A mother I know once told me that breast milk is more precious than honey. I think she is absolutely right. It is more precious than honey because of how it’s produced, what it does to the consumer and how much of bond it brings between mother and child.
So of course, just like every other precious resource, we should not let it go to waste. Every single drop is worth saving. Just imagine the babies who don’t have the opportunity of getting the right amount of breast milk they need because they are either abandoned or their moms aren’t able to produce enough milk. They’re missing out on a lot of nutrition breast milk possess.
If you’re new or fairly new to breastfeeding, don’t worry. You’re not alone.
We’ve created this post for you to give you a low down of the basic know-hows you need to know about storing breast milk so you have a sufficient stash for your hungry little spawns.
Whats the best way to store Breast Milk?
There are several kinds of containers to store breast milk in. You only need to weigh your options and consider what for and how long you’re planning to store them for.
There are plastic storage bags, plastic storage bottles and then there are also glass bottle ones.
The plastic storage kind is better if you want to store your breast milk in the freezer for longer shelf life since it takes up less space. Plastic storage bottles are more for convenience because most brands can be directly attached to a breast pump. Whereas you have to be extra careful with glass bottles when freezing. You have to make sure the glass bottles is freezer safe. Glass and plastic bottles are also washable, so you don’t have to keep purchasing when you’re lactating which makes it more environmental friendly.
Storing at Home
Once you have selected your storage container, it is important to know how much milk you’re going to store in them.
Some experts say that it’s advisable to store in 1-4 ounce portions for easy thawing and warming.
When storing breast milk at home, it would be better to refrigerate the milk as soon as possible if it’s meant for consumption later on. If you are storing it for reserve supply, put a date on the container and store them accordingly in the freezer.
Breast milk must not be left sitting at room temperature for more than 3 hours. Thaw your frozen milk by transferring it from the freezer to the fridge the night before since it takes 12hrs for it to thaw. Never microwave breast milk. Simply warm it by putting the bottle in a cup of hot water.
Make sure you are familiar with breast milk’s shelf life to make sure your baby always has fresh milk.
Storing at Work
When you’re expressing breast milk at work, storing them is even more important.
You’ll probably be pumping several times throughout your 8-hour work day. Before leaving your house for work, pack a few storage bottles, ice pack and a cooler or insulated lunch bag.
When you finish pumping milk, label your storage bottles with the date that day and a disclaimer that it’s breast milk so your co-workers are aware and don’t mistake it for fresh milk. Put them in the back of your office fridge and make sure your ice packs are in the freezer.
Once you’re ready to go home, pack them in your cooler or insulated lunch bag lined with your ice packs to keep them cool. Then either freeze them or refrigerate them again when you get home.
It would be advisable to use plastic storage bottles instead of the plastic ones to avoid spills from tears. Get more info from BabyCenter.
Storing while Travelling
Travelling with a baby can be very disorienting. Having to feed the baby during flights and road trips can also add to the stress. And, we don’t really care but some people are bothered by breastfeeding in public. So, to spare yourself the hassle, it’s better to be prepared with bottled breast milk.
Much like transporting breast milk from work to home, a cooler or an insulated bag with ice packs would be your life saver. Breast milk in room temp can stay fresh for about 4 hours. After that, it either needs to be refrigerated or frozen.
If you’re going on a long flight, store them in your coolers or you can ask a flight attendant to put it in their chiller. Chances are they would gladly assist you. If you do not want to do that, put them in your cooler and they would stay fresh for the next 24 hours.
If you are travelling for work and will be away from your baby for a longer period of time, you can use your hotel’s mini fridge to freeze your milk and you can ship it home overnight in frozen packages. Check here for more info.
Tips for Storing Breast Milk
- Label your containers with dates of storage for easier tracking.
- Use BPA Free containers
- Use ice trays to store your milk if you have a teething baby. It will soothe the pain.
- Keep refrigerated/frozen milk in the middle of the fridge where the temperature is most constant.
- When travelling, use bottled water to wash your pumping materials and storage containers.
- Moms flying with and without their child are permitted to bring breast milk in quantities greater than three ounces as long as it is declared for inspection at the security checkpoint according to TSA.
- Do not thaw then refreeze milk. It will lose nutrients.
- You can add newly pumped milk to already frozen ones if you need to fill a bottle enough for one feeding.
- Do not heat breast milk to a boiling point as it will damage some nutrients.
- If your milk seperates, give it a light swirl but do not vigorously shake.
Storing your breast milk is a totally normal thing and is highly encouraged while you’re still producing milk. Breast feeding is best for babies up to two years. If you are able to produce milk until your baby reaches two years old, then take advantage of it.
Breast milk has many nutrients your baby would never get from formula. So if you’re able to produce, have your baby drink as much as he could in appropriate feeding times. If you have too much, there are other healthy uses for breast milk.
Just make sure you learn the shelf life chart by heart so you can avoid wastes and spoilage.
Got any breast milk storage tips? Let us know with a comment below!