Breastmilk storage can take up a ton of room in your freezer. Learn the most efficient way to store + avoid contamination!
FIRST, REMEMBER THE BREASTMILK STORAGE GUIDELINES:
**Some sources may say up to 6 months in regular freezer, I just like how easy this is to remember!**
HOW TO COLLECT IN BAGGIES:
Breastmilk CAN safely be stored in glass bottles and BPA free plastic bottles, but they take up a ton of room! Breastmilk baggies are the most efficient way to store breastmilk.
**PLEASE NOTE** breastmilk should only be stored in baggies specifically made for breastmilk storage. These baggies are sterile! Regular ziplock bags are NOT sterile and should NOT be used for breastmilk storage. Feeling stressed about safely storing breastmilk? We can help! You don’t need to wait until the baby arrives to learn more about storing breastmilk!
Follow these guidelines for ultimate space saving:
- Collect breastmilk in 3, 4, or 5oz batches.
- Place in baggie.
- *You can collect fresh breastmilk for up to 5 days from the date of the first milk collection. So if you pump after breast/chest-feeding or use a Haakaa, you can keep adding, just make sure to refrigerate before adding.
- Lansinoh baggies and Dr. Brown’s baggies are my favorite. If you’re looking for a budget friendly option, check out these Target Up&Up baggies that have great reviews.
- Place in baggie.
- Even though the baggies fit up to 6 oz, I always store in 5 oz batches to prevent overfilling and compromising the baggie.
- Remove the air from the baggie.
- This not only saves space, but helps protect the nutrients in breastmilk when frozen.
- Lay flat on a cookie sheet and place in freezer.
- Date and label the baggie with how many oz are in the baggie.
- This will help a TON when you go to thaw!
- If you store about 1-2 baggies a week, place in these storage bins
- These storage bins are my favorite! I use them for the kids bottles, sippies, cabinet storage and more.
- If you’re an overproducer, store in these storage bins until you’re ready to make a breastmilk brick (see below!)
HOW TO MAKE A BREASTMILK BRICK + WHY YOU’D WANT TO
If you’re an overproducer, a great and efficient way to store breastmilk is making a breastmilk brick. What the heck is a breastmilk brick? It’s a collection of frozen baggies that are placed in a big plastic bag to make a rectangle. This allows for organized storage not only by saving room in your freezer, but also keeps the breastmilk in order of date – so you don’t waste any when you go to thaw!
SUPPLIES YOU’LL NEED:
- Breastmilk baggies
- A cookie sheet
- A deep/chest freezer if you want to keep thawed milk for longer than 6 months
- A permanent marker
- A freezer lock (for chest or regular freezers – especially if you have toddlers!)
- A Haakaa
STEPS TO MAKING BREASTMILK BRICKS:
- Store flat in baggies, label, freeze.
- Place frozen baggies in a 2.5 gallon ziplock bag (fits about 15 bricks).
- Once you hit 15 bricks, label with a permanent marker – the span of dates of milk (for example, March 12-20) and how many ounces in total (I do 15 x 5oz baggies = 75oz breastmilk).
- You may need to alternate the baggies upside down to fit better.
- You can use a 2 gallon zip lock to make 10x5oz baggies = 50oz.
WHAT IF MY BABY DRINKS MORE OR LESS THAN 5OZ PER FEED?
You have a few options here:
- Top off thawed milk with fresh milk.
- Add formula to thawed milk.
- Breast/chest-feed on one breast and offer thawed milk after.
- Thaw more than you need and add the remainder to solids/purees/smoothies.
- Know that you have 24 hours to use thawed milk – so plan accordingly! Thaw more than you need for 12 hours and use the remainder before expiration.
- Make bricks of different size baggies – 3, 4, 5 oz (all 3oz bricks, all 4oz bricks, etc.) so you can pull accordingly. Use caution with this method to make sure you use the milk before it expires!
WHAT’S THE BEST WAY TO THAW BREASTMILK?
- Slow thaw in fridge overnight (good 24 hours from last ice crystal)
- Use @bemybreastfriend’s slushy prep method
- Thaw for 15-20 min in lukewarm water
- NEVER MICROWAVE
- NEVER LEAVE OUT FOR MORE THAN 20 MINUTES TO THAW
- NEVER BOIL BAGGIES
ROTATING YOUR FROZEN BREASTMILK (click the arrow to the right to see all 10 slides)
Have a ton of milk and don’t know how to use it best? Let us help you! Did you know you DON”T have to wait until your baby arrives to book a consult with us? Coping ahead is one of the most affective ways at reducing maternal stress! We’re happy to chat with you and review how to store your breastmilk beforehand so that you feed better equipped once that sweet baby arrives! Click here to learn more!
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**This post is educational and not meant to take the place of your provider. Bumblebaby makes a small commission on some of the items listed above.