Storing and thawing of breastmilk

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Breastmilk is very precious

You should store and thaw your breastmilk correctly. This is the only way you can be sure that all the important nutrients are preserved and bacterial contamination is minimised.

Guidelines for storing/thawing breastmilk

Medela recommends using the following guidelines for storing and thawing breastmilk. For healthy term babies.

Room temperature Refrigerator Freezer Thawed breastmilk

4-6 hours at 19 to 26°C
(66 to 78°F)

3-8 days at 4°C (39°F)
or lower

6-12 months -18 to
-20°C (0 to 4°F)

In refrigerator for 10 hours
max. Do not refreeze!


Tips for freezing/thawing breastmilk:

  • Do not store breastmilk in the door of the refrigerator. Instead choose the coldest part of the refrigerator (this is at the back of the glass shelf above the vegetable compartment).
  • You can freeze expressed breastmilk in milk bottles or "Pump & Save"* bags. Do not fill the bottles or bags more than 3/4 full to allow space for possible expansion.
  • Label the bottles or "Pump & Save" bags with the date of expression.
  • Do not thaw frozen breastmilk or do not warm breastmilk in a microwave or a pan of boiling water to avoid loss of vitamins, minerals and other important components and to prevent burns.
  • ln order to preserve the components of the breastmilk, thaw the milk in the refrigerator overnight. Alternatively, you can hold the bottle or "Pump & Save" bag under warm water (max. 37 ° C).
  • Gently swirl the bottle or "Pump & Save" bag to mix any fat that has separated. Avoid shaking or stirring the milk.