Tips to Store Breast Milk
Do you want to learn new tips on how to store breast milk correctly? In this article we’ll clear up all of your doubts about conserving your baby’s food.
Knowing how to properly store breast milk is very important for women who can’t breastfeed directly.
They might not be able to breastfeed due to their work schedule or other inconveniences. In any case, storing breast milk is a healthy alternative.
Breast milk is undoubtedly the best and most complete food available for babies. Storing it allows mothers to breastfeed without substituting for formula.
That’s why we’ve decided to give you some tips on how to store it correctly. You’ll see how practical and easy it is.
Tips to store breast milk
The first thing you need to know is when to extract the milk using a breast pump.
After elaborating on that, we’ll review where you should store it, how long you can store it for, what temperature to store it at and how you should heat it up for the baby.
When should you use the breast pump?
There are three types of breast pumps to extract milk: electric pumps, ones that use batteries, and manual pumps.
All three fulfil their function very well. The difference between them is the speed with which they extract milk and the suction strength. Efficient pumps create less discomfort for your nipples
In regard to the time, there are several ideal moments to extract milk using a breast pump. It’s best to do it an hour after the baby feeds.
If you already know the amount of milk they consume, you can use the breast pump simultaneously as they feed.
The breast pump takes about the same time as it takes to breastfeed a baby: about 10 to 15 minutes. You can do it as many times as you consider necessary to have a good milk deposit.
If you have doubts about the amount you can extract, it’s important to know that the more you use the breast pump, the more milk you’ll produce thanks to the stimulation of your body.
Keep in mind that the amount you can extract also depends on the amount of water you drink and your diet.
Where to store the milk?
Specialists recommend using sterilized glass containers with airtight covers. If you’re using plastic containers or the popular pump storage bags, make sure to verify that they’re certified to deposit food and that they’ve passed anti-spill tests.
A practical tip is to store the amount that your baby usually consumes in one sitting in one glass container. This way you won’t have to throw away the leftover milk.
How long can breast milk be stored and at what temperature?
As part of the final tips to store breast milk, the time and temperature have to be addressed. The time that breast milk can be stored depends on the temperature at which it is stored.
It can last for around 6 hours at room temperature and in a cool place. It lasts for about 24 hours in the fridge. If you decide to freeze it, it can stay good for over three weeks in the freezer.
It doesn’t matter how long the milk has been stored, you should always check it before administering it to your baby. Ideally, you should smell it, taste it and examine its color.
For greater security, it’s wise to place a label on the containers in which you store the milk, adding a date and time. Do this in order to have an accurate record of the time the breast milk has been deposited for.
How should breast milk be heated?
If you decide to freeze the breast milk, put it in the fridge 24 hours before using it. This allows the milk to gradually return to its liquid state.
If you can’t wait that long, place the breast milk container in warm water and move it around a bit until it returns to its liquid state.
The same procedure applies if you want to heat the breast milk. You should first immerse the bottle in warm water then take it out when you feel like it has reached the optimum temperature.
Like always, taste it to make sure the temperature isn’t too hot as it could harm the baby’s delicate mouth.
“A practical tip is to store the amount that your baby usually consumes in one sitting in one glass container.”
As you can see, it isn’t that complicated to store breast milk if you use these simple and useful tips.
Keep in mind that breast milk provides babies with the best vitamins, antibodies and defenses that their bodies need to grow up healthy.
All cited sources were thoroughly reviewed by our team to ensure their quality, reliability, currency, and validity. The bibliography of this article was considered reliable and of academic or scientific accuracy.
- Proper storage and preparation of breast milk. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
- Breastfeeding. Unicef. [Online] Avaiable at: https://www.unicef.org/pacificislands/Breastfeeding_BEST_START_FOR_YOU_BABY_web.pdf
- Extracción y almacenamiento de leche materna. La liga de la Leche de Euskadi. Euskadiko Esnearen Liga. 2018. [En línea] Disponible en: https://laligadelaleche.eu/extraccion-almacenamiento/folleto-extraccion-y-almacenamiento-de-leche-materna/