Go to guide for hygienic handling of expressed breastmilk

By Medela

Medela Australia provides some important tips for the hygienic handling of expressed breastmilk.

Storage tips

  • Freshly pumped breastmilk that you don't want to use right away should be placed in the refrigerator immediately. If you express a second lot later on, you can add it to the first lot once it has cooled. At the end of the day, you can freeze all the breastmilk you have expressed in one container

  • If you want to store breastmilk in the refrigerator for a few days, place it on the lowest shelf at the back. This is the coldest part of the refrigerator. Never store bottles of breastmilk on the refrigerator door

  • Label all containers with the date, so that you always use the oldest lots first

Storage guidelines 

  • At room temperature 16–26°C, maximum 4–6 hours is optimal
  • If hygiene conditions are very good, 6–8 hours is possible
  • In the fridge  ≤ 4°C, maximum 72 hours is optimal
  • If the hygiene conditions are very good, 5–8 days is possible
  • In the freezer  < -18°C, 6 months is optimal
  • If the hygiene conditions are very good, 12 months is acceptable

Tips on warming the milk

  • Warm breastmilk in a bottle warmer (max. 34 to 37°C) or in a bowl of lukewarm water. Even though the milk may seem a little too cool, it's just the right temperature for your baby
  • Never boil breastmilk or heat it in the microwave. Valuable ingredients will be lost and your baby could scald its mouth

Cleaning tips

Clean everything that comes into contact with your breast, the breastmilk or the baby's mouth after every use:

  1. Rinse everything with cold water
  2. Then wash it in warm soapy water
  3. Now rinse everything in clear water

Prior to the first use and once daily thereafter, boil all individual components in a pan of water for five minutes. Alternatively, place them on the upper shelf of the dishwasher in a or use a quiick clean microwave bag

Transportation tips

Keep breastmilk as cool as possible during transportation, for example in a cool bag. Put this in the refrigerator the evening before and place the ice pack in the freezer. Put the expressing bottles on the bottom shelf of the fridge overnight.

Note: The views and advice expressed on this blog post are those of the author and are not representative of the Pregnancy Babies & Children's Expo.

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