Life with a newborn is hectic. Add to this the conflicting advice you sometimes get on baby care and breastfeeding, and it can boggle the mind. One call we often get at Ameda is from mothers trying to sort out the different milk storage guidelines. Which guidelines should they use?
Why Guidelines Differ
Why can't experts agree? First, research confirms that your milk will not spoil before the times listed on this website. But the longer your milk is stored, the more vitamins are lost. That's why some breastfeeding books list shorter storage times. Those experts prefer you to use your milk sooner rather than later. But this doesn't mean that your milk will be spoiled if you wait longer.
It's never a bad idea to give your milk as soon as you can after pumping. But what should you do if you find some stored milk in the back of the fridge that has been there for up to eight days? Formula does not include the antibodies found in your milk. In fact, those antibodies in your milk kill bacteria. This makes your milk hardier and longer lasting. When in doubt about the freshness of your milk, smell or taste it. Spoiled milk will smell spoiled.
This is general information and does not replace the advice of your physician or healthcare provider. If you have a problem you cannot solve quickly, seek help right away.
Every baby is different, and your baby may not be average.
If in doubt, contact your physician or other healthcare provider.
Nancy Mohrbacher, IBCLC, FILCA, Lactation Consultant, Ameda Breastfeeding Products
Coauthor of Breastfeeding Made Simple: Seven Natural Laws for Nursing Mothers