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As a breastfeeding and pumping mom, breast milk is always on my mind. How much is there in the fridge? Is it enough for tomorrow? What about my freezer stash? Is any of the milk going to expire soon?
While breast milk storage guidelines can vary somewhat, I follow the “5-5-5” principle to make sure my expressed milk stays fresh and doesn’t expire before we can use it. See this handy graphic as a guide.
Of course, this might leave you with questions like, what is room temp? Or, it really only lasts 5 months in the freezer? I defined room temperature as quite cool – at work I pump and store the expressed milk in a cooler bag – so it is warmer than a refrigerator but cooler than my overheated office.
For freezer storage, if you have a deep freezer the milk will likely remain fresh longer and can be stored for up to one year. If your freezer is small and the doors is opened frequently (leading to fluctuation in the the freezer temperature) the milk may stay fresh for less than 5 months.
I hope the 5-5-5 rule helps you maximize your expressed milk. Remember, if you are freezing milk, label the storage bags with the quantity and date!
What’s in your breast pump bag? Curious about boosting your milk supply? Read on!