Your awesome breast milk — liquid gold — I know is probably more precious to you than many things in life right now except for your baby. So, now you are established in breastfeeding. You know how precious this liquid is, and you also know that you must safeguard its potency.
You should know that breastmilk is indeed a raw food, and even though it is teaming with antibodies and other protective elements, care should be taken in the collection, handling and storage processes. You must ensure that everything that comes into contact with the milk is clean and dry.
If your baby is premature, fragile or hospitalized, there may be specified, and the containers must be sterilized / purified, not only clean. In some hospital settings breast milk may need to be frozen right away. or never frozen.
How you store breast milk has to do with the temperature of storage and whether the milk is freshly pumped or previously frozen.
Following these guidelines, which we’ve compiled from the Centers for Disease Control and PreventionTrusted Source, the Mayo Clinic, and the Office on Women’s Health, will ensure that your milk does not harbor bacteria that could make your baby sick. It also ensures that you retain the quality of nutrients that your milk contains.
1.Breastmilk Storage Containers: Choose what works best for you
You may be wondering what is the best storage containers for breast milk. Reusable glass or plastic, hard -sided containers are considered the best for storing breast milk. It is important that the cap fits securely. The same companies that make pumps and other equipment make milk storage containers. In addition, some food packaging companies supply containers specially designed for breast milk.
Plastic bags have also been made to collect and store breast milk. Some of these fit into the container that milk is pumped into in pumping system, and the bags may also fit into the baby feeding bottles The thing about bags is that they can easily become contaminated during its handling; they are awkward to handle and can leak. I encourage you to choose which ever one is affordable, safer and convenient for you at the time. Just make sure you do everything to prevent any contamination.
2. Label each bag
Each bag you fill with milk should be stored with the label . A mother with a premature or hospitalized baby, the hospital will either give the mother labels for her milk or provide her with specific information that should be on the the label including the date, patient ID number, unit. If the milk will be going to a day care setting, the baby’s name should be be clearly legible, written in water proof, smudge- proof marker.
If you are going to store a lot of milk, I would advise you to try samples of a few different storage systems before you invest in one.
If you choose to freeze milk in bags, you can put a group ofthem inside a freezer-grade plastic bag
3. Only store what baby will take at one feed
Because breast milk is so precious, it is vital that you do not waste a drop of it. Try to get the maximum benefit of your breast milk usage. I have visited many mothers who was wasting their breast milk by giving their babies too much servings at a time.
You can save your breast milk by only taking out what you know your baby is capable of taking at each feed. Your milk requires careful handling.
Also consider storing smaller portions — 1 to 2 ounces (30 to 60 milliliters) — for unexpected situations or delays in regular feedings. Breast milk expands as it freezes, therefore do not fill them to the brim.
4.Know for sure how to store your breast milk
Did you know that you can store breast milk in the refrigerator for3-5 days. I would suggest that you would put it into the freezer as soon as you can if you are going to freeze it.
Milk may be kept up to 3 months in a refrigerator freezer and 6 months in a deep freeze that is kept at- 20 degrees or less. Over the course of a day, small expressions of chilled milk can be added to milk stored in the refrigerator.
Always place the milk in the coldest part of the refrigerator or freezer. That’s usually not on the door or near the fan in a frost free type freezer.
5. Always Thaw Frozen Breast Milk in the Container in Which it was Frozen
The refrigerator is an excellent place to defrost frozen milk.
The refrigerated or frozen milk can be warmed in a pan of luke warm water or or under lukewarm , running tap water right from its frozen container.
6. Never use a microwave to warm or thaw breast milk: A NO, NO!
This is not a good practice because the microwave can destroy the valuable nutrients in the milk . This also goes for your baby’s food. There have been cases where some babies have been burned because “hot spots” were not detected by the adult.
7. Give baby the milk as soon as it is thawed
Thawed breast milk should be kept cold until just before being fed to your baby.
8. use within 24 hours
Thawed breast milk should be be used with in 24 hours. The thawed breast milk should be given at the earliest opportunity. The earlier the better.
9. Throw away what is not used at a feed
Breast milk should not be restored after a feed. That is why I suggested to you to provide only the amount that you know your baby will take at each feed. Thawed breast milk should never be refrozen. Keep in mind that your baby’s saliva can contaminate the breast milk and begin the process of bacterial growth.
10. Use Insulated Coolers Temporarily if you don’t Have Access to a Fridge or Freezer
Yes mam, this is perfectly fine if you do not have immediate access to a fridge or freezer.
Can I add freshly expressed breast milk to already stored milk?
You can add freshly expressed breast milk to refrigerated or frozen milk. However, thoroughly cool the freshly expressed breast milk in the refrigerator or a cooler with ice packs before adding it to previously chilled or frozen milk. Don’t add warm breast milk to frozen breast milk because it will cause the frozen milk to partially thaw.
Keep in mind that research suggests that the longer you store breast milk — whether in the refrigerator or in the freezer — the greater the loss of vitamin C in the milk.
It’s also important to note that your breast milk changes to meet your baby’s needs. Breast milk expressed when a baby is a newborn won’t as completely meet the same baby’s needs when he or she is a few months older. Also, storage guidelines might differ for preterm, sick or hospitalized infants.
Did you Know That your Breast Milk Changes as your Baby Grows?
The color of your breast milk will vary slightly depending on your diet. Also, thawed breast milk might seem to have a different odor or consistency than freshly expressed milk. It’s still safe to feed to your baby. If your baby refuses the thawed milk, shortening the storage time might help.
Breast milk storage definitely is something that every breastfeeding mother needs to be aware of because, of its potential to preserve the potency of it. I sure hope this was a real benefit to you and one that you will cherish for the long term. I would love to hear your comments/ questions related to this topic below and you can leave your contact information, if you would like to join our monthly newsletter. Thanks for stopping by and do come again.