The World Health Organization, a member of the United Nations Development Group, recommends infants be breast fed exclusively for the first six months of life. Knowing everything you need to know about breast milk is important when you make the choice to breast feed. One of the most important things to know is the temperature of breast milk.
Common question – What temperature is breast milk?
Everyone knows you can express milk using a breast pump then use a bottle to feed the baby. There are many reasons a mother may choose to express milk. The most common reason a mother may decide to express milk is to make it easy for someone else to watch the baby or feed the baby when the mother is not present.
How to Store Expressed Breast Milk
- Wash and clean your hands and breast, be sure to rinse both well to remove any soap residue that can taint the taste of the milk
- Use plastic containers/cups with tight fitting lids or strong plastic bags that will not leak, be sure the containers/bags you use are sterile to avoid contamination of the milk
- Label the container/bag with the date the milk was expressed
- Never save milk from a feeding to use later
- Never add new milk to a previously filled container
- Keep milk frozen or refrigerate
- Outside of the freezer/refrigerator/cool, milk will stay fresh for up to 8 hours and will remain fresh for at least 6 hours
- If kept in a refrigerator, milk will last 5 days
- Frozen milk will keep for 3 to 6 months in a regular freezer, and up to 12 months in a dedicated deep freeze freezer
- If traveling with milk, use a mini cooler with enough ice/packs/bags to keep the milk container in contact with the ice to keep it cold, the milk will stay fresh for 24 hours
The best feeding temperature for human breast milk is 98 degrees F or 37 degrees C. When a baby is feeding at the breast the milk is body temperature. Never boil breast milk, this will lessen its nutritional value because many nutrients are lost.
It is important to know the temperature of breast milk. The milk will be stored to use later and it should be fed at the proper temperature. The storing temperature of breast milk is different than the feeding temperature of the milk. So, the question, “what temperature is breast milk?” depends on storage and use.
The Proper Temperature for Storing Expressed Breast Milk
Per the Academy of Breastfeeding Medicine, this list shows the proper temperature for storing and using expressed breast milk.
- If breast milk is left out on a counter without keeping it cool, the temperature should be no more than 77 degrees F or 25 degrees C
- Milk stored in a refrigerator should be kept at 39 degrees F or 4 degrees C
- If storing expressed milk in a freezer, the temperature should be between -4 to 5 degrees F or -20 to 15 degrees C
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