Transport & Storage of Breast Milk


As for collection, the requirements for storing expressed breast milk are more stringent for sick or pre-term infants in hospital than for healthy infants at home. The literature review identified evidence suggesting that the maximum storage time of expressed breast milk under clean conditions in a refrigerator at 0 – 4°c is 96 hours (evidence grade c).
*please note that breast milk storage guidelines vary

Storing Breast Milk At Home

The ABM (Academy of Breastfeeding Medicine) has recently updated its protocol for storing breast milk for home use. The safety measures for storing expressed breast milk outlined in these guidelines are consistent with the recent ABM protocol. Breast milk can be stored in glass or plastic containers, including sealable plastic bags. Freshly expressed milk that is being refrigerated or frozen should be stored in a new container rather than added to previously refrigerated or frozen milk.

Guide to storing expressed breast milk at home:

  • Wash hands thoroughly with soap and water – hands must be thoroughly dried with a clean towel, single use towel or hand dryer
  • Refrigerate or freeze milk after expressing
  • Use fresh milk whenever possible
  • Freeze milk that will not be used within 2 days
  • Date the container at the time of collection and use the oldest milk first

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

Transporting Breast Milk
  • Transport expressed breast milk in an insulated container – an Esky with a freezer brick
  • If some milk has thawed it should be used within 4 hours – do not refreeze it
  • Place the labelled milk in the refrigerator (or in the freezer if it is still frozen) immediately upon arrival

Expressing and Storing Breast Milk gratefully reproduced by permission. National Health and medical Research council (2012) Infant Feeding Guidelines. Canberra: National Health and Medical Research Council.

Confirmation Content



Disclaimer: This publication by Miracle Babies Foundation is intended solely for general education and assistance and it is it is not medical advice or a healthcare recommendation. It should not be used for the purpose of medical diagnosis or treatment for any individual condition. This publication has been developed by our Parent Advisory Team (all who are parents of premature and sick babies) and has been reviewed and approved by a Clinical Advisory Team. This publication is not a substitute for professional medical advice. Miracle Babies Foundation recommends that professional medical advice and services be sought out from a qualified healthcare provider familiar with your personal circumstances.To the extent permitted by law, Miracle Babies Foundation excludes and disclaims any liability of any kind (directly or indirectly arising) to any reader of this publication who acts or does not act in reliance wholly or partly on the content of this general publication. If you would like to provide any feedback on the information please email [email protected].