Best Practices for Storing Breast Milk

26 April 2012 / 0 comments

When you are expressing breast milk, there are a few tips to follow in order for the process to be done in a healthy and sanitary way. And since you only want to do it in the best way possible, you will want to know what all of these tips are! Storing breast milk is fairly simply to do, but it does need to be done correctly. Getting sick from spoiled breast milk is possible, just like anyone can get sick from spoiled cow milk. There are tips to follow for safe collection practices, storing in the refrigerator, the freezer and even warming it back up to feed the baby.

You Have to Use Clean Containers!

  • When you are expressing breast milk, only do so in containers that have been cleaned and sterilized after the last use. Whether it is a hard sided bottle or a breast milk bag, make sure it is sterile and never used before if it is a bag. Collect the milk in to the storage device and then seal it up immediately. Dust, airborne germs and pet dander can quickly get in to bags that are left open on the kitchen counter, table or wherever you are collecting milk.

Where Does the Milk Go Next?

  • After the milk is collected, decide where it will be going. Is this milk headed for the refrigerator to be used in the next day or will it be kept in the freezer for long term storage? Before you place it in either location, write the date and time when the milk was collected. Place it in your desired location. If there is old milk in the refrigerator, throw it out so it isn’t confused for the fresh milk that does need to be used up. If someone else besides you is going to feed it to the baby with a bottle later, they might not understand the date system of the milk so if the other options are eliminated, they won’t get confused.

breast milk storage

Freezer Storage

  • When you are storing breast milk in the freezer, use a filing system. Place the freshest bags of milk in the back of your collection. domain archive This way, the oldest milk in the front will be used up first. Breast milk bags can last for several months in the freezer, but you still want to use up the oldest first to ensure that all of it gets used up before it does expire.

When you remove stored milk from the fridge, it can be placed in a cup or bowl of hot water to heat up to room temperature before feeding baby. Frozen milk bags can also be placed in hot water to heat up. However, if you know you will be using frozen bags in a day, then they can be placed in the refrigerator to start thawing out before use. Then they can be placed in hot water in the bowl or cup to continue on with the warming process. Do not microwave the breast milk as the process causes it to breakdown the components of the breast milk and will make it thinner and less nutritional.

Always Be Sure To Check the TEMPERATURE!

  • Always check the milk temperature before you feed to your baby to make sure it isn’t too hot. Even placing in hot water might get it more than room temperature. The only thing worse than a crying baby that is hungry is one who is crying because their mouth got burned because the milk was too warm for their liking and now they are mad AND hungry! If it does feel too warm, quickly run it under cold water for a minute and recheck the temperature before feeding baby.

Written by Stefanie Prinkles

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