As we all know, breast milk is the best food you could give to your baby. And as a breastfeeding mom, if you are away from your baby for a few hours, you’ll need to continue to express breast milk. You’ll need to use a breast pump for each nursing session you miss. So if you’re back at work, you could have several bags or bottles full of breast milk.
Therefore, you might ask how to store your breast milk the right way. The whole procedure of storing breast milk is not tough, but sophisticated. And it’s absolutely worth it! Follow these steps carefully if you want to store breast milk for the longest possible time. Here is the best method to store breast milk.
- Clean a food grade container that has a tight-fitted lid or milk collection bags – these are the best storage methods. Glass bottles are better to store breast milk for a longer time rather than plastic bottles. We recommend you to strictly avoid recyclable bottles. Plastic containers have to be BPA-free.
- It’s recommended that the milk you store is freshly expressed and pumped. And after taking it in the container, keep it in the room temperature for 4-6 hours. Be conscious that your room temperature is somewhere around 66-78 F.
- Then use a high quality insulated cooler bag and keep it safe for a storage duration of 24 hours. Keeping this ice bag influencing the container at a temperature around 5-39 F is required for a healthy storage.
- Now it’s time for refrigerating the milk. Freezing keeps food safe and healthy if kept in the right manner. Generally, breast milk can last up to 6 months frozen. A deep freezer can keep breast milk fresh for up to 9 to 12 months.
- We hope you understand the difference between the deep freezers and household refrigerators. The temperature of the deep freezer is very low and for using for a long-term like 12 months it’s adequate. 12 months is the longest time period and the healthy ingredients of the milk may get diluted to some extent. But as per the records, it’s still drinkable.
- When thawing breast milk, never use the microwave. This could lessen the health benefits of your milk. Instead, either put the container into a bowl with warm water for some time or leave it in the fridge for 12 to 24 hours. This way, the healthy properties will be saved. And warming it up under the running water when slightly shaken (if it’s in a closed container of course), you will also be able to control its temperature perfectly, while the microwave heats milk unevenly and that could burn your baby’s mouth. A bottle warmer could also be a great alternative.
- Don’t forget to label the containers properly with waterproof labels. It would be such a pity to throw it out because you don’t remember which one was expressed on what day and are not sure if it’s still safe to use!
- Don’t store breast milk on the door of your fridge, because the temperature there is not constant due to opening and closing the fridge. The back of the fridge is a much better place.
- Can you re-freeze thawed breastmilk? There are not scientific enough data on this, although many experts recommend not to.
- Some slight color and smell changes are ok if the milk was frozen and thawed, as long as you store and thaw it properly, it’s safe to use it. But if your baby refuses to drink such milk, try to reduce the storage duration.
- Remember that the longer you store breast milk, the less Vitamin C it contains. And the milk expressed while your baby was a newborn wouldn’t contain enough necessary properties and enzymes for an older baby a few months later. So it’s best to use it as sooner as possible.
Feeding your baby with breast milk despite having to go back to work is an awesome decision! Prolonging this period by pumping and storing breast milk properly will give your baby a healthy start in life!