Expressing and Storing Breast Milk

Tips for safe storage

Expressing milk is really useful if you know you’re going to miss a feed or if you’re going back to work. Storing your breast milk is easy too, once you know how.

Expressing milk

You can express breast milk using a manual or electric breast pump. With an electric pump, you can save time by expressing while you’re breastfeeding. Expressing can be a great help if:

  • Your breasts are engorged or your nipples are sore
  • Your baby can’t be breastfed directly – for example, if they’re premature
  • You miss a feed because your baby wasn’t hungry
  • You want to have a store of milk for an emergency
  • You want someone else to feed your baby
  • You’re going back to work

Tips for using stored breast milk

  • To unfreeze expressed milk, put it in the fridge for a few hours then leave it at room temperature
  • Don’t refreeze milk that’s been defrosted
  • Avoid mixing hot milk with milk that’s been frozen
  • Cool down expressed milk before you add it to milk that’s been previously stored
  • Use a bottle warmer or a bowl of hot water to heat the milk, rather than a microwave
  • Throw away any leftover expressed milk after you’ve fed your baby


Follow these tips and your baby can get the benefit of breast milk, even if you’re not able to feed them yourself.