How long and in what ways can I store my expressed breastmilk?


Room Temperature



Freshly expressed into a closed container

6-8 hrs (26C or lower). If refrigeration is available, store milk there.

No more than 72 hours. Store in the back where its coldest.

2 weeks in freezer compartment inside refrigerator (-15C)
3 months in freezer section of refrigerator with separate door (-18C)6-12 months in deep freeze (-20C*)

Previously frozen – thawed in refrigerator but not warmed

4 hours or less (ie the next feed)

Store in refrigerator 24 hours

Do not refreeze

Thawed outside refrigerator in warm water

For completion of feed

Hold for 4 hours or until next feed

Do not refreeze

Infant has begun feeding

Only for the completion of the feed, then discard



*Chest or upright manual defrost deep freezer that is opened infrequently and maintains ideal temperature

Information reproduced from National Health and Medical Research Council 2012, Infant Feeding Guidelines NHMRC, Canberra p59