There may be times when you need to be away from your baby and cannot nurse. You may need to return to work before your baby has stopped nursing. Your spouse or other family member may want to feed the baby. Or, your baby may not be able to breast-feed for a while because of a medical problem. When your baby cannot be breast-fed, you can hand express or pump your breast milk and then store it safely for later use.
You can keep fresh breast milk at room temperature (up to 85°F, or 29°C) for 4 to 6 hours. Cover the container and keep it as cool as possible.
You can store milk:
Do not store breast milk in the door of your freezer, where the temperature may change frequently.
You can thaw milk slowly or quickly:
After the milk thaws, swirl the container to mix the cream back in. Do not leave defrosted milk at room temperature for more than 1 or 2 hours, and do not refreeze it.
You need only to take the chill off cold milk before feeding your baby. You do not need to heat it. You may warm a bottle of chilled milk by:
Do not use a microwave or stove to thaw or warm expressed milk. Milk can overheat very easily in a microwave. Babies have been burned by milk that was too hot. Also, many of the nutrients of breast milk can be destroyed by overheating.