For all the mommies-to-be & breastfeeding mommies out there, just like you've heard, breastfeeding is very important. But as much as this is true, it’s also vital to handle breast milk with super extra care. So here are quick yet essential tips for you and your baby.
Safe Handling& Storage
- To start with, wash your hands and breasts before expressing your milk.
- If you are using a breast pump, carefully review the operation and cleaning manual.
- If you are going to store the milk, it’s best to be put in plastic bottles specific for storing breast milk and refrigerate them. Make sure that the containers are totally clean even from their caps.
- Store milk in moderate amounts; around 55 to 115 mL in one container. This will help avoid wasting milk after feedings.
- Refrigerate milk if you are going to store it for maximum of 24 hours, otherwise it’s best to freeze it.
- If freezing is your choice, plastic or glass bottles are good.
- Either way, make sure to put a label on each container with the date of expressing the milk. This will ensure the FIFO rule: First In, First Out is followed and you will use the oldest milk you have first.
- Now if you are a working mother or you need to be away for a certain period of time, consider freezing a large amount of breast milk supply especially during your maternity leave.
If you are freezing for
- Up to 2 weeks: put the milk bottles inside your freezer at -15 degrees Celsius (not in the door since it’ll be opened quite often)
- Up to 3-6 months: if a special compartment having its own separate door inside the freezer at -18 degrees Celsius
- 6 -2 months: freeze it in a separate deep freezer at – 20 degrees Celsius
- Before thawing, shake the bottle gently to mix layers because the cream rises to the top.
- If time allows it, thaw frozen breast milk by putting it in the refrigerator, by putting it under warm running water or by putting it in a “bain marie”; that is using a pan of water on the stove.
- Avoid using the microwave to heat or thaw breast milk because it might lead to uneven thawing of the milk leading to either scalding the baby or damaging the milk. Moreover, excess heat may destroy nutrients in the milk.
- Don’t just put it outside the fridge to thaw.
- Once the milk is thawed, make sure not to refreeze it again and discard milk that stays more than 24 hours in the fridge.
You can also find this article published in Moms and to Be Magazine.
1st image courtesy of order valtrex
The 2nd is courtesy of sheknows.com