How long you can safely keep expressed breast milk depends on the storage method. Consider these general guidelines for healthy infants:
- Room temperature. Freshly expressed breast milk can be kept at room temperature for up to six hours. If you won't use the milk that quickly or the room is especially warm, transfer the milk to an insulated cooler, refrigerator or freezer.
- Insulated cooler. Freshly expressed breast milk can be stored in an insulated cooler with ice packs for up to one day. Then use the milk or transfer the containers to the refrigerator or freezer.
- Refrigerator. Freshly expressed breast milk can be stored in the back of the refrigerator — not the door — for up to five to eight days.
- Freezer. Freshly expressed breast milk can be stored in a standard refrigerator freezer for up to three to six months and in a chest freezer for up to six to 12 months. Place the milk in the back of the freezer — not the door.