Breast Milk Storage: Do’s And Don’ts

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Breast milk is the best food for an infant. And it is a well known fact that babies need to be fed every
few hours. Well, if you’re planning to go back to work or travelling or for some reason are going to be away from your baby, you could express and store breast milk. This way your baby can be fed breast milk even when you’re away. Here are a few do’s and don’ts for storing breast milk.

Do maintain good hygiene

Always wash your hands before you start expressing breast milk. If you are using a breast pump, wash all the parts in hot, soapy water before and after every use.

Do maintain good hygiene

Avoid using disposable plastic bags and bottle liners. Instead, pick food-grade glass containers for milk that is to be refrigerated or hard BPA-free plastic containers for frozen milk.

Do label the containers

To minimize confusion label every container with the date and time of when the milk was expressed. If you are sending this milk to your baby’s crèche, make sure it is labelled with your baby’s name as well.

Do examine stored milk before giving it to your baby

Chilled breast milk may separate into layers but when it is heated, the milk should have a uniform consistency. Separated clumps or a stringy appearance could be a sign of spoilt milk. Spoiled milk may also have a foul odour and sour taste .

Do store milk in small portions

Store only as much milk as required for a single feed. Containers that hold 60-100 ml are ideal. In case you want to freeze the milk, note that breastmilk expands on freezing. Hence your containers need to be slightly larger.
Here’s a guideline for how long expressed milk can be kept.

  • At room temperature – up to 6 hours or 4 hours in warm weather
  • In an insulated cooler – up to 1 day
  • Refrigerated breast milk – 2- 3 day
  • Frozen breast milk – up to 6 months

The temperature of foods stored in the door of the refrigerator is subject to fluctuation every time you open the refrigerator. Always, store expressed milk at the back of the refrigerator as this is the coldest section.

Don’t store breast milk in the door of the refrigerator

The temperature of foods stored in the door of the refrigerator is subject to fluctuation every time you open the refrigerator. Always, store expressed milk at the back of the refrigerator as this is the coldest section.

Don’t thaw frozen breast milk in the microwave

Thawing it on a stove or in the microwave may result in uneven heating. This may affect antibodies in the milk. Either move the milk to the refrigerator section and let it thaw overnight or place the container in a basin of lukewarm water and let it thaw on the counter.
Once frozen milk has been thawed, it cannot be refrozen. Also, any thawed milk leftover after 24 hours should be discarded.

Don’t add fresh warm expressed milk to frozen milk

It is okay to mix milk from different pumping sessions but you should not mix fresh milk with frozen milk. Add fresh milk only to milk that is stored in a refrigerator or insulated container. When doing so, first chill the milk to lower its temperature and then mix the two.

In conclusion

Breast milk has all the nutrients and antibodies required for your baby’s healthy growth and development. By expressing and storing it in compliance with these guidelines, you can ensure that your baby never has to rely on bovine milk-derived formulas or other types of milk.

If you are a hyperlactating mother , consider expressing it and donating it to a human milk – facility, such as NeoLacta Lifesciences. Your donated breast milk could help mothers with premature babies or babies whose mothers have difficulty feeding them owing to reasons such as sickness, medical contraindications, inadequate lactation, surrogacy/IVF and many more.

Reference Links:-

https://www.parentlane.com/health/baby-health/breastmilk-storage-dos-and-donts

https://www.thebump.com/a/breast-milk-storage

https://www.munchkin.com/blog/breast-milk-storage-dos-and-donts/

https://www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-lifestyle/infant-and-toddler-health/in-depth/breast-milk-storage/art-20046350

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