Breast milk storage has rapidly gained much prominence and has become a necessity in the lives of mothers who either have to go to work or suffer some problems that prohibit them from directly feeding their children. The availability has pumps has made milk storage easy. Breast milk when stored separates itself into layers which cause the cream to rise on top. Therefore it is always advisable to give a soft swirl to the bottle before heating the milk. Breast milk should always be measured and stored (1-2 oz.) which can be easily thawed and prevents any wastage of the milk. To store the milk of the mother, one can make use of the refrigerator or deep freezers. Both the methods are equally effective for storing the milk. Here is a list of some dos and don’ts regarding the practice of breast milk storage.
11 Dos and Don’ts for Breast Milk Storage
Dos for breast milk storage
- The body of your child is in the primary stages of development and highly prone to infections. This makes proper hygiene and sanitation a must for all parents. Before handling breast milk every mother should make sure that she washes her hands thoroughly
- Heat the milk at 82degrees until you see the formation of tiny bubbles around the edges.
- It is important to know that breast milk can be stored for few days without any damage to its consistency and nutrition value. Store your freshly expressed milk in a refrigerator which makes the milk consumable for a period of 3 days after which it should be discarded.
- The breast milk can be regularly pumped and stored by mothers. Therefore when you store the milk packets see that you mark or label the date of storage on the packet. This will ensure that you are not giving any stale milk to your child.
- Always follow this number sequence while storing the milk and use the oldest marked bag before using the fresh one.
- Make use of the specially designed milk storage bags available in the market. These bags have printed measurement marks which makes monitoring the child’s diet an easy task.
- Don’t overfill the storing bags this may cause leakage that breeds contamination ruining the entire batch of milk.
- Seal the storage bags and wipe any excess or spilled milk on the bag before storage.
- If you wish to thaw the frozen milk leave it overnight in the refrigerator. In the morning you can place the bag under running warm water to complete defrost it.
- Many mothers make the use of breast pumps to store breast milk for their children. Therefore it becomes mandatory that the parts of the pump that comes directly in contact with the mother’s milk must be routinely cleansed.
- One must always cool the freshly expressed milk before mixing it with the previously stored milk.
Read More: Blood in Breast Milk: Causes, Risks, Treatment and Precautions
Don’ts for breast milk storage
- While thawing the milk that was frozen one must always keep in mind that a microwave should never be used to defrost the milk for the child.
- Don’t use plastic liners and general household bags to store the pumped milk. Plastic releases toxins and can be harmful for the child.
- Don’t tilt the storage bags while freezing. They should be laid as flat as possible and not squished by any other ingredient in the fridge.
- Don’t directly add freshly pumped milk into frozen milk. The extreme temperature change will make the milk inconsumable.
- Do not refreeze breast milk. Once who have thawed the frozen milk, you must never refreeze it.
- Don’t overfill the milk bags. On freezing the breast milk tends to expand and may tear the storage bag.
- Do not store the breast milk on the door of the refrigerator rather keep it as far as possible in the cabin to avoid recurring temperature change that may ruin the milk.
- If your child goes to a childcare institute do not give them frozen milk to thaw naturally as it may still be too cold for your child.
- Don’t touch the milk directly by your hands to check the temperature rather take a spoon and pour a little on your hand to avoid the transfer of germs.
- Don’t ever forget to label the bag. Unmarked bags make them difficult to use as you will soon forget the date on which it was stored.
- If your child refuses to consume the stored milk do not force them to feed on the same. This is an indication that you either need to shorten the time of storage or change the temperature of the milk while serving it to the baby.
Thus keeping a regulated and monitored environment around your baby is a must for every parent. Breast feeding is the most basic activity of every parent making it essential to take all the precautions and follow the advice of the doctor.
How long can breast milk be stored?
One of the most important questions that come to mind while storing breast milk is how long it can be stored. The answer to this depends on the method of storage. Breast milk which is stored in the refrigerator at a temperature of 0-4degree Celsius then it should be consumed with 3-4 days of storage. Refrigerated thawed milk last only for about 24 hours after which it loses it nutrition value. Breast milk which is stored in the freezer compartment of the refrigerator is consumable for 2 weeks. A separate deep freezer which maintains a temperature below -18degree Celsius can preserve milk for 12 months but ideally doctors suggest consuming the same with 6 months of storage.
Where and how should breast milk be stored?
Always try to keep your stored milk in a flat position in the farthest corner of the fridge and never on the gate of the refrigerator to avoid temperature fluctuations. Breast milk must always be stored in special milk collecting disposable bags or bottles that have measurement marks on them such as Pump and Save Bags. It is always advised to use bottles that are not made of bisphenolA, found commonly in plastics. Glass bottles that have been sterilised can also be used for storing breast milk. Ensure that the bottles you use have leak prove lids and wiped before storage which will help in avoiding possibilities of contamination in the milk.
Breast Milk Storage- Do’s & Don’ts