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Storing milk


Note: The information featured on this page is currently under review, and will be updated in due course. Please ensure that you speak with your health care professional about any queries you may have about the issues covered here.

It is possible to store milk if your baby is unable to drink it at the time it is expressed.

  • Many units supply sterile disposable bottles. 
  • Label each container with your baby’s name, the date and time of collection. 
  • Always leave at least one centimetre of free space at the top of the milk container, as milk will expand when frozen. 
  • Breast milk will keep for 48 hours in a refrigerator (unless defrosting), as long as it is not stored in the fridge door - the temperature in the door compartments goes up and down when the fridge is opened and closed. 
  • Milk can be deep-frozen for up to three months. Breast milk that has been supplemented with additives should be used immediately. It is not suitable for freezing and defrosting. Your neonatal staff will be able to manage this. 
  • Milk stored in a freezer with a self-defrost cycle may have a slightly soapy smell. It is not harmful to your baby. However, if it smells sour, do not use it.
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