Breastmilk Storage Guidelines at Childcare

  • Guidelines for Child Care Facilities vs. Home Storage

Considerations on Milk Storage:

  • Nebraska Child Care Licensing Regulations, revised in 2013, reflect a lower range for freezer and refrigerator storage to err on the side of greater food safety.
  • The child care facility has 2 days (up to 48 hours) to use unfrozen (fresh) milk.
  • Child Care providers can keep frozen milk for up to 3 months.
  • Home storage guidelines allow a longer period of time for refrigerator and freezer storage and it is up to the mother to ensure safe storage within the guidelines.
  • Milk that is expressed in sanitary conditions (clean hands, equipment, space) will ensure greater safety.
  • Encourage mothers to express milk in a clean location (not a bathroom), wash hands before pumping, and chill or refrigerate the milk promptly.
  • The longer fresh or frozen milk is stored, the more nutrients it loses. This is the reason that fresh milk is best and should be used first.

Tips to Bridge Child Care and Home Milk Storage Guidelines:

  • All milk brought to child care needs to be appropriately labeled:

Other Reminders and Tips for Providers & Moms

  • The Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) classifies human milk as a FOOD, not a bodily fluid. It is not considered a bio-hazardous substance.
  • To prevent the spread of germs, wash your hands before preparing any bottle.
  • Use the oldest fresh milk first and then use the oldest frozen milk when fresh milk is not available.
  • Thaw frozen milk in a warm water bath or under running water. NEVER use a microwave to thaw or warm human milk.
  • Store breastmilk in small quantities (1-4 ounces) to limit waste.
  • Store milk towards the back of the freezer or refrigerator, where temperature is most constant.
  • If the fresh milk has not been frozen, but exceeds 48 hours at the facility, give the milk back to the parents to freeze or use at home.
  • Keep a small frozen supply of milk for each child. If the frozen milk passes the 3 month date, give back to the parent for home use.

Nebraska Child Care Licensing Rules and Regulations (2013):
ABM Clinical Protocol #8: Human Milk Storage Information for Home Use for Full-Term Infants (Original Protocol March 2004; Revision #1 March 2010):