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5 Places You Should Never Store Breast Milk

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As a new mom, the list of "don't's" can feel like it goes on forever. Don't feed your baby this, don't let them sleep there, don't forget to do this. And although the don'ts can be overwhelming at times, it's important to remember that ultimately you're the only one who can (and should) make these decisions. Motherhood isn't black and white and there are many different ways to be great at it. When it comes to storing your breast milk, however, things are a little more cut and dry. There are several places you should never store your breast milk because, as with any other food, it can spoil.

By now, you've probably learned that breast milk is called liquid gold for a reason. You painstakingly pump each and every ounce and nurse your baby around the clock, so when it comes to storing the milk that you've pump, it's better to be safe than sorry. According to the Mayo Clinic, the very structure of breast milk can be altered if it isn't stored properly.

Luckily though, storing that liquid gold correctly isn't as hard or intimidating as it sounds and with these helpful tips in mind improper storage won't ever be an issue.

1. In Uncovered Ice Cube Trays

Milkies

A popular hack that many moms use to store their milk is popping the warm milk in ice cube trays to make it easier to unthaw later on. However, the danger behind this is the risk of picking up contaminants from your freezer that it wouldn't have otherwise encountered. Luckily, you don't have to ditch this hack all together though thanks to products like Milkies Milk Trays ($22) that have lids that fit over the tray, keeping all bacteria out.

2. At Room Temperature For Longer Than Four To Six Hours

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Although the antibodies in breast milk prevent bacteria from growing easily, it shouldn't be left at room temperature for longer than six hours (ideally four), according to Fit Pregnancy.

3. Near Uncooked Foods Or Raw Meat

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In order to keep your milk as pure as possible, Baby Center recommends storing it "in a safe clean area, away from meat, eggs, or uncooked foods." This may seem a bit overboard, but it's usually best to err on the side of caution when it comes to potential contaminants.

4. In A Bag With A Tear In It

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For the same reasons as above, its crucial that that any bags you store your milk in, whether they're specially designed for breast milk or not, don't have any tears in them and are completely closed. The blog Breastfeeding In Combat Boots suggests using glass or hard plastic containers that you can reuse over and over again.

5. On Ice For Longer Than 24 Hours

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If you're traveling or need to keep your milk cold for a shorter period of time, putting the milk in a cooler with ice is a great way to get the job done. However, make sure you don't let it sit on ice for longer than 24 hours, according to Kelly Mom, especially after the ice has melted.