Expressing & Storing Breast Milk - Do's & Don'ts

Breast Milk is a precious resource for newborns and infants, providing them with optimal nutrition and numerous health benefits. For many mothers, expressing and storing breast milk allows them to continue providing this nourishment even when they cannot breastfeed directly. As a breastfeeding mother, it’s important to understand the proper technique for expressing and storing breast milk to maintain its quality and ensure the safety of your baby. 

For new mothers who also have professional commitments, breastfeeding can pose significant challenges. There are often situations where you may encounter difficulties when trying to nurse your child; they may refuse to breastfeed when you're available, or they may become hungry when you’re not present. To address this issue, many mothers opt to utilise a breast pump as a viable solution. We explore the do’s and dont’s of expressing and storing breast milk, it can help moms navigate this process successfully. 

Do's and Don'ts for Expressing & Storing Breast Milk 

Here are practices to maintain optimal infant nutrition while preserving the integrity of breast milk. Check out the do’s and don’ts - expressing and storing breast milk given below. 

Do’s of Expressing Breast Milk

  1. Establish a Routine: Establishing a consistent expressing routine can help stimulate milk production and maintain a healthy milk supply. Find a time when you are relaxed and comfortable, and try to express milk around the same time each day. 
  2. Practise Proper Hygiene: Before expressing breast milk, ensure that your hand is thoroughly washed with soap and warm water. Cleanse your breast with mild soap and water, avoid using harsh chemicals that might come into contact with the milk. 
  3. Choose a Suitable Pump: Invest in a high-quality breast pump that suits your needs. Manual or electric versions are available, and selecting the one that is comfortable and efficient for you can make the expression process smoother. 
  4. Create a Calm Environment: Find a quiet, comfortable space where you can relax during the expression session. Minimise distractions and focus on resting in a calm atmosphere to enhance let-down and milk flow.  
  5. Use a Proper Technique: Learn the correct technique for expressing breast milk, whether using a pump or manual hand expression. The proper technique ensures maximum milk yield and minimises discomfort. 

Don’t of Expressing Breast Milk

  1. Don’t Rush: Take your time while expressing breast milk. Rushing the process can impede milk flow and decrease the overall amount expressed. Give yourself ample time to relax and allow the milk to flow naturally. 
  2. Avoid Stress: Stress can hinder the let-down reflex, making it more difficult to express milk. Find ways to relax, such as listening to soothing music, doing deep breathing exercises, or practising mindfulness techniques.
  3. Don’t Overuse Nipple Shields: Nipple shields can be helpful in certain situations, but they should not be used routinely while expressing breast milk. Regular or direct skin-to-skin contact with the baby’s mouth helps stimulate milk production.
  4. Avoid Using Old or Damaged Equipment: Ensure that the breast pump and storage containers you use are in good condition. Old or damaged equipment may compromise milk quality and pose hygiene risks. 
  5. Sanitisation and Washing: Make sure you follow a regular washing and sterilisation schedule by dismantling all the attachments provided. Wash them with a mild soap solution and then sterilise. 

Do’s of Breast Milk Storage

  1. Label and Date: Always label each container of expressed milk with the date and time it was expressed. This helps you prioritise the oldest milk for use and prevents wastage.
  2. Use Proper Storage Containers: Try to choose BPA-free, food-grade containers specifically designed for breast milk storage. These containers should have airtight lids to prevent contamination and leakage. Most of the pumps come with at least one bottle to store usually. 
  3. Store in Small Portions: Store breast milk in small portions to minimise waste. This also allows you to thaw and warm only the amount needed for each feeding.
  4. Refrigerate or freeze Promptly:  Place freshly expressed breast milk in the refrigerator or freezer within one hour of expressing it. If you plan to use it within 24 hours, refrigeration is sufficient. For longer storage, freezing is recommended. Store it at room temperature if you plan to use it within 3-4 hours. 
  5. Practise Proper Storage Techniques: In the refrigerator, store breast milk in the back where the temperature is coldest, away from raw foods. In the freezer, store breast milk in small portions to minimise wastage during thawing. 
  6. Thaw Milk Safely: When thawing frozen breast milk, use the refrigerator, warm water, or bottle warmer. Avoid using hot water or microwave, as they can destroy essential nutrients and create hot spots that could scald your baby.

Don’ts of Break Milk Storage

  1. Don't Mix Milk from Different Expressing Sessions: Avoid combining fresh milk with milk expressed at different times or on different days. Mixing milk of varying temperatures or freshness may affect its quality and increase the risk of bacterial contamination.
  2. Don't Add Warm Milk to Previously Refrigerated Milk: Avoid adding freshly expressed warm milk to a container that already contains refrigerated milk. It's important to cool the milk before combining it to maintain proper storage temperatures and prevent spoilage.
  3. Don't Refreeze Thawed Milk: Once you have thawed breast milk, it is best to use it within 24 hours. Refreezing thawed milk can lead to a loss of essential nutrients and increase the risk of bacterial growth.
  4. Don't Microwave Breast Milk: Microwaving breast milk is not recommended as it can cause hot spots that may scald your baby's mouth and destroy valuable nutrients. Instead, thaw or warm the milk by placing the container in a bowl of warm water or using a bottle warmer.
  5. Don't Store Milk in the Door of the Refrigerator: The door of the refrigerator experiences temperature fluctuations, which can affect the quality of stored breast milk. Instead, store breast milk toward the back of the refrigerator, where the temperature is more consistent.

How long can breast milk be stored

If you intend to use or store it shortly, fresh milk can be kept at room temperature for a while after it has been pumped. However, for long-term storage, it is necessary to refrigerate or freeze it. Check more details given below the table. 

Storage Types (fresh milk)

Duration for safely used

Room temperature (up to 25°C)

4 hours after pumping

Refrigerator (up to 04°C)


Cold packs/insulated container 

24 hours

Freezer (-18°C)

6 to 12 months

On the other hand, talk about thawed milk that was previously frozen and applied a different rule. 

Storage Types (thawed milk)

Duration for safely used

Room temperature (up to 25°C)

1 to 2 hours

Refrigerator (up to 04°C)

24 hours 

Freezer (-18°C)

Do not refreeze thawed milk

Expressing and storing breast milk can provide flexibility and peace of mind for working class mothers. Proper breast milk storage is crucial for maintaining its nutritional value and ensuring the safety of your baby. By following the do’s and don’ts mentioned above, you can ensure that your expressed breast milk remains safe, nutritious, and suitable for your baby’s consumption. Remember, breast milk is a precious gift, and by practising proper hygiene, using appropriate storage techniques and adhering to the guidelines, you can continue to provide your baby with the many benefits of breastfeeding, even when you are not present. 

In addition, if you have any concerns or questions about expressing and storing breast milk, it is always best to consult a lactation consultant or healthcare experts, who can better assist you regarding the queries. 

Breastfeeding is a deeply personal experience for both mother and baby. Romsons offer the Manual Breast Pump which serves as a reliable companion for breastfeeding mothers. Check out the product details below. 

Romsons Manual Breast Pump - This breast pump ensures a comfortable and seamless milk let-down thanks to its gentle silicone massage cushions and adjustable 2-level suctions. Additionally, it includes a BPA-free plastic bottle for convenient milk storage. 

To know more about Romsons Manual Breast Pump, click on the link:

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