Breast Milk Storage Guidelines and Tips
Are you a new parent? Then explanations on managing this novel situation in your household are absolutely unnecessary. However, as a new mother, you should support yourself in every way possible. That includes breast milk storage guidelines.
Breast milk contains live cells such as immune-boosting white blood cells, stem cells which may help organs develop and heal and is the epitome of nutrition for your baby. This is why you need to express and store your precious gift safely without losing its valuable properties.
So, here are some noteworthy tips for you to save for the next time when you're storing breast milk.
Why do you need to store breast milk?
Expressing milk isn't just beneficial for working moms. For instance, your baby might be in special care, isn't used to latching or suck properly, or maybe your breasts are engorged and it is unbelievably uncomfortable for you.
On the other hand, perhaps your partner is helping you with looking after the baby or you need to boost your milk supply.
Despite the reason, you need to have the knowledge to store your breast milk properly to make sure the baby's health is not at stake.
Choosing a breast milk pump machine
When you shop for a breast milk pump machine, it is mandatory to opt for the most suitable pump for you. Predominantly, there are 2 types, manual (hand-operated) and electric breast milk pump machines.
The main difference is that electric pumps are a lot faster than manual ones while they are cheaper.
Some milk extractors offer different suction strengths. For instance, breast pumps such as Little Martin’s Electric Double Breast Pump, or the Little Martin’s Electric Breast Milk Pump provide 20 fast or slow pumping patterns to make you comfortable while expressing. Start with the lowest strength and build your way up slowly to avoid nipple damage or pain.
Looking for the ideal funnel size or the part that covers your nipple is beneficial too. The pump you choose should never bruise or catch your nipple while being sucked into the funnel.
Breast milk pumping tips
- Before expressing breast milk by hand, or with a help of a pump washing your hands with soap and water or a 60% alcohol-based sanitizer is a must.
- If you opt for a breast milk pump machine, inspect if the pump kit is clean and discard and replace moldy tubing right away.
- Clean and sterilize the milk extractor and the containers. If you’re using a shared pump kit, clean the pump dials, power switch, etc.
- If possible do a quick 5-minute meditation and get relaxed. Do not sit where there is too much clutter. Perhaps you can do some yoga stretches, a soft breast massage, or warm compress to make you feel comfortable and less anxious.
- Having your baby in your arms or imagination can support letdown. If you're not at home, look at a photo of your baby, listen to one of their recordings, or imagine their smell.
- Moistening the flange with water helps accommodate a good seal. Moreover, keep the flange centered on the nipple.
How to store breast milk
Choosing milk storage bags, little milk bottles, containers that have tight-fitting plastic or glass lids should be mandatory. Likewise, make sure they are food-grade containers. Scrutinize the containers to see whether they display the recycle symbol number 7 which means that they're made out of BPA-containing plastic.
For instance, Little Martin's Breast Milk Storage Bags are BPA and BPS free, pre-sterilized, and ready to use. Therefore, opt for a product that goes the extra mile to protect your baby’s well-being.
Disposable bottle liners, plastic bags, or any container that's not intended for storing breast milk should be avoided. If you see a milk pouch for sale, analyze their quality before buying. There are many top-notch containers out there such as Little Martin’s Breastmilk 150ml Bottle that are exclusively built for newborns to mimic breastfeeding. These eye-catching bottles are quite easy to sterilize and support both feeding and storing breast milk safely.
You can store freshly pumped milk at room temperature (77 °F or colder) up to 4 hours, up to 4 days in the refrigerator, up to 6 – 12 months in the freezer, or in an insulated cooler bag with frozen ice packs for up to 24 hours when you're on the go.
Tips on Breast milk storage
- When you store breast milk, label the container with the date that it had been expressed. This will allow you to keep tabs on the little milk bottles and containers that should be finished sooner.
- Avoid storing milk in the refrigerator or freezer door to maintain the temperature that will be fluctuated by constant opening and closing the doors.
- Freeze small amounts of breast milk. Preferably 2 to 4 ounces to avoid wastage.
- Because breast milk expands when frozen, spare 1 inch from the top of the container.
- If you deliver breast milk to a childcare provider, make sure to clearly label the baby's name and other information.
Thawing breast milk
- Keep the first-in, first-out rule in mind and thaw the oldest breast milk first because the more you keep it in the refrigerator the less it'll retain its original quality.
- You can thaw breast milk by setting it in a warm or lukewarm water container, keeping it under lukewarm running water, or letting it sit in the refrigerator overnight.
- Don't heat breast milk in a microwave as it can destroy the nutrients and create hot spots which will lead to burning the baby's mouth.
- Use the thawed milk within 2 hours when it comes to room temperature and never refreeze breast milk that has been thawed once.
Expressing breast milk and storing it might seem a bit overwhelming at first for new moms who are currently going through tons of emotional and physical hardships. But, when you familiarize yourself with the process it will come naturally to you.
The key is to buy the correct milk extractor, the containers, and little milk bottles that work well. If these are not up to par, you will struggle when storing milk and cleaning your containers and the breast milk pump machine.
Choosing the perfect supplies will no longer make breast milk pumping and storage a burden for you.
- Little Martin's Drawer