How long can you keep breast milk in Haaka?

Quick Answer

Breast milk stored in a Haakaa can be kept at room temperature for up to 4 hours, in the refrigerator for up to 4 days, and in the freezer for up to 6 months. However, these time frames can vary based on factors like the temperature of your refrigerator and freezer. It’s generally best to follow the refrigerator and freezer storage guidelines for expressed breast milk when storing milk in a Haakaa.

How Does a Haakaa Work?

A Haakaa is a silicone breast milk collector that uses suction to gently draw out leaking milk from the breast that baby is not actively feeding from during nursing sessions. It adheres to the breast via suction and catches the letdown from the other breast while you are nursing your baby.

The Haakaa works by creating a seal around the breast, which generates a vacuum as the milk begins to flow. This light suction then draws out the leaking milk, catching it in the collection container attached to the suction base.

Key Features of the Haakaa Breast Milk Collector

– Silicone suction base that creates a gentle vacuum seal on the breast
– Lightweight, flexible design that is easy to attach and remove
– Capacity ranging from 4oz to 6oz depending on Haakaa model
– BPA-free, phthalate-free, lead-free construction
– Can be used on one or both breasts simultaneously
– Affordable low-tech option compared to electric pumps

How Long Can Breast Milk be Left at Room Temperature?

The CDC recommends not leaving expressed breast milk at room temperature for more than 4 hours. This applies whether the milk was newly expressed or thawed after freezing.

Bacteria can multiply quickly in breast milk left out at room temperature. So milk that has been expressed and left out for longer than 4 hours should be discarded.

Follow these room temperature storage guidelines:

– Freshly pumped milk: Store for up to 4 hours max
– Thawed frozen milk: Store for up to 4 hours max
– Keep containers of milk covered and as cool as possible
– Use oldest milk first when feeding baby multiple bottles

Sticking to the 4 hour rule helps prevent bacterial growth that could make your baby sick. If you won’t use the milk within 4 hours, move it to the refrigerator or freezer for longer term storage.

Tips for Room Temperature Storage

– Put milk in the fridge after pumping or nursing whenever possible
– Use a cooler bag with ice packs if you’ll be out and about with milk
– Keep milk shaded and away from direct sunlight if possible
– Avoid leaving milk in hot cars for long periods of time

How Long Does Breast Milk Last in the Fridge?

The refrigerator offers a longer shelf life for pumped breast milk versus room temperature. According to the CDC, you can store freshly pumped milk and thawed frozen milk in the refrigerator for up to 4 days.

Follow these refrigerator storage guidelines:

– Freshly pumped milk: Store for up to 4 days max
– Thawed frozen milk: Store for up to 4 days max
– Keep milk toward the back of the fridge, not the door
– Use oldest milk first when feeding baby multiple bottles

The colder the refrigerator temperature, the longer the milk will last. Aim to maintain your refrigerator at or below 40°F.

Some moms find it helpful to label milk storage bags or bottles with the date pumped when refrigerating breast milk. This makes it easier to use the oldest milk first before it expires.

Tips for Refrigerator Storage

– Use milk storage bags, bottles, or containers specifically designed for breast milk
– Store milk toward the back of the fridge where temperature is most consistent
– Avoid storing milk on the refrigerator door where temperature fluctuates
– Quickly refrigerate any milk that won’t be used within 4 hours

How Long Does Frozen Breast Milk Last?

Freezing is the best method for long term storage of breast milk. According to the CDC, you can keep frozen breast milk for up to 6 months in a freezer set at 0°F or colder.

Follow these freezer storage guidelines:

– Freshly pumped milk: Store for up to 6 months max
– Thawed previously frozen milk: Store for up to 4 days max in refrigerator
– Use oldest frozen milk first (follow date labels on storage containers)
– Avoid refreezing thawed breast milk

The colder the freezer, the longer the milk retains its nutrients. Try to maintain your freezer at 0°F or colder if storing milk for several months. Chest or upright stand-alone freezers often have the most consistent cold temperatures.

Clearly labeling milk storage bags or containers with date pumped and amount can help you use the oldest frozen milk first.

Tips for Freezer Storage

– Leave about 1 inch of space in storage bags, bottles or containers for milk to expand as it freezes
– Try to freeze milk in smaller 2-4 oz portions to avoid waste
– Store milk toward the back of the freezer where temperature is most consistent
– Avoid storing milk in side freezer doors where temperature fluctuates

Proper Handling

To get the most out of your stored breast milk, be sure to:

– Wash hands before pumping or handling milk storage containers
– Use clean pumping equipment and bottle parts
– Immediately store milk in a sealed container or bag
– Quickly refrigerate or freeze milk after pumping
– Gently swirl milk after thawing and before feeding to mix separated components

Proper handling prevents contamination and preserves the nutritional content of the milk.

