold), is to store it in very small quantities, either 1-2oz, depending on what your baby usually takes. That way, if he or she doesn’t finish a bottle, you’re wasting only a very small amount.

Here are the Academy of Breastfeeding Medicine’s guidelines:

  • For breastmilk left at ROOM TEMPERATURE (60-85F, 16-29C): 3-4 hours optimal; 6-8 hours acceptable under very clean conditions.
  • For breastmilk left in the REFRIGERATOR (less than 39F or 4C): 72 hours optimal; 5-8 days under very clean conditions.
  • For breastmilk left in the FREEZER (less than 8F or -17C): 6 months optimal; 12 months under very clean conditions.
  • We hope this helps provides some helpful information for all our breastfeeding moms and families. As always, please let us know if you have any questions.

Dr. Nancy Brent is the former Medical Director of the Breastfeeding Center of Pittsburgh.