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Overfilling of breasts can make you feel restless and is very painful. Breast engorgement can happen due to a lot of reasons for instance,
- When there is a change in demand and supply
- You are getting back to work
- When your baby suddenly stops breastfeeding
- When the baby is ill or with poor appetite.
- When the baby is introduced to solid food.
In this scenario, you can choose to safely express your extra milk and freeze it, so it could be helpful for the weeks to come.
Proper storage of breast milk is crucial to maintain its quality and safety for your baby. Follow these guidelines to store breast milk at home safely.
Choose Your Storage container
You can choose different types of containers to store your milk. You can store the extract milk in glass bottles, steel boxes, BPA-free plastic bottles and breast milk storage bags. However, we suggest that you store in glass and steel boxes as this is readily available at home.
Always wash your hands and clean your breast before pumping. This ensure there is no contamination to the milk.
If you are using breast pump to extract the breastmilk, ensure you sterilize the pump and the bottles before each extraction.
The breast pump and its supplies should be well dried to avoid any bacteria entering to the pump while extracting.
Pump the milk for about 10 mins on each side.
If you are using the same container for storage fill up-to ¾ of the bottle. However, if you are using a different storage container then let the milk collection bottle get full and then transfer it to the container up to ¾. Do not fill it to the rime as the milk needs space to expand when its frozen.
Labeling your milk with date and time after collecting is very important. Once labeled immediately put in the deep freezer (-10 degree) and not on the door.
The date and time help you to decide the milk that needs to be used first on a first-in-first-out basis.
The frozen milk has a shelf life for up-to a year depending on the type of refrigerator that you have.
Below is the step to use the stored breastmilk
- Take out the frozen bottle from the freezer.
- Keep the bottle upright in a bowl of lukewarm water till it reaches room temperature. Once thawed, gently swirl the bottle (avoid vigorous shaking) in clockwise/anti-clockwise motion. Hold the bottle upright and shake it up/down motion.
- Withdraw milk through a sterile syringe/measuring cup and feed the baby using a bottle, paladai, spoon, etc.
- Unused milk in the bottle can be stored in the refrigerator (2°C – 8°C) for up to 24hrs from the time of opening the bottle.
- Do not re-freeze under any circumstance.
- Always maintain hygienic condition while preparing and handling milk.
- Do not add water.
- Do not microwave
Always keep in mind to check the milk before giving it to your baby. If the milk has gone bad it will smell sour and you might find chunks floating in it (would have curdled). Then discard the milk.
We hope these basic guidelines will help you to store and use the breast milk safely.