Breast Milk Expression & Storage

It is extremely important to express and store breast milk safely! 

As breast milk is not sterile, it is imperative that you take the time to follow the recommended guidelines by HPB when pumping, storing, and using express milk (fresh, frozen, or freeze-dried) in the safest manner. 

This page reflects the current recommendations of the HPB as of February 2023.

Expressing breast milk

You can express your breast milk manually by using your hands or with a manual / electric breast pump. For more information on expression, check out some helpful tips here.


1. Wash hands thoroughly before expressing milk.

2. Ensure all the equipment is clean and sterilised.

3. Start your pump at low suction level and increase to a level you are comfortable with. Pump each breast for about 20 minutes.

4. Express your breast milk every 3 hours and store the breast milk in the refrigerator or freezer.

Storing & thawing breast milk


Expressed milk at room temperature of 25°C – 4 hours

Expressed milk in a cooler with ice pack at 15°C – 24 hours

Freshly expressed breast milk stored in fridge at 4°C – 48 hours

Frozen milk in 2-door fridge stored at -5°C to -15°C – 3–6 months

Frozen milk in deep freezer at -20°C – 6–12 months

Thawed breast milk stored in the fridge at 4°C – 24 hours


  • Thaw frozen milk in the refrigerator or in a cup of warm water
  • Use the milk immediately and discard the leftovers
  • Do not boil or heat breast milk in a microwave
  • Do not re-freeze or re-warm the breast milk

Additional Information

Loveee reading more info? Here's a condensed reference list for your indulgence ;)