Storage of Breast Milk

Storage Guidelines of Expressed Breast Milk:

Freshly-Expressed Milk
               Warm Room : 3-4 hours
               Room Temperature: 4-8 hours
               Insulated Cooler/Ice Packs : 24 hours
Refrigerated Milk
               Refrigerator (fresh milk) : 3-8 days
               Refrigerator (THAWED milk) : 24 hours
Frozen Milk (do not refreeze!)
               Self-Contained Freezer of Refrigerator : 6 months
               Deep Freezer : 12 months

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Mixing Expressed Milk:

Only mix milk at or near the same temperatures.
Freshly-expressed milk can be added to room temperature milk within 4-8 hours. Otherwise, refrigerate milk and then combine. Add refrigerated or partially frozen milk to already frozen milk.

Oops! I didn’t use/need what I HEATED!

Thawed milk needs to be used within 24 hours. Keep refrigerated until next feeding. Heated or warmed milk needs to be used within 2-3 hours. Simply smell milk if you think it may be bad. Don’t toss the milk! Use “bad” milk in the baby’s bath!

Does the milk have a metallic taste or smell funny?

See link for more info:

Helpful Information:

CDC Recommendations:

The STUDIES the Storage Guidelines are based on:

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Shipping Breast Milk

Donating milk to a momma across the country, or around the world? Then this article is for you! Here are some tips and tricks on sending breast milk through the mail.

To Ship FROZEN Breast Milk
Keep it frozen and well protected, and ship it quickly.
You will need:
  • a styrofoam cooler
  • packing materials
  • a large cardboard box
  • dry ice
  • duct tape
Dry ice can be found at most grocery stores. Here, the brand is called Penguin Brand Dry Ice. Calling around is your best bet to find this at a store in your area. You’ll need a small cooler; styrofoam will work fine.
Don’t skimp on the dry ice. It evaporates quickly so a good bit is needed, around 5 to 10lbs., depending on the distance. Keep it in the plastic that it comes in and put it in the bottom of the cooler. Place newspaper or brown kraft paper over the top as an extra barrier. If dry ice touches the milk bags, it will damage them INSTANTLY.
Place frozen milk on top (inside of gallon zippered storage bags is best). You may choose to do another layer of dry ice if you wish, depending on how much breast milk you’re shipping. Be sure to put a barrier between each layer. Put the lid on the cooler and duct tape it securely closed. The lid has to stay on! Place the cooler inside of a cardboard box, sliding extra newspaper, bubble wrap, brown kraft paper, etc. into any gaps to try to keep the cooler in place.
Mark it “^This Side Up^” and tape it well. It will be shipped by weight. It needs to be sent overnight or no longer than Express 3 Day. Shipping cost can be pricey. A shipment of about 200 oz sent from LA to GA has run about $75 through FedEx. In my experience, USPS is much more expensive.
From a mother who shipped regularly:
“I shipped about 200-250 ounces on multiple occasions from New Orleans to Georgia. I got an account with Fedex and paid about $65-$75 each time. (I shipped) Two day AM. I also forgot to mention the cost of the ice chest and dry ice. Probably Adds another $10-$15.
I think the trick is to get a Fedex account. It was free to do and I got a big discount each time I used them. I always shipped to Christine Rushing and she commented that my shipping was cheaper than others she was dealing with. Did the foam cooler and something like 5 lbs of dry ice. And like I said, each shipment was between 200 and 250 oz.
I did everything online and then just dropped it off. I made an account, used my baby scale to weigh the package, filled out the info, made the payment, and printed the label. Then I taped it on using clear packing tape and taped up the box. We Have a local Fedex pickup where I can drop off for $1 or I can bring it another 5 miles away to the Fedex Kinkos. Since I had already done everything, I Literally just handed them the box, no questions asked. I did that like 5 times, at least. Easy peasy.
I think the box + cooler + 250 oz + 5ish lbs dry ice was never more than 25 or so lbs. And we had no problems with melting at 2 day AM shipping. I found there was a big break in price between overnight and 2 day AM (like even less than half the price). I just did a pretend one with a 25 lb box from NOLA to Savannah with 2 day AM and it’s saying $55.23.”
Alternatively, I have shipped a larger quantity of breastmilk farther by purchasing a large, hard plastic cooler that would fit greater quantities of dry ice (around 20lbs) and accommodate more frozen milk (around 350oz). I also purchased a combination lock. I drilled holes in the cooler and installed the lock so that it could be sealed. I sent the combination to the lock to the recipient in a separate message. It was shipped over 1000 miles, but made it still perfectly frozen. This was shipped through the USPS, 3 Day, and the cost was around $290.
Shipping breast milk can be expensive, but it is an incredible gift to the recipient mom and baby!