Safe breast milk storage for breastfeeding moms
Some moms with an oversupply might want to store extra milk for donating to a milk bank.
Or maybe you are a mom who has to go back to work and need to start bottle feeding breast milk.
Expressed breast milk can help mom feed baby when she is not able to physically breastfeed.
Freezing breastmilk for later use can be really convenient and can also take some of the breastfeeding strain off of mom and give her a break so that dad can get a chance to feed baby too.
It is very important that you store your milk properly so that its nutritional qualities are kept. Human milk contains anti-bacterial properties that keeps it fresher longer. Most of the breast milks nutritive value is kept during freezing
If you or baby has had a yeast (thrush) infection you can continue to breastfeed and freeze your milk, but when the infection has ended you should get rid of any extra breast milk, as the yeast in the milk is not destroyed through freezing and might infect you and baby again.
How long does breast milk last? It can be kept frozen for six months, it can also be kept at room temperature for up to eight hours due to its saving properties.
Here are the basic breastmilk storage guidelines on how to store breastmilk safely…
Breast Milk Storage Guidelines
- Storage of breast milk at the back of the freezer compartment is safer as it may lose its temperature every time it is opened.
- Milk should be stored in a clean plastic breast milk bottle, glass bottles or breast milk bags. A breast milk storage bag should be thrown away after used. Breast milk storage bottles should be washed properly will very hot water and soap and then rinsed.
- The milk that has been standing will separate, causing the fat to float to the top of the milk. The milk should just be swirled together so that it can remix.
- Breast milk should never be thawed in a microwave oven.
- Breastmilk should also never be refrozen.
- Breast milk can also be stored in a portable cooler bag that contains ice packs for up to 24 hours.
- All breast milk storage containers should be marked with a date and time. A time is needed as it has been found that breast milk that is pumped in the morning hours should be fed to baby in the morning as it can be compared to an adult drinking an espresso! If you fed pumped "morning" breast milk to baby at night he will most probably struggle to sleep. "evening" Breast milk has also been found to help baby sleep.
- Fresh breast milk should be cooled down in the fridge before adding to any other milk for freezing. Milk can be layered in this way, but should be kept in quantities that will be used for one feeding.
How to thaw breast milk “defrost breast milk”
- Breast milk should be kept in the refrigerator while thawing. Milk can also be run under some warm water for a few minutes.
Can you reheat breast milk? You should not reheat breast milk more than twice, reheating breast milk can cause the growth of harmful bacteria and can make baby sick.
- When heating breast milk, never bring the breast milk to boiling point as this will destroy its quality
- Previously thawed breast milk can be kept in the refrigerator for 24 hours
- After breast milk has been thawed, it should be used within a day and should never be refrozen.
- Thawing temperature below
Storing breast milk temperatures
• Safe breast milk refrigeration
- 15 degrees C ~ 24 hrs
- 22 degrees C ~ 10 hrs
- 25 degrees C (Room temperature) ~ 4 hrs
• Freezing breast milk
- Freezer compartment on refrigerator ~ 2 weeks
- Separate freezer on refrigerator ~ 4 months
- Separate deep freezer ~ Up to 6 months
• Thawing breast milk
- Can be refrigerated for up to 24 hours
- Thawed breast milk should not be refrozen
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