Storing breastmilk for donation

Containers for donated breastmilk:

  • Containers from Milk Matters: Milk Matters supplies donors with sterile containers.
  • Donor’s Own  Containers:
    • Please consult Milk Matters regarding the suitability of your own containers.
    • Sterile glass or BPA-free hard plastic containers with screw on lids may be acceptable.
    • We are unable to guarantee that your containers will be returned, but will endeavour to do so.
    • Breastmilk Storage Bags (specifically manufactured for this purpose) will be accepted.
  • Glass jars: Glass jars are safe to freeze milk in as long as sufficient room is left for the milk to expand when it freezes.
  • Ice cube trays & plastic bags: Please do not use ice cube trays or plastic bags that are not specifically designed for breastmilk storage.
  • One container per expressing session: 
    • A new sterile container must be used each time you express.
    • Do not pool milk from different expressing sessions for donation.

Amount of milk per container:

  • Containers need not be full – however much milk you express in that session is fine.
  • Containers do not have any specific amount of milk in them.
  • Always leave plenty of space at the top of the container to allow room for expansion of the milk on freezing.

Labelling: Unidentified milk cannot be used – ensure your milk is labelled!

  • Label the jars with the date and your name/donor number.
  • Masking tape is ideal for labelling the jars, but any removable sticker is fine.
  • Avoid writing on the jars or lids as we reuse them.
  • Milk that was not labelled prior to freezing – place in a plastic bag with details of your full name, contact number and date of expression/period when milk was expressed.

Freezing and storing:

  • Freeze milk immediately after expressing if possible.
  • If necessary the milk may be kept in the fridge for a maximum of 24 hours after expressing.
  • Freeze the labelled jar of expressed milk in the small paper bag it was supplied in.
  • Freeze upright if possible.
  • Milk needs to be kept separate from other items in the freezer to prevent contamination.
  • Frozen breastmilk may be kept in a front opening freezer for up to 3 months or in a chest freezer for 6 months.


Breastfeeding uses 200 to 500 calories daily....
Production of milk is an active metabolic process, requiring the use of on average 200 to 500 calories per day. To use up this many calories, a formula feeding mother would have to swim at least 30 laps in a pool or bicycle uphill for an hour daily

Transporting Donor Milk:

Transporting Donor Milk:

  • Breastmilk (frozen or prior to freezing) must be transported in a coolbox with ice bricks.
  • Please ensure that the breastmilk remains frozen at all times.

Getting donated milk to the milk bank:

  • Contact Milk Matters for details of your nearest depot or to discuss alternative arrangements.
  • Milk Matters appeals to donors to assist us by using our depots for drop off and collection. Should this not be possible, we will make every effort to collect your breastmilk donations and deliver sterile jars to you.
I gave birth to a 13 week premature baby who weighed 905 grams and dropped to 750 grams. I was producing very little milk at the time and I was able to secure some donor milk through Milk Matters!
I would urge any lady who has surplus breast milk to please donate it to Milk Matters. The benefits to premature and all babies are really too many to put in words.
Please, please donate your extra breast milk!
Angelique, Mother of a baby who received donor breastmilk - Cape Town