As you can see from the title of our article, the issue of breast milk storage is both very important and a subject that many mothers are very curious about. In our article, we will also touch on the misconceptions. In fact, we will talk about the truth instead of saying what is known wrong and confusing you. The points we will mention here are the rules that have been proven as a result of experiments in universities and have been recommended to be implemented in many countries by the American Academy of Pediatrics since 2019. Click here to read AAP article about “How long should breast milk be stored in a freezer?” In other words, in our article, we will convey to you the results of experiments rather than our own sentences.
If a mother is expressing breast milk and plans to store it in room conditions, that is, she wants to give it to the baby after a few hours, the deterioration time of the milk is between 4 and 6 hours. This depends on the ambient temperature where you store the milk. So you don’t have to dispose of your milk for up to 6 hours. If you are going to store breast milk in the room you are in and the process will take a little longer, our advice to you is to have an ice pack on hand. Let’s say the mother is working and has been expressing her milk at work. There is no refrigerator at the moment, but she wants to give her milk to the baby. Instead of the milk being destroyed after 6 hours, we can store the mother’s milk for up to 24 hours with this ice pack without any problems.
If there is a standard refrigerator in your environment. So if you have the chance to store it at +4 degrees Celsius, then you can store breast milk for up to 5 to 8 days. So you consider it as 1 week. If you want to store breast milk for a period that may be needed in the future and you want to use it in the freezer section of your refrigerator, here are 3 alternatives.
Breastmilk Storage Times by Refrigerator
First alternative; Let’s say the most probable first. Now, most of our homes have refrigerators that can store breast milk at -18 degrees, called No-frost. If the refrigerator you have is No-frost, if you store breast milk at -18 degrees, breast milk will not deteriorate up to 12 months, but best is 6 months. In this case, you do not have to dispose of your milk after 3 months. If you store your breast milk at -18 degrees Celsius, continue to store it after 3 months. And after 1 year, take out your milk and use it if you need it. Or you can share it with someone who needs it.
Second Alternative; If the refrigerator you have now is a slightly older refrigerator and does not have the No-Frost feature, but is separated by a lid, that is, if it has a freezer feature, then you can store it for up to 3-4 months.
Third Alternative; If your refrigerator is much older or does not have a separate compartment, then if your refrigerator has a single door, but there is a separate freezer section on the inside, you can keep it in that freezer section for up to 2 weeks.
If we summarize the subject again;
If you are going to store the breast milk in the room you are in and give it later, and if you cannot make any cooling process, it will not spoil for up to 6 hours.
If you are going to store breast milk with an ice pack, it will not spoil for up to 24 hours.
If you are going to store it in the non-freezer section of a refrigerator, it will not spoil for up to 1 week on average.
If you have a separate freezer compartment in a refrigerator, it will not spoil for up to 2 weeks.
If your refrigerator has a freezer that does not have a nofrost feature, but is opened with a separate door, it will not spoil for 3-4 months.
If you have a refrigerator with a no-frost feature that is produced with up-to-date technology and cools down to -18 degrees Celsius, then you can store your breast milk for approximately 1 year.
Unfortunately, there are mothers who shed their milk after 3-4 months in a no-frost refrigerator, after 12 hours in a normal refrigerator, or after 1-2 hours at room temperature.
In conclusion, breast milk is a treasure and appreciate this treasure.
Click here to read the another article of Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) on the subject.
You can also read the month-by-month development of your babies from the link here.