If you can’t give your baby fresh breast milk, then using expressed breast milk is the next best thing you can provide them as a complete and nutritious source of food.
While it’s true that antioxidants and other protective properties of breast milk decrease with refrigeration and freezing, the proper storage conditions can add valuable time to its shelf life.
Below are the answers to some common questions regarding the storage of breastmilk, so let’s get started.
Can You Store Breast Milk in Ziploc Bags?
According to Michigan Medicine, the answer is yes. You can use plastic bottle liners or small ziplock bags to store your breast milk, however, there are a few guidelines that you need to follow to ensure healthy and proper storage:
- You should store your breast milk in bags that are BPA-free. Make sure the bags aren’t just household plastic bags or disposable bottle liners.
Alternatively, you can use storage bags that are specifically designed for milk collection and storage.
- Make sure that the bags are sturdy and free of holes. You should also store them in a place where they won’t get punctured or damaged.
- Keep the Ziploc bags held upright in cups to better protect your bagged breast milk. You can also put the bags in a Tupperware container or some other metal container to minimize the risk of tearing on the shelves of your fridge or freezer.
- Be sure to wash your hands before pumping or handling breast milk that you’ll store.
- The Ziploc storage bags should be squeaky clean and thoroughly dry. There’s no need for sterilization, simply wash them in hot soapy water or the dishwasher.
How Long Can You Store Breast Milk in Ziploc Bags?
The answer to this depends on the conditions of the place where you’ll be storing the breast milk in Ziploc bags. Here’s a simple breakdown:
- If the Ziploc bags are kept at room temperature between 60°F (16°C and 85°F (29°C), the stored freshly expressed milk can for 3 to 4 hours.
Given that the milk was collected under clean conditions, such as thoroughly washed hands, properly cleaned pump parts, and clean Ziploc bags, you can keep it at room temperature to use within a maximum of 6 to 8 hours.
- If the Ziploc bags are kept in an insulated cooler (such a cooler with an ice pack) at around 59°F (15°C), the milk can be stored for up to 24 hours
- If the Ziploc bags are stored fresh in the refrigerator at a temperature of 39°F (4°C), the breast milk will be good for up to 72 hours. If the milk was collected under clean conditions, it may be able to push it for 5 to 8 days.
- If the Ziploc bags are kept in a refrigerator freezer at 0°F (-18°C), the breast milk can last for up to 6 months.
So can you store breast milk in Ziploc bags? Yes, you can. Just make sure the bags are clean and damage-free.