There are many reasons why women express their milk. If you are breast-feeding and need to relieve the pain, you want a fast flow of breast milk, you have to return to work, you want to create a supply of breast milk to use when you are no longer breastfeeding, you want to provide your baby with breast milk when you cannot be with him or her and looking for more flexibility. Whatever the reason is, you need to know how to store your breast milk, consider the process and prepare things that you will need.
Guidelines for the proper storage of breast milk
1. Before expressing or pumping breast milk, wash your hands with soap and water.
2. Label each storage bag or container with a date before using it. The storage plastic bags, containers or bottles need to be clean and designed for milk collection and storage. It is not advisable to store breast milk in disposable bottle liners or plastic bags designed for general household use.
3. Store your breast milk in smaller portions that your baby will need for one feeding. Also is good to consider storing even smaller portions for unexpected situations or delays in regular feedings. And the small portions will freeze and thaw faster. Don’t fill the bags or containers to the brim, because breast milk expands when it freezes.
4. Freshly expressed breast milk can be added to refrigerated or frozen milk you expressed earlier on the same day. But before adding freshly expressed breast milk it must be cooled. And do not add warm breast milk to frozen breast milk because it will cause the frozen milk to partially thaw.
5. Freshly expressed milk can remain at room temperature for 4 hours, but it is best to chill as soon as possible.
6. Freshly expressed breast milk can be stored in the refrigerator for 2 to 4 days. But best is to use or freezer storage within three days. Store the breast milk in the back of the freezer, where it’s the coldest, not in the door, and don’t remove it until you’re ready to thaw it and give it to your baby.
7. Fresh expressed breast milk can be stored in the back of a freezer for 8 to 9 months. But best is to use frozen milk within six months.
8. To heat, the breast milk from the refrigerator place it in a bowl of warm water or run it under warm water.
9. Thaw the oldest frozen milk first and place the bag or container in the refrigerator the night before you intend to use it. Hold it under warm running water, or set it in a container of warm water. When taking frozen milk from the freezer, you should use it within the next 24 hours. And remember, once you’ve thawed breast milk, do not refreeze it.
10. Don’t thaw or heat the breast milk in the microwave. Some parts of the milk might be too hot, and others cold and there is a risk of overheating the milk, which can harm the baby and destroy the milk’s enzymes, antibodies and immune properties.
11. Thawed breast milk might seem to have a different color or consistency than freshly expressed milk. It is still safe to feed your baby with it. But if your baby refuses the thawed milk, try to shorten the storage time. It happens sometimes. For example, мy baby refuses thawed milk from the freezer. She liked only milk that was stored in the refrigerator but not in the freezer.
Some research suggests that the longer you store breast milk — whether in the refrigerator or the freezer — the greater the loss of vitamin C in the milk. Also, keep in mind that breast milk expressed when a baby is a newborn won’t as completely meet the same baby’s needs when he or she is a few months older.
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