For all the new moms breastfeeding their little ones, I know it can be a task at times. With all the challenges that come with breastfeeding, it does get difficult.
But the difficulty aside, once you get the hang of it, you know there is nothing better than feeding your baby and seeing him grow only with the liquid gold you have been giving him. In this concern, today I am going to talk a bit about how to store breastmilk.
If you want to maintain a good supply of breast milk, it is extremely important to pump regularly at least 4-5 times a day for a minimum of 15-20 minutes on each breast. It doesn’t matter whether you hand express the milk or pump it using a breast pump. All that matters is you empty your breasts often so that you have enough supply for your baby.
Breast milk like I said is liquid gold for your baby. One can’t talk enough about all the benefits your child gets if you feed him breast milk for at least 6 months initially. One of the most frequently asked questions that comes with pumping is how to store breast milk and for how long. Keep reading if you, like other mothers, want to know too.
First off, you have to be extremely careful about how you handle breast milk. For some, it may be in abundance, but for others every single drop counts. And for mothers who have cried over spilled milk know what I’m talking about. So the best thing about breast milk is that it can be stored in the fridge or freezer for a long time.
ALSO READ : How Long Should I Breastfeed My Baby
So here are some guidelines of storing your breast milk:
- If you store your breast milk in the fridge, you can store it for up to 4 days and discard it after that.
- If the milk has been left out at the room temperature, you can safely give that milk to your baby between 4 and 8 hours.
- As far as freezing the breast milk is concerned, depending upon how much and how often your baby feeds, you might want to keep it in small bags of quantities ranging from 30ml to 120ml. The whole point is to not waste any milk when you are defrosting it. So having smaller bags of frozen milk comes in handy.
- The best time to freeze breast milk is when it is absolutely fresh. Frozen breast milk can be kept in the freezer for up to a month. But if you store it in a deep freezer, you can safely keep it for 3-6 months, although the temperature has to be 0 degrees F.
Here’s a quick glance at storage instructions of breast milk –
|Duration||When to Discard|
|Breast Milk in Fridge||Up to 4 days||After 4 days|
|Breast Milk at room temperature||4-8 hours||Better to discard after 7 hours|
|Breast Milk in Freezer||1 month||After 1 month|
|Breast Milk Deep Freezer at 0 degree F temperature||3-6 months||After 6 months|
You can either use glass bottles or safe plastic bottles to sore your breast milk. Another great way to store breast milk is in plastic bags which I found very useful and very easier to handle than plastic or glass bottles. Also, these bags took less space in my fridge.
Defrosting Breast Milk
Coming to defrosting breast milk, it is important to make sure you defrost your breast milk way ahead of giving it to your baby. An important point to note is that breast milk should never be boiled. You have to let it naturally come to room temperature before you give it to your baby.
So let’s say you want to give stored milk to your baby in the afternoon, it would be good to take out the milk bag in the morning so that you have plenty of time to defrost it.
Another thing you can do is – you can take the breast milk from the freezer the night before using it and keep in the fridge for some time. This way it will take less time to defrost when you need it.
Things to remember:
- Never put bag of frozen breast milk in hot water or microwave to defrost it.
- Whenever handling breast milk, make sure you wash your hands with hot water and that you do not sneeze or cough near breast milk etc. It is to be handled very carefully because children catch illnesses very easily.
- If you use paper towel to dry your hands, make sure there is no left over residue of the same as sometimes paper towel tends to stick to moist skin.
- Remember to always mark the bottle or bag with a permanent marker the amount of milk you have stored in it and the day and time you stored it.
- Organize your freezer in a way that you use the older milk first. Else, you will have to discard a lot of milk if you keep using the fresher milk first.
My experience of storing, freezing and defrosting breast milk has been both good and bad. It is only with time I actually got to know how to do things in a better way. I have cried a lot over spilled and unusable breast milk when my supply because for a breast feeding mother, every drop counts. And I’m sure a lot of you mothers feel me. But now that I have experienced it I know how to better take care of the milk I have stored.
There is no better gift a mother can give her child than breast milk and we cannot deny from the goodness that comes with it. Therefore, it would be better if you learn to store breastmilk. This will not only help your baby with required amount of milk, but also will improve help grow faster.