By Cynthia Stevens Graubart and Catherine Fliegel, R.N.
How long you can keep it: At room temperature (66-72°F) The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) and the La Leche League say six to eight hours is fine if you don’t have a fridge handy.
In a refrigerator The AAP recommends two to three days; the La Leche League agrees that’s best, but says up to eight days is acceptable.
In the freezer The AAP recommends one month, especially if the freezer is opened frequently. The La Leche League says six months is safe. If you have a separate freezer that’s rarely opened, both agree that at least six months is safe, but don’t keep milk longer than a year.
Breast milk safety secrets
• If your baby is a preemie or has health concerns, err on the side of caution, and keep milk refrigerated as much as possible.
• Label each container of milk with the date it was stored.
• Store the milk in the back of the fridge or freezer to minimize its exposure to warm air when you open the door.
• Freeze about two to four ounces per container. Leave a little room at the top of the container to allow for expansion.
• Thaw frozen milk slowly in the fridge for no more than 24 hours or in a bowl of warm water.
• Never refreeze thawed milk.
• Save milk left over from a feeding only if it’s a small amount and you plan to feed it to your baby within an hour or so.