So you've pumped some milk and you're not going to immediately feed it to your baby. How long can you keep the breastmilk before you shouldn't use it anymore?
-If you're keeping it at room temperature, the milk should be good for about 4 hours. The warmer the room is, the shorter you can keep your milk out.
-If you keep it in a cooler with ice packs, the milk is good for up to 24 hours, depending on if it stays cold the whole time.
-In the refrigerator, just-pumped breastmilk is good for 5-7 days.
-In your fridge's freezer, the milk is good for 3-4 months. And in a deep freezer, your breastmilk can be good for 6-12 months!
If you don't plan to use your breastmilk soon, freeze it ASAP! When storing breastmilk in the fridge or freezer, keep it near the back where the temperature doesn't change as much when you open and close the fridge door. You want your milk to stay as cold as possible to prevent & slow any bacteria growth.
You can defrost/thaw breastmilk overnight in the fridge, or by placing it in warm water. DO NOT MICROWAVE BREASTMILK! Hot spots can form, which can burn your baby's mouth. Thawed breastmilk can be kept in the fridge for up to 24 hours. Do not refreeze milk after it's been thawed.
Breastmilk can be frozen in storage bottles or freezer bags. Be sure to date your milk, and take the oldest milk first when you're feeding your baby stored milk.
Remember these breastmilk storage guidelines are for healthy, full-term babies. If your baby is a preemie or has any health conditions, you'll want to err on the side of caution and use milk sooner rather than later.