Mothers can store expressed breast milk for their babies in various ways to ensure its safety and freshness. Here are five common methods:
Expressed breast milk can be stored in the refrigerator for up to 3-5 days. It's best to use sealed storage bags or sterilized containers specifically designed for breast milk storage. Make sure to label each container with the date and time of expression.
Breast milk can be frozen for longer-term storage. It can last in a standard freezer for about 6 months or in a deep freezer for up to 12 months. Use breast milk storage bags or containers, leaving some space at the top for the milk to expand as it freezes.
3. Cooler Bag with Ice Packs:
If you're on the go or away from home, a cooler bag with ice packs can help maintain the temperature of expressed breast milk. This method is particularly useful when you need to transport breast milk from one location to another.
4. Warming and Feeding:
When you're ready to use the stored breast milk, you can warm it by placing the container in a bowl of warm water. Avoid using the microwave, as it can cause uneven heating and destroy important nutrients. Gently swirl the container to mix any separated fat before feeding.
5. Thawing Frozen Milk:
To thaw frozen breast milk, transfer it to the refrigerator the night before use. Alternatively, you can thaw it quickly by placing the container in a bowl of warm water. Never use hot water, as it can damage the nutrients in the milk. Once thawed, use the milk within 24 hours.
Remember these general guidelines when storing breast milk:
- Wash hands before expressing and handling breast milk.
- Use clean and sterilized storage containers.
- Store milk in small portions to avoid wastage.
- If breast milk smells or tastes sour, it's best not to feed it to the baby.
- Always follow safe storage guidelines to ensure your baby's health and well-being.
Consult with a healthcare professional or lactation consultant for specific recommendations tailored to your baby's needs and your circumstances.