Label each container with the date it was expressed. If you are taking it to day care, put your baby's name on the label. Medela's CSF bags have a label area that stays flat even when the bag is full. Since the composition of human milk changes to meet your baby's needs as he grows, always use the freshest milk possible.
Storing Human Milk
Whenever it is possible, give your baby fresh milk that has been refrigerated, not frozen. Freezing kills some of the live cells and antibodies in human milk, but not all of them. Since formula doesn't have any of these anti-infective properties to begin with, frozen milk is still better for him than formula. If you are planning to use the milk within eight days, refrigerate it rather than freezing it.
Because human milk is a living substance, its antibacterial properties help it stay fresh longer than formula. How long you can store it depends on the temperature.
•Freshly expressed milk can be stored at room temperature for up to ten hours. Colostrum or milk expressed within one week of delivery can be stored for twelve hours at room temperature. However, whenever possible, milk should be placed in the refrigerator soon after expressing.
•Fresh milk can be kept in the refrigerator for up to eight days. Store it toward the back.
•Fresh milk can be stored in a cooler with ice packs for up to 24 hours.
•Fresh milk can be placed in a freezer compartment inside a fridge for up to 2 weeks. (These are usually only found in older type refrigerators).
•Fresh milk can be kept in a self-contained freezer compartment for 3-6 months, depending on how often the door is opened. Store it toward the back.
•Fresh milk can be stored in a separate chest type deep freeze for 6-12 months.
Milk that has been frozen and thawed can be kept in the fridge for 24 hours. Thawed milk should not be refrozen.
With all these guidelines, remember that fresh milk which has been stored at room temperature or in a cooler before being placed in the fridge or freezer may not keep as long. That’s why you should always place milk in the fridge as soon as possible after expressing it.
New research indicates that milk that has been offered to a baby but has not been heated can be kept at room temperature for up to 4 hours, or 24 hours if you put it in the fridge right away. Once the milk has been heated, it can sit at room temperature for up to 2 hours, but then should be discarded. Milk that has been heated and offered to the baby can be refrigerated within 30 minutes and offered again for the next feeding, but discarded after that. These are the guidelines I've suggested to mothers for over 10 years, and have never heard of any problems.
When a refrigerator isn't available, put the milk in an insulated container with ice packs. The PumpInStyle comes with it's own built-in insulated container and ice packs, making it ideal for transporting milk home from work.
Handling and Thawing
Human milk may separate into layers of milk and cream during storage. Gently shake it to mix the fat that has separated.
Breastmilk may look bluish, greenish, yellowish, or brownish according to what you have eaten recently. Foremilk expresses at the beginning of a pumping session may look thinner and bluish, like skim milk. Hindmilk expressed later in the feeding may look thicker or creamier, and have a yellow tint. The yellow tint is especially pronounced during the first week or so of nursing while the milk still contains colostrum. Your milk may smell ‘soapy’ after it is frozen and then thawed. This is due to changes that occur during the freezing process, and is not harmful to the baby. Breastmilk isn't spoiled unless it smells really bad or tastes sour.
You can pump directly into refrigerated milk as long as you add the milk within 24 hours of when the original milk was expressed. If milk has been stored at room temperature, you can pump directly into it as long as you do it within eight-ten hours. You then need to use the milk as soon as possible.
If you plan to use the milk within 8 days, don't freeze it. If you do plan to freeze it, do so within 24-48 hours of expressing it. The sooner you freeze it, the better.