Storage of feeds

Feeds should be made up as required, but when travelling or going out for the day, this isn’t always possible

Storing prepared feeds for any length of time, even in a refrigerator, increases the risk of bacterial growth. This is why it is now recommended that feeds are made up as required and not in batches. So what should parents do if this is not possible?

One option could be to use cartons or bottles of ready-to-use milk, as these are sterile and convenient to use when out and about. Parents may also need sterilised bottles and clean scissors to open the packs.

Alternatively, to prepare feeds when not at home, parents should:

  • Place freshly boiled water into a clean, sealed vacuum flask kept solely for this purpose. This can then be used to make up a fresh feed when needed
  • Ensure that any bottles they are taking with them are sterilised and will remain sterilised for a suitable length of time
  • Measure the appropriate number of scoops of formula for each feed into a sterile, air-tight container
  • Prepare each feed in a separate bottle.

N.B. It is important to use a flask to transport the boiled water, as this will keep it above the required 70°C for several hours. It is not recommended to store prepared feeds in the fridge. Prepared bottles should be used as soon as possible.

Any chilled feeds that are transported in a cool bag with a frozen ice-pack should be used within four hours.

N.B. It is always safer to make up a fresh feed whenever possible.

Storing prepared bottle feeds

  • If stored at room temperature – use within two hours
  • If stored in a cool bag with an ice-pack – use within four hours.

Storing expressed breast milk

Breast milk should be expressed into a sterilised bottle or specially designed breast milk freezer bag or container that can be sealed and stored. Breast milk can be stored in the coolest part of a fridge (usually the back) for up to five days (at below 5°C), in the freezer compartment of a fridge for up to two weeks, or in a freezer for up to six months. Breast milk should be refrigerated or frozen as soon as possible after expressing. Frozen breast milk should be defrosted in the fridge or lukewarm water and used straight away. Once it has been defrosted and warmed, it should be used immediately and any leftovers thrown away, but never re-frozen.

Breast milk should be refrigerated or frozen as soon as possible after expressing

Warming feeds

When warming up feeds, parents should be advised to use a bottle warmer or container of warm water – never a microwave. After warming, the feed should be shaken to remove any hot spots and the temperature of the milk should be tested before giving to a baby. Warmed feeds should be used immediately and any unused milk should be discarded within two hours.

This website is for healthcare professionals, people who work in pharmacy and pharmacy students. By clicking into any content, you confirm this describes you and that you agree to Infant Feeding Guide's Terms of Use and Privacy Policy.

We use essential, performance, functional and advertising cookies to give you a better web experience. Find out how to manage these cookies here. We also use Interest Based Advertising Cookies to display relevant advertisements on this and other websites based on your viewing behaviour. By clicking "Accept" you agree to the use of these Cookies and our Cookie Policy.