Breast milk storage:
– Tips & advice!
If you are a breastfeeding mum, you may spend several hours a day expressing breast milk. We understand that you value every drop of your nutrient-filled milk and making sure that it’s properly stored is important. While the easiest way to feed baby breastmilk is through breastfeeding, there are several reasons why expressing and storing breastmilk for bottle feeding is the best alternative. Some mums who breastfeed keep a small stash of breastmilk in the freezer but for most working mums, keeping and storing breastmilk for a longer period of time is important in keeping baby filled all throughout the day when nursing through breasts is not possible.
The National Health and Medical Research Council recommends exclusive breastfeeding for around 6 months and then for breastfeeding to continue alongside complementary food until 12 months of age and beyond, for as long as the mother and child desire.
Here are some tips on proper breast milk storage that every mum should consider following to ensure proper storage and handling of breast milk to make sure baby gets the most benefit out of breastmilk:
1. Wash hands before expressing and handling breastmilk.
Before expressing or handling breast milk, wash your hands with soap and water. Make sure your breasts are clean too. Once done cleaning up, try to relax, using whatever method suits you, express in a quiet, warm, relaxing area, away from distractions. Start by gently massaging your breasts by stroking down towards the nipple, and gently rolling the nipple between your fingers and milk will flow into the milk bag or baby bottle.
2. Clean breast pump and storage containers.
If you are not used to manual breastmilk pumping, you might try using a breast pump. An electric breast pump can aid in easy and regular expression of milk providing comfort to the nursing mother. To clean the breastpump, rinse each piece of the pump thoroughly with hot water for 10-15 seconds. Place the pieces neatly on a clean paper towel or in a clean drying rack and allow them to air dry. Avoid using cloth towels to dry your pump parts because they can carry germs and bacteria that are harmful to your breast milk and your baby.
3. Buy pre-sterilized and reusable breastmilk containers.
Choosing the right breast milk containers are important if you want to store expressed milk the right way and have an easy feeding schedule with your baby. When choosing breast milk storage, choose a pre-sterilised breast milk storage bags for fridge or freezer. Cherub Baby breast milk bags are a must buy for every parent looking for an easy solution to store, freeze, warm and serve milk inside a leakproof container. Each breast milk bag can be re-used, avoiding the need to buy large volumes of disposable breast milk bags and containers that create unnecessary waste. Each bag has a ziplock and is made from 100% BPA Free plastic that is pre-sterilised in the box so you can start using the breast milk bags straight away after you buy them. Breast milk storage bags allow you to express and store breast milk at your convenience, meaning dad can feed with breast milk and baby never has to go without the natural goodness of antibodies and vitamins in mum’s breast milk.
4. Refrigerate and freeze breastmilk after expressing.
Freshly expressed milk can only last 6 to 8 hours in 26ºC or lower environment which is why whenever refrigeration is available, mums should store milk inside the fridge. Refrigerate freshly expressed milk into a closed container no more than 72 hours. Store the milk bags in back, where it is coldest. Milk can also be stored for 2 weeks in freezer compartment inside refrigerator. Freshly expressed breastmilk should be cooled in the fridge before being added to other chilled or frozen expressed breastmilk and always remember, as much as possible, do not refreeze breastmilk taken out of the freezer.
5. Label milk bags and place pumping dates.
As part of proper breastfeeding planning, labeling and placing of dates when the milk was expressed is important. You don’t want to confuse yourself on when you last stored breastmilk in identical milk storage bags inside the freezer. The placement of dates also help you sort and remove milk that are no longer advisable for deeding. Labeling can also help you keep track of how many milk you produce in a day and planning for the feeding needs of your baby.
6. Thaw and warm milk before feeding.
Frozen breastmilk should ideally be defrosted in the fridge, and can be stored there for 12 hours. Don’t re-freeze breastmilk once it has thawed. If you need the milk in a few minutes, defrost it under cool, then warm, running water, or place it in a bowl of warm water. Never be tempted to place breastmilk in the microwave. Dry the outside of the container before you open it, and use it straight away. If your milk has been stored for some time, you may notice that it separates. This is normal, so just give it a gentle shake to mix it up again. Some babies will happily drink cold milk straight from the fridge, while others like it warmed up. Cherub Baby has the Click N Go warmer to make milk drinking a comfortable experience for baby. The Click and Go Travel Bottle warmer is the latest in innovative solutions to baby are. Without the need for a power point or batteries you can heat baby food and milk on the go with the click activated heating system. Simply click the metal disc in the gel container and a reaction will instantly take place to heat the wrap around gel sleeve to use to heat your baby’s food or milk. The sleeve is reusable and can be used for both heating and cooling, depending on your needs.