If you’re planning on going back to work or need a bit more flexibility, you’ll probably want to express and store breast milk. Find out everything you need to know about safe breast milk storage here.
It is evident that the antibodies and other components of breast milk show little change during proper storage. In contrast, breast milk produced by the mother’s body changes in composition according to the baby’s growth, altering the components to his changing needs.
This is why it is better to use frozen or refrigerated breast milk as soon as possible. Breast milk doesn’t last forever, so remember to write the date on the bottle or bag before you store it. It is also important to know proper breast milk storage techniques.
You need a few supplies to keep breast milk fresh and safe for your baby after pumping such as:
Guidelines for Safe Breast Milk Storage*
|Room temperature||77°F or 25°C||4 – 6 hours||Containers should be covered and kept as cool as possible; covering the container with a cool towel may keep milk cooler.|
|Room Temperature||86 to100°F or 30 to 38°C||4 hours|
|Insulated cooler bag||5 to 39°F or −15 to 4°C||24 hours||Keep ice packs in contact with milk containers at all times, limit opening cooler bag|
|Refrigerator||39°F or 4°C||5 – 8 days||Store milk in the back of the main body of the refrigerator.|
|Freezer compartment of a refrigerator||5°F or −15°C||2 weeks|
|Freezer compartment of refrigerator with separate doors||0°F or −18°C||3 to 6 months|
|Chest or upright deep freezer||-4°F or -20°C||6 to 12 months|
*Storage guidelines might differ for preterm, sick or hospitalized infants.
Expressed breast milk is an ideal way to feed your baby when you’re apart. However, some research suggests that the longer you store breast milk — whether in the refrigerator or in the freezer — the greater the loss of vitamin C in the milk.
Other studies have shown that refrigeration beyond two days might reduce the bacteria-killing properties of breast milk and long-term freezer storage might lower the quality of fat in the breast milk.
Considering the baby’s constantly changing nutritional needs, it is also important to note that breast milk expressed when a baby is a newborn won’t fully meet his needs when he is older.
Ideally, it’s best to wait until natural breast feeding is established before giving your baby expressed breast milk; introducing a new feeding method early on, while your baby is still getting comfortable with breastfeeding may cause them some confusion.
There are many benefits to expressing & storing your breast milk for later use:
Compare your child’s weight with other children their age
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