Storage of breast milk depends entirely on how soon you want to use it. Refrigeration is a better choice as compared to freezing it if you plan to use the milk within a single day. It is important to know that freezing breast milk might destroy some of the essential substances that help to fight against infections. However, the fact remains that frozen breast milk is healthier than baby formula food.
To maintain the freshness of breast milk, it is important to store it properly and in the correct way. It can be stored at room temperature a maximum of 25 degrees if it needs to be consumed within four hours. You can also store it in a refrigerator at a maximum of 4 degrees for up to 24 hours. It is possible to store breast milk in the refrigerator for three to five days and maintain its freshness, provided your location is a colder region. The problem with hotter locations is that fridge doors are frequently opened and closed to keep and take more and more food products. In such cases, breast milk should not be stored in the fridge for more than a day.
You can even store the milk in a freezer at a temperature of -18 degree Celsius, from three to six months. Make sure to keep the milk properly sealed and keep it at the back of the freezer compartment, away from the door. This is to ensure that milk is not affected so much by changing temperatures when you open the freezer. It is possible to store breast milk in an icebox, Thermo cool box with ice, Styrofoam or insulated cooler for up to 24 hours. Keep a thermometer inside the refrigerator, to keep a track on the temperature fluctuations, especially during power outages. Take extra precautions during summer months.
Storing breast milk enables your baby to get the benefits of your milk, even in your absence. Prior to storage, wash your hands before expressing milk, to avoid contamination with bacteria. Use sterilized containers like plastic bottles for storage. Some chemists and baby shops also sell plastic breast milk bags specially meant for this purpose. Avoid using glass containers because the white blood cells which fight against infections may cling to the glass interiors. Store it safely in a clean area away from other food items. Another important thing is to label the exact dates on the bottles. Use the latest milk first, because milk changes according to the needs of the baby. Clean the breast pump thoroughly and sterilize it before using.