Identifying Spoiled Milk

Even with refrigeration and freezing, breast milk won’t last forever. Signs that pumped milk has spoiled and should be discarded include:

– Sour, rancid, or rotten smell
– Change in color (yellow, grey, or pink hue)
– Lumpy, chunky, or separation that won’t mix with gentle swirling
– Expired storage time in refrigerator or freezer

When in doubt, remember the motto “If it smells bad, it IS bad!” Trust your nose and discard milk that smells off.

Storage Guidelines by Type

Here is a quick reference guide to breast milk storage time limits by milk type and storage method:

Freshly Pumped Milk

– Countertop: Up to 4 hours
– Refrigerator: Up to 4 days
– Freezer: Up to 6 months

Thawed Previously Frozen Milk

– Countertop: Up to 4 hours
– Refrigerator: Up to 4 days
– Do not refreeze

Leftover Milk from a Feeding

– Countertop: Use within 2 hours
– Refrigerator: Up to 4 days
– Do not save to reuse after baby feeds from a bottle

Storing Milk in a Haakaa

A Haakaa works great to catch letdown from the non-nursing breast during feedings. But how long can you keep milk stored in a Haakaa?

General storage timelines apply to milk expressed into a Haakaa. Follow these guidelines:

– Room temperature: Up to 4 hours
– Refrigerate: Up to 4 days
– Freeze: Up to 6 months

Some key considerations when using a Haakaa for milk storage:

– Refrigerate or freeze milk as soon as possible after nursing/pumping
– Transfer milk to storage bags or bottles; don’t store long-term in Haakaa
– Clean Haakaa thoroughly after each use
– Follow guidelines for refrigerated and frozen milk once transferred from Haakaa

The silicone material of the Haakaa means milk won’t necessarily stay as cold compared to some other storage containers. So it’s best to transfer the milk to storage bags or bottles designed specifically for expressed breast milk storage once feeding is done.

Tips for Storing Milk in a Haakaa

– Refrigerate milk in Haakaa within 4 hours of collection
– Transfer milk from Haakaa to storage bags or bottles after feeding
– Label bags or bottles with date expressed and amount
– Wash and fully dry Haakaa after each use
– Follow standard guidelines once milk is refrigerated or frozen

Thawing and Warming Milk from a Haakaa

Frozen milk collected and stored in a Haakaa can be thawed and warmed for feeding using these methods:


– In refrigerator overnight
– Under cool running water for quick thawing
– In container of warm water changed every 5 minutes


– Under warm running water
– In container of warm water for 10-15 minutes
– With bottle warmer designed for breast milk
– Do not microwave frozen milk

Key tips:

– Gently swirl milk after thawing and before feeding
– Use thawed milk within 4 days if refrigerated
– Do not refreeze thawed milk
– Avoid excess heat and hot spots that can destroy nutrients

Take care when thawing and warming to avoid waste and maintain breast milk nutrients.

Using a Haakaa Milk Warmer

Along with the traditional Haakaa breast milk collector, some moms choose to use the Haakaa electric milk warmer for thawing and warming stored milk.

The Haakaa warmer is a portable bottle warmer designed specifically for breast milk. It warms refrigerated and frozen milk to body temperature quickly and safely.

How the Haakaa Warmer Works

– Buffer layer evenly distributes warm water temperature
– Warm flowing water bath thaws and heats milk gently
– Maintains essential nutrients unlike microwave heating
– Shuts off automatically after 10 minutes
– Warms 3-5oz of milk in about 3 minutes

Benefits of the Haakaa warmer include even warming, portability, and automatic shutoff. Just be sure to follow standard storage guidelines for milk before and after warming.

Storing Milk Long-Term

For long-term storage beyond 6 months, you can consider these options:

Freeze at 0°F or colder – Milk stored continually at 0°F or colder may last for 12 months.

Deep freezer at -4°F – Milk stored in a deep freezer at -4°F may last for up to 24 months.

Breast milk bank – Donate excess milk to a breast milk bank where it can be pasteurized and provided to infants in need.

No matter how long you store expressed milk, remember to:

– Label all milk bags and bottles with date expressed and amount
– Store milk toward the back of the refrigerator and freezer
– Use oldest milk first
– Discard any spoiled, expired, or unwanted milk


Knowing how long you can keep breast milk in a Haakaa or any storage container is key for nursing mothers. Follow the 4 hour rule for countertop storage, 4 day guideline for refrigeration, and 6 month recommendation for freezing whenever possible. And if in doubt, remember the motto “If it smells bad, it IS bad!” Proper milk handling and storage helps ensure your expressed breast milk remains usable and full of nutrients to nourish your growing baby.

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