Storing Breast Milk
It has become popular among working mothers who cannot breast fed their babies frequently. While storing breast milk, you need to make sure that it remains fresh and maintains its nutritional and anti-infective qualities. However, there are a few things you need to avoid and follow while storing breast milk.
What quantities of milk should be stored to meet your baby’s needs?
•Store about 50–120 mls of milk per container as this is the average amount consumed by the baby during a single feeding
•It is also advised to store an extra 30-60 mls of milk, especially for babies who are under 6 weeks of age and can also be given to babies as a snack
•Smaller amounts of milk can be warmed up faster and will also prevent wastage
What types of containers can breast milk be stored in?
•Glass bottles are the most preferred choice for freezing milk as the components are best preserved in glass
•Hard-sided clear plastic bottles are a good and convenient option too. Unlike glass, there is no threat of breaking, in plastic containers
•Freezer bags specifically designed for storing breast milk are also available as per needs. However, if you opt for freezer bags, make sure that they are thick, stored in the freezer in a hard plastic container with a lid and that water does not go over the top of the bag, which might allow water to possibly seep into the bag, while warming the milk
How long can breast milk be stored for?
Breast milk can be stored:
•At room temperature ( maximum of 25 degrees C) for up to four hours
•In a refrigerator ( maximum of 4 degrees C) for 24 hours
•In a freezer with a temperature of – 18 degrees C for three to six months
•In an insulated cooler or icebox for up to 24 hours
Thawing and warming breast milk
•Don’t be alarmed by the appearance of the stored milk. It is completely natural for breast milk to be separated into cream and milk layers. Depending on your eating habits, what your drink and possible medication, breast milk can appear in a range of colors; from slightly yellow to yellow orange, to pink, to green
•Thaw the milk by placing it under warm running water for a few minutes or swirl it in a bowl of warm water
•After the milk is warmed, shake the container in order to combine all the separated components
•To test the milk’s temperature, spill a drop or two on your wrist. If the milk is slightly warm and not hot, it’s okay to give to your baby
•It is safe to continue to feed previously used milk up to 1 to 2 hours after it has been prepared, but any unused milk should then be discarded
Things to keep in mind while storing breast milk
•Wash your hands before expressing and storing breast milk, with soap and water
•Use sterilized containers
•Ensure that the milk is stored in a hygienic place and away from food items such as meat and eggs
•Label and date your container/ bags using a water proof label and ink
•Ensure that you keep your breast pump clean by washing it with hot, soapy water and rinsing them before sterilizing it
•Freeze your breast milk as soon as you finish expressing breast milk
•Storing breast milk in a container without covering it, is a strict no- no
•Never microwave breast milk as it can destroy important proteins and vitamins
•Don’t heat the milk directly over the stove
Team Ovum Hospitals