Collecting Handling and Storing Breast Milk

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We applaud your desire to support and supply babies with natures richest and best nutrition. Therefore we know you are concerned about providing clean, healthy available breast milk.   Remember, the simplest way to prevent the spread of any bacteria or disease is simply washing your hands!

Aseptic technique is a procedure used by medical staff to prevent the spread of infection and the greatest and simplest way to prevent any contamination is to wash your hands!

Only the Breast provides a list of best practices for donors collecting, handling, and storing their breast milk.

Express and collect and storing your breast milk:

Hand washing

  • Wash your hands with warm water and soap, sudsing up your hands well for at least 15 seconds. Humming “Happy Birthday song” while you are washing is about the how long you need to soap your hands each time you collect.
  • Rinse soap off your hands and pat dry with a paper towel.
  • Make sure you wash your hands before and after touching equipment and collecting your milk every time.

Clean Equipment

  • Before you begin pumping, make sure all equipment has been cleaned. Follow the manufacturers instructions before using your pump kit for the first time and refer to them if necessary in the future.
  • After pumping your milk, take the kit completely apart, including the breast flange and all parts.
  • Rinse the pump parts in cold water.
  • Wash each part in hot soapy water using dish washing soap. Your kit should be washed in a clean sink basin.
  • Rinse the soapy water off with warm water and dry your pump kit with a paper towel or let air dry on a clean towel.
  • Store your dry kit in a clean resealable plastic bag or container with a fitted lid.

Handling your milk

  • You may purchase breast milk Storage Bags or other quality milk bag in lieu of bottles. However, each donor should have sterilized containers prepared to collect and store your milk in before starting.   If you prefer containers, you may use sterile food grade plastic or glass containers. If you are unsure if the containers are sterile, boil them in water for 5 minutes and let cool before using to collect/store your milk.
  • We suggest you leave approximately ½ an ounce at the top of the container as the milk will expand when it is frozen.
  • Refer to Pumping Tips link below for additional information.
  • Again make sure to wash your hands before and after handling your milk.
  1. Storing your Breast Milk
  • Write the date you collected your sample (Month, day, year).
  • Write the volume of milk in ounces in the container. Many of the bags are pre-labeled for this feature. Please use this as a measurement and mark accordingly.
  • You can store milk for up to 24 hours before freezing if you have additional room in the container. However we recommend you freeze your milk within 30 minutes of collecting
  • Refer to Freezing and Storage links below for more detailed information.


Please remember following best practices to protect your valuable supply of available milk will not only ensure repeat customers, but the safety and nutrition needed for other infants.