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Milk Handling for Parents

General Information

Milk Handling & Storage for Parents


  1. While unpacking, inspect the condition of each bottle to ensure they are intact and frozen.

  2. Immediately transfer bottles to the freezer.

  3. Verify that the number of bottles and batch numbers match what is listed on the packing slip.

  4. Call the milk bank at 817-810-0071 if there are any discrepancies or concerns about the condition of the delivery/shipment.


  1. Place bottles in a freezer toward the back or the bottom where it will stay as cold as possible. Do not store milk in the freezer door.

  2. Note the expiration date on each bottle and use the milk with the earliest expiration date first.


  1. Document the date and time that bottles are removed from the freezer for thawing.

  2. It is best to cold-thaw donor milk by placing what is needed for feedings the next day in the refrigerator. It may take between 12-24 hours for milk to completely thaw.

  3. To quick-thaw milk:
    a) Hold the bottle under lukewarm running water without submerging the cap.
    b) Place the bottle in a clean container of warm water without submerging the cap. As water cools, replace it with more warm water. The water temperature should not exceed 98℉. Once milk is liquid but still chilled, dry off the bottle and refrigerate.
    c) Place bottle in a warmer designed for thawing human milk and follow the manufacturer’s instructions.

  4. Do not heat milk warmer than skin temperature.

  5. Once milk is thawed, DO NOT REFREEZE.

  6. Human milk should never be thawed or heated in the microwave.

Instructions for Use

  1. Thoroughly wash hands prior to handling donor milk and ensure your handling area is clean.

  2. Gently swirl the milk to mix it and pour the estimated amount needed into a clean feeding container.

  3. Cover any remaining milk not poured into the feeding container and place it back into the refrigerator immediately.

  4. Thawed, warmed milk should be discarded after one hour at room temperature.

  5. Unused milk that has been warmed and has been out for less than one hour, may be refrigerated promptly after the feeding. This milk may be used for the next feeding, however, never add this milk to a "new bottle" of thawed milk.

  6. Donor human milk can be used for up to 48 hours after defrosting if kept in the refrigerator.

Jones, F. (2019) Best practice for expressing, storing and handling human milk in hospitals, homes and childcare settings (4th ed.). Fort Worth, TX: Human Milk Banking Association of North America. 

  • Pediatrix Neonatology
    Pediatrix Neonatology
  • Abide Women's Health Services
    Abide Women's Health Services
  • NEC Society
  • Benbrook Area Chamber of Commerce
  • The Amy E. Shewbart Foundation
    The Amy E. Shewbart Foundation
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