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Practices -- Storage

Can breast milk be stored for later use?

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Yes. Expressed breast milk may be stored in the refrigerator for 48 hours. It should be stored in a sterilized bottle, tightly covered. It may be stored in a refrigerator freezer for up to 3 months or in a full-sized freezer for up to 6 months. It should again be stored in a tightly covered sterilized container. Choose small containers because the milk may not be restored for later use after it is thawed once. Thaw milk in the refrigerator. Shake to redistribute the separated milk fat after thawing. Do not refreeze any left-over milk after it has been thawed. Use within 48 hours of thawing.

PREPARED BY: Angela M. Fraser, Ph.D., Associate Professor/Food Safety Specialist, and Carolyn J. Lackey, Ph.D., R.D., L.D.N., Professor/Food and Nutrition Specialist, North Carolina State University (August 2004)

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