Breastmilk Storage Guidelines

Breastmilk Room Temperature Refrigerator Freezer
Freshly expressed into a closed container 6-8 hours (26oC or lower).
If refrigeration is available, store milk there.
No more than 72 hours. Store in the back, where it is coldest 2 weeks in freezer compartment inside refrigerator (-15 oC)

3 months in freezer section of refrigerator with separate door (-18 oC)

6 – 12 months in deep freeze (-20 oC)*

Previously frozen – thawed in refrigerator and not warmed 4 hours or less (ie the next feed) Store in refrigerator 24 hours Do not refreeze
Thawed outside refrigerator in warm water For completion of feed Hold for 4 hours or until next feed Do not refreeze
Infant has begun feeding Only for the completion of the feed, then discard Discard Discard


*Chest or upright manual defrost deep freezer that is opened infrequently and maintains ideal temperature

Reproduced from National Health and Medical Research Council 2012, ‘Infant Feeding Guidelines’, NHMRC, Canberra p59.