Breast Milk Pumps and Milk Storage

Guidelines for storing your breast milk

Guidelines for storing your breast milk

Breast pumps and breast milk storage make it easier for women to go back to work or other commitments while continuing to breastfeed their baby. Scripps recommends that new mothers breastfeed exclusively for the first year.

How to choose a breast pump

A breast pump will allow you to continue breastfeeding even when you and your baby are apart. Breast pumps also allow your support person to take part in feeding your baby, though it is not recommended to introduce bottled breast milk for the first few weeks.


A lactation consultant can help you select the breast pump that will work best for you and your unique needs. Scripps Memorial Hospital Encinitas and Scripps Memorial Hospital La Jolla both feature Mother’s Boutiques with breast pumps and breast pump accessories. Your lactation consultant can help you make an educated decision on which breast pump to purchase.


Be sure to closely follow the instructions on your breast pump for proper breast milk collection and storage, as well as cleaning instructions.

Breastfeeding supplies in the hospital

Please note that you should not bring a breast pump with you to the hospital when you deliver your baby. One will be provided for you during your stay if you or your baby should need one.


Breastfeeding supplies, including breast pumps, are available for sale or rent in each Scripps hospital. Payment is due at the time of purchase or rental. The purchase of a breast pump may or may not be included with your health care coverage.


Please check with your insurance company for details regarding breast pump coverage, where to purchase a breast pump, and the type of breast pump approved.


In addition, two Scripps maternity units have on-site breastfeeding stores. 


Scripps Memorial Hospital La Jolla's Mother’s Boutique

Located in the lobby of the Women’s Center, the store is open Monday – Friday, 9:30 am – 3:30 pm and Saturdays noon – 4 pm

For more information call 858-626-4538.


Scripps Memorial Hospital Encinitas' Mother’s Boutique

Located in the Family Birth Pavilion, the store is open every day from 9 am – 4 pm

For more information call 760-633-7850.

How to store breast milk

Many women who choose to return to work after having a baby will pump breast milk for their baby to use the following day. This is an easy way for your baby to have the freshest milk. Excess milk can also be collected and stored for later use.


Here are a few breast milk storage guidelines:


  • Store unused milk in two to four-ounce containers in the coldest sections of your refrigerator or freezer. Never store breast milk in the door.
  • Refrigerated milk can be used for up to a week, while frozen breast milk can be stored for six to 12 months.
  • To thaw frozen breast milk, run the milk under warm tap water and use within 24 hours. Never microwave breast milk to warm or thaw as this can create hot spots that can burn the baby.
  • Never re-store any milk that your baby did not drink. Bacteria transferred from your baby’s mouth can grow quickly in the unused milk and be harmful to your baby.