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Expressing breastmilk - Part 2

How do I store breastmilk?
It is best to put breastmilk in plastic feeding bottles with secure tops to seal in freshness. You can also use plastic bags made especially for storing milk, or disposable baby bottle liners. Remember to write the date on the bottle or bag before putting it in the fridge or freezer. It'll make it easy for you to work out in which order to use batches.

To keep your milk safe in the fridge, you need to know how cold your fridge is. If your fridge doesn’t have a built-in thermometer, you can buy one from a kitchen or hardware shop.

Freshly expressed milk can be stored for:

- up to five days in the main part of a fridge, at 4 degrees C or lower
- up to two weeks in the freezer compartment of a fridge
- up to six months in a freezer, at minus 18 degrees C or lower
If you plan to store expressed breastmilk for fewer than five days, keeping it in the fridge is the best way to maintain all its goodness.

Freezing milk destroys some of its antibodies. Antibodies are chemicals our bodies make to fight infections. So it's best not to freeze any that you plan to use within the time limits. Frozen breastmilk is still healthier for your baby than formula milk.

You can thaw frozen milk in any of the following ways:

- place the bottle or bag in a bowl of warm water
- run it under warm tap water
- defrost it in the fridge overnight
It's tempting to speed up the thawing or warming process, especially when you're busy. But using a microwave or hob to do the job will kill the nutrients in your breastmilk. Once the milk is thawed, use it straight away. Throw away partially drunk portions of milk. The milk will have mixed with your baby’s saliva and may not be hygienic for him next time.
As well as a breast pump and containers for milk storage, you may need a portable cool box to carry expressed milk home from work. Read our article about work and breastfeeding to find out more.

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