Breastfeeding can be difficult after childbirth. A woman’s body has gone through significant changes since before pregnancy and between hormones and a new baby, many mothers want life to be as simple as possible. When taking a break from breastfeeding, the right kind of storage is necessary during this stage.
Why Is Storing Breast Milk Important?
Women choose to store their breast milk for a variety of reasons. Some women prefer to bottle feed for health reasons. Women who are unable to nurse often choose to store their own milk instead of using formula. This can happen if a baby is born premature or cannot properly latch on.
Many women choose to both breastfeed and bottle feed. By using both feeding methods, a mother can leave the baby so that she can go to work or have time to herself, while still being able to nurse at home. There is no “right time” to pump breast milk. Whatever works best for the current situation is usually just fine.
Storing breast milk, however, requires a certain amount of knowledge when it comes to proper containers. There are specific preparation techniques advised for storing breast milk. This is done to maintain the quality of expressed milk so that the baby can be healthy and safe.
Milk Storage Guidelines
Storing breast milk depends on a few different things:
-how the milk is produced
-type of milk
If breast milk has been freshly pumped, it can be stored at room temperature, in the refrigerator, or in the freezer. Feeding times can greatly impact which method of storage is used. If stored at room temperature, the room should not exceed 77 degrees.
If milk has been previously frozen, this may also affect how the milk is stored. After thawing once-stored breast milk, it can maintain its quality for approximately 1-2 hours at room temperature. If it is stored in the refrigerator, it can maintain freshness for up to 24 hours. If the breast milk has been thawed from previous storage, never refreeze the milk. This can cause potential health issues.
On many occasions, a baby may not be able to finish an entire serving of breast milk. Leftover milk is a normal part of bottle feeding. After feeding is finished, a bottle of breast milk can be stored for 2 additional hours.
Human breast milk requires specialized storage. Unlike milk from a store, breast milk is completely natural. Feeding a baby breast milk from a specific kind of container is often recommended for this type of feeding.
How To Find The Right Container
There are a few red flags when it comes to breast milk containers. Because breast milk supplies nutrients directly to the baby, certain containers may not be suitable.
1.) Food-grade. When buying a breast milk container, using a food-grade, hard-plastic container is often the best choice. Avoid containers that have the chemical bisphenol. If re-using a bottle, it should be a hardy-enough container to thoroughly hand wash.
2.) Lid tested. Before using any type of container for breast milk, the lid must be fully functional. Screw-on caps are often the most fool-proof for liquid. If containers are carried in traveling bags or purses, leakage can cause missed feedings and messy luggage.
3.) Size. Breast milk containers can come in a variety of sizes. While many adults do not think about the size of a bottle’s opening, this is crucial when feeding a baby. Newborns frequently need very small bottles since they require much less milk than a bigger baby.
4.) Bulk buying. Most mother’s will need more than one breast-milk container. When buying a set of containers, each bottle is the same. This can be especially handy when researching the type of bottle and examining the lid and size. Packs of containers are often sold in infant shops and even grocery stores.
5.) Nipple material. If a baby is allergic to latex, the material of the nipple should be researched for each container. Most bottles provide silicone or latex nipples. Knowing the difference can be helpful before purchasing breast milk containers.
6.) Breast pump compatibility. Some breast milk containers are compatible with specific breast pumps. This can make life easier when directly expressing milk. If a breast pump comes with an adapter, this may work with certain storage containers.
Life with a newborn is often exciting and exhausting. By pumping milk into storage containers for later, mothers can have additional time. Bottle-feeding a baby does not mean they must for-go natural breast milk. With the right storage practices, bottled breast milk can become an easy way to feed.