Precautions For Storing Breast Milk
Breastfeeding children is a beautiful thing and is considered ideal when children are ready to eat. Breast milk contains precisely the nutrients that a baby needs. It is easily digested and efficiently used by the baby’s body. It protects a baby against infection. Breastfeeding is essential for the well-being of the newborn. But sometimes this is not possible for working mothers. In this case, they pump their breast milk and store it for babies to have later. It is the best option for mothers who are unable to breastfeed their children.
If you are a new mother and a working woman, breastfeeding is a challenge for you. Many times when you want to feed the child, he may not be willing to breastfeed, and when he is hungry, you may not be around. Today’s working moms prefer to use breast pumps to express milk and later feed it to their babies when they are at work. Breast pumps are devices that are used by lactating mothers to express their milk from their breasts. This system is widely used in the United States. Breast pumps are also used to increase the amount of milk production.
That expressed milk is also donated to the milk for infants who don’t receive their mother’s milk or cannot extract enough milk from the breast. It is an excellent way to feed the baby while the mother is unable to provide. But before opting for this, you must know how to store and handle breast milk safely. Like any other food, safe handling and storing of breast milk are essential to maintain its quality and prevent foodborne diseases.
Various factors like milk volume, room temperature when milk is expressed, temperature fluctuations in the refrigerator and freezer, and cleanliness of the environment can affect how long human milk can be stored safely.
Let us see how to pump breast milk and store it safely:
- The mother needs clean containers to collect and store the milk. A wide-necked jug, jar, bowl, or cup can be used. You can give your baby expressed breastmilk with a cup, spoon, or bottle. There is a wide range of breast milk storage containers available in the market and medical stores.
- Once expressed, the milk should be stored with a well-fitting lid or cover.
- Wash your hands before pumping or handling breast milk. Use soap and water to wash your hands properly. Many germs and bacteria stay on hand. It is essential to take care of washing hands thoroughly for the prevention of infectious diseases.
- Use the right equipment to store breast milk. If you are holding in bottles, make sure they are clean and tightly sealed. Sealing will prevent the entry of foreign particles. If you are using bags, only use bags that are designed to store breast milk. Avoid using food storage bags or baby bottle liners because they aren’t designed to keep breast milk and leak.
- Use storage bags only one time and do not reuse storage bags. Reusing bags can cause any illness to the child as it may contain disease-causing organisms.
- Storage bottles can be reused, but they must be cleaned in between each use. Please do not use them without going through proper cleaning methods.
- Never add fresh breast milk to frozen breast milk in a storage container. It may harm the quality of stored milk and can affect the health of the child.
- Don’t save milk that has been reheated to use at another feeding. Already there is no requirement of heating breastmilk.
- If using a shared pump kit, then Clean pump dials, power switch, and countertop with a disinfectant wipe.
- Label milk with the date you expressed it. Make sure the date is easy to read. Use waterproof labels and inks. This way, you will know how long it can be safely stored. Always keep an eye on the changing color of the milk.
- If using a pump, inspect the pump kit and tubing to make sure it is clean. Discard and replace moldy tubing immediately.
- If you are bringing milk to a child care provider, label the container with your child’s name and the date. Make sure the label is easy to read. It will help to give your child the milk, which is safely processed and stored.
- Do not store breast milk in the door of the refrigerator or freezer to protect the breast milk from temperature changes from the opening and closing of the door. Temperature changes can affect the quality of the breastmilk.
- Breast milk does not need to be warmed. It can be served room temperature or cold. In case you are willing to warm it, then remember to follow the proper techniques. you can Warm your container of breastmilk by placing it in warm water
- If your baby did not finish the bottle, the leftover breast milk could still be used within 2 hours after the baby is finished feeding. After 2 hours, excess breast milk should be discarded. It will no longer be good for the health of the child.
- Carefully clean, sanitize, and store your pump equipment, baby’s bottles, and other feeding items to protect your breast milk from contamination. All hand-held breast pump parts and detachable parts of electric breast pumps that come into contact with breastmilk need to be rinsed well and stored in a clean, closed container after each use. Check the manufacturer’s instructions for information on how to pull apart your breast pump.
- Once every 24 hours, thoroughly wash breast pump parts. Use warm soapy water and then rinse well. Store covered until next use.
Breast pumping is a skill that can get better with time. At first, milk expression can be a little low, but as your body gets accustomed to the process, and the amount of milk ejection will undoubtedly increase.
However, here is the way to use breast pumps –
- Take your time
- start early if your baby is unable to breastfeed
- select the right time
- keep in mind the hygiene
- prepare yourself
- be comfortable
- start with pumping
Once thawed, breast milk should be used within 24 hours. Throw away breast milk that has gone beyond these storage time limits. Let us see Thawing Breast Milk:
The best method for thawing milk is transferring the frozen milk container to the refrigerator or swirling the container in warm water.
Do NOT use boiling water and microwaves because it overheats (or heats unevenly) the milk and can injure the baby or destroy the milk’s nutrient quality. Avoid re-freezing your breast milk once you have thawed it out. There are several ways to thaw your breast milk like In the refrigerator overnight, Set in a container of warm or lukewarm water, or under lukewarm running water.
Here are the ideal conditions for location and temperature to store breast milk:
- At room temperature: Freshly expressed breast milk can be kept at room temperature for up to six hours. However, it’s optimal to properly store the breast milk within four hours, especially if the room is warm.
- At Insulated cooler: Freshly expressed breast milk can be stored in an insulated cooler with ice packs for up to one day.
- In Refrigerator: Freshly expressed breast milk can be stored in the back of the refrigerator for up to five days in clean conditions. However, it’s optimal to use or freeze the milk within three days.
- In Deep freezer: Freshly expressed breast milk can be stored in the back of a deep freezer for up to 12 months, but using the frozen milk within six months is optimal.
If your baby is premature or sick, follow the health professionals’ guidelines caring for your baby. By following the recommended storage and preparation techniques, mothers of breastfed infants and children can maintain the safety and quality of expressed breast milk for the baby’s health.