Breastmilk Storage Guidelines

Have you wondered how long fresh breastmilk can last? Here are some breastmilk storage guidelines for Singapore climate:

Room temperature: 4 hours
Fridge: 48 hours
2-door Freezer Compartment: 3 months
Deep Freezer (-5 degrees celsius): 6 months 

Here are additional 15 tips on Expressed Breastmilk Storage.

1. Label and date all stored EBM Adopt First-In-First-Out method to ensure the oldest batch of milk is being used first. 

2. EBM may stay fresh longer than recommended guidelines

Human milk contains properties that protect it from bacterial contamination. Easy to check for spoilt EBM…it would smell sour or taste bad, so yucky that you won’t even doubt it!

3. Freeze EBM only if it can’t be consumed within 48 hours
To protect the antimicrobial qualities of human milk, fresh is better than chilled, and chilled is better than frozen. Even so, frozen EBM is still way MUCH better than formula!

4. Do not fill EBM to the brim
When EBM freezes, it expands. Allow space for expansion.

 5. Freeze EBM in one or two ounces 
Small quantities thaw and warm quickly, avoiding unnecessary wastage since thawed frozen EBM has to be discarded after 24 hours.

6. Express milk into smaller containers to boost morale!
Feel good when you see containers full of EBM, and many mothers have given feedback that it encourages and motivates them to strive on! That, in turn, helps in milk production. Great space saver too…you are spared from having a fridge full of half-filled containers. 

7. Use BPA-free containers
Bisphenol-A (aka BPA) is known to be an endocrine disruptor, causing a wide variety of hormonal issues including early puberty, reproductive birth defects and various cancers. This chemical, found in polycarbonate plastics, leaches into the milk and may be harmful to babies. Hence, to err on the side of caution, always make sure you use BPA-free containers.

8. Can I combine fresh EBM with already frozen milk?
After pumping, allow your fresh EBM to cool for about half an hour before adding it to frozen EBM. This is to ensure it does not thaw the top layer. (Human milk should not be thawed and refrozen) Also check that there is less fresh milk than frozen milk. Follow storage recommendations based on the time and date of the first milk expressed.

9. Scald EBM if necessary
When a mother produces milk high in lipase, the enzyme that breaks down fat in the milk, her milk may smell rancid. You can prevent this by heating your EBM to a scald (bubbling around the edges but not boiling) right after collecting it and then quickly cooling and freezing it. Scalding inactivates the lipase.

10. Use clean containers to store EBM
To clean, simply use warm soapy water, rinse well, and allow to air dry.

11. EBM can separate and may appear to be of certain colours
It’s normal for EBM to separate into milk and cream. Simply shake the milk gently to mix it before feeding. EBM may also appear to be bluish, yellowish, or even brownish in color.

12. Thaw and warm frozen EBM the right way
Hold the container under cool running water, and then submerge it into a bowl of warm water until the milk is thawed and heated to room temperature. Do NOT overheat as valuable components of the milk will be destroyed.

13. It is safe to store EBM in a common refrigerator
At your workplace or child care facilities, EBM can be kept in a common refrigerator and no special precautions are necessary when handling it. Just practice good hygiene by washing your hands before expressing and using clean containers. 

14. If you prefer milk storage bags, pick the right ones!
Use those that are specially designed for freezing human milk. They are pre-sterilized, thicker, include self-sealers, and have areas for labeling. Relying on disposable bottle liners can be risky as the seams may burst during freezing, and the bag may leak during thawing, causing milk contamination.

15. Do your part for the environment!
Use Green breastmilk storage products that are reusable and can be put to other good use even when you stop breastfeeding. For example, airtight and leak-proof Snappies Breastmilk Container makes a wonderful on-the-go snack container for mum and child or convenient organizer for home and travel! Sensible Lines Milk Trays can be used to freeze fruit/ food puree, or even just as ice-cube trays!



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