Did you know that freshly pumped milk can be stored for several hours? Mothers who have to manage their newborn kids along with their hectic jobs may find it difficult to breastfeed at different times of the day if they are not around. In this case, it is best to store your milk safely with the use of a breast pump so that your kid does not have to stay hungry.
It is a safe and healthy way to ensure that you have milk ready for your infant whenever they need it. However, you should always keep some factors and rules in mind before storing breastmilk, especially if you are a new mother. There are several types of breast milk storage containers available online that you can use to store your breast milk.
This blog will help you understand the different methods and techniques of breastmilk storage.
Safe Ways for Breast Milk Storage
There are only two parameters for you to understand:
1. Duration – For how long you want to preserve it?
2.Tools Available – Do you have a fridge or a cool box or a storage freezer (-18 C)?
You can comfortably store milk for 10 to 12 hours with a help of a refrigerator.
In this blog, we will share some really helpful techniques on how to express your breast milk comfortably without any hassles and also techniques of storage.
Milk can be expressed from the breasts either by hand or with a breast pump.
Before you get started, you’ll need the following,
- a container/bottle
- and a funnel
Make sure all the equipment is properly sterilized before you begin to use it.
This can be done by washing in boiled water or sterilized solution.
Method 1- EXPRESSING BY HAND
Here is the step-by-step guide:
- First make sure you wash your hands well.
- Now hold your breast in both hands at its outer portion away from the areola.
- Squeeze the outer part of your breast between your fingers and thumbs gently and firmly.
- Repeat this process about ten times at different points around the same level as before.
- Repeat this action at a lower level, nearer to the nipple.
- This squeezing action would bring the milk down through the milk ducts into the milk reservoir in the areola.
- Now hold your breast in one hand and press at the edge of the areola with the thumb and fore-finger of the other hand to express milk.
- You will notice that the milk starts coming out like a jet.
- Do not squeeze the nipple.
- You should stop expressing milk when it stops coming in a jet and starts coming in drops.
Method 2 – PUMPS
Different types of breast pumps are available for expressing milk.
You should consult your doctor for detailed advice regarding their proper use if you decide to use one, instead of expressing milk manually.
If you are using a breast pump for extraction then you need to thoroughly wash it with warm solution of soap and then rinse it with water. You need to then sterilize it before use.
Pro-Tip: Make sure you clean the breast with warm water and sterilized cotton before expressing milk.
These small tips help you in a big way in maintaining proper hygiene for your child.
It also helps you to provide him with the right nourishment and growth on a long term basis.
Now that I got it out? How do I store it?
Here are 5 Safe Ways to Store Breast Milk
There are plenty of ways to do this:
1.At room temperature (in winter only):
Generally, in India the temperatures drop down comfortably to 25 degrees C.
This makes it comfortable to store milk for a few hours without any refrigeration.
The milk stays for a good 6 hours at 25 C.
2.Box with Ice Packs:
In this cool box, the breast milk can easily stay fresh for
up to 24 hours. This is highly portable as well.
When to use?
It is strongly recommended to be used when you are going on a full day outing or to a movie.
3.In A Refrigerator:
You could store the milk for as good as 5 days at 4 degree C.
When to use?
If you are going out on a weekend and leaving the baby with a care taker then this is the best remedy to store your milk.
The only thing to remember is that you need to store the milk at the back of the fridge, where it is supposedly the coldest.
Moreover, care should be taken that no meat, eggs or raw vegetables are kept near this milk.
4.In A Freezer
A lot of good sources of nursing practices suggest that you could store milk for about 2 weeks in a freezer.
When to use?
This technique could be used if you are a frequent traveler and have to leave baby to a care taker.
5.At -18 degree Celsius
Big commercial refrigerators come with this kind of cooling.
At this temperature, the milk can last up to six months.
Yes, the milk remains absolutely fresh with no protein disintegration at all.
Pro-Tip: You may find this refrigerated milk to have separated out leaving a thin white liquid behind. Don’t worry! Just swirl and mix. It’s only due to refrigeration. The vitamins and the proteins in it are absolutely intact and fresh. It is definitely as good as fresh breast milk.
5 Essential things regarding storage of breast milk
1. You should always use sterile containers or bottles for milk storage.
2. Use good quality bottles – Hard sided plastic or Glass containers with good seals.
Wash and air-dry the containers before use.
3. Make sure you LABEL your containers or bottles mentioning the DATE OF EXTRACTION clearly on them.
4. Always follow this: FIRST-IN-FIRST-OUT every time.
5. If you want to heat up the refrigerated milk, then use hot water to heat it up as transferring it to some other container might contaminate it.
Here’s how: Take a bowl of warm water and put the milk container (sealed tightly) in this warm water until the milk becomes warm.
This is an important tip to keep in mind.
Note: There are a lot of breast milk storage bags available in the market. You can use these if you want to avoid containers.
I hope this post was helpful for you.
So, what are you waiting for? Go on, store your breast milk safely and get back to work with a tension-free mind.