Expressing breast milk this summer? Storing it safely will protect your baby’s health

Linda Sweet, Amanda Muller

Research output: Contribution to specialist publicationArticle


The summer months are upon us and with them we’re getting the usual food safety reminders. Be careful handling raw meat when preparing for your backyard barbecue, refrigerate the potato salad, and so on. These tips are designed to protect us from food poisoning, an unwanted addition to anyone’s summer holiday.

But few people are likely to consider the issue of food handling for babies: in particular, of expressed breast milk. Parents who use expressed breast milk are routinely transferring it between containers, defrosting it, and reheating it.

Breast milk is a raw animal food product. It contains live cells, proteins, carbohydrates, fatty acids, micronutrients, probiotics, and more. But the health-giving properties of breast milk decrease over time. And while breast milk has properties which inhibit the growth of some harmful bacteria, factors such as heat and time can enable these harmful bacteria to grow.
Original languageEnglish
Number of pages4
Specialist publicationThe Conversation
Publication statusPublished - 3 Jan 2020


  • Breastfeeding
  • Infant health
  • Babies
  • Food safety
  • Summer
  • Breast milk
  • hot weather


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