Using a pump and storing breast-milk can be very helpful. This allows milk to be available if the mother is not present. It also allows others to participate in the bonding associated with feeding. Be sure to wash your hands before starting and clean the breast pump after using it. The milk can be collected in a sterile plastic bag or clean plastic bottle. Avoid glass, which can break and also can absorb some immune factors from breast milk. Label the bag or bottle with the date and time and store it. Milk can be left out for one to two hours.
Milk can be stored in the refrigerator for up to 48 hours at a temperature of 34 to 40 degrees Fahrenheit (1 to 4 degrees Celsius). Milk can be stored in a freezer inside a refrigerator for 3 weeks at a temperature of 20 to 28 degrees Fahrenheit (-7 to -2 degrees Celsius). Milk can be stored in a separate door freezer for up to 3 months at a temperature of 5 to 15 degrees Fahrenheit (-15 to -9 degrees Celsius). Milk can be stored in a deep freezer for up to 6 months at a temperature of 0 degrees Fahrenheit (-18 degrees Celsius) or below.
When thawing milk, put it in the refrigerator for up to 2 to 3 days, or run warm water over the container until it is thawed. Do not microwave, as this can heat unevenly and burn the baby's mouth. Be sure not to thaw milk by letting it sit at room temperature, and do not let thawed milk sit out for over one to two hours. Also, do not refreeze thawed milk or add new milk to a frozen bag or bottle as this can defrost the top of the frozen section. Do not overheat milk, which can cause it to curdle, or store milk in a freezer door, which can vary greatly in temperature as the door is opened and closed.