Congratulations! You worked your butt (breasts?) off to pump that milk at work, while traveling, wherever you are - but you aren't ready to give it to baby yet, so now what? How do you store pumped milk and what's the best way to get it back to baby? Here is our compilation of the best tips on transporting and storing pumped breast milk.
Storing Breast Milk
Most major maternal/child health associations, as well as lactation organizations, have breast milk storage guidelines. These recommendations can vary a bit across sources. However, the general sentiment seems to be that expressed (pumped) milk should be chilled soon after pumping, if possible. The experts generally concluded that it is safe to keep milk at room temperature for up to 4 hours, in the fridge for 3-8 days, and in a standard freezer for 6 months.
Here's our roundup of the best and most helpful resources out there for new moms:
How Do I Transport Breast Milk Back to Home or Baby?
Of course, we're partial to using a Sarah Wells® breast pump bag for transporting your breast pump equipment, accessories and expressed milk! Our bags can fit a number of external coolers in either side compartment or in the main purse compartment. We know a lot of mamas prefer to use an external cooler to keep their milk safe/clean/private while in a communal work fridge during the day (keep in mind that cooler out of the fridge, with an ice pack, is only safe storage for a few hours; refer back to the guidelines above). If you need short-term storage for commuting back home, our testing shows that your bottles of pumped milk (tightly sealed/closed!), with ice packs, will stay cool in either side compartment of the Sarah Wells® bag, for up to four hours. This is plenty of time for most moms to get their milk home and to baby, the fridge or freezer. However you decide to transport your milk - external cooler, or in a pump bag - don't forget about it when you arrive home and get swept up in the chaotic life of a new mom! (Trust us, we've found milk we left in a cooler by accident days later - and we were crying over spoiled (not spilt!) milk!)