How To Store Expressed Breast Milk

    Here are some good reasons breastfeeding mothers may want to express and store their breast milk:

    • Baby admitted in hospital. Doctors need mother’s milk for the baby. It helps early recovery of the baby. Mothers need to express 8-12 times a day to maintain their milk supply to keep up with the baby’s demand.
    • Increase milk production. Frequently expressing breast milk helps.
    • Working mother. Express in between breastfeeding sessions and while at your job. Store this extra milk. Caregivers can feed it to your baby with a paladai.
    • Donate your extra milk left after breastfeeding. Express and store it. Donate to your local Human Milk Bank, where it will be used to treat sick newborns.

    Learn how to express breast milk using hand expression or breast pump.

    How to store breast milk?

    store expressed breast milk in refrigerator
    Store expressed breast milk in refrigerator for upto 24 hours
    • Wash your hands with soap.
    • Collect your milk in a sterile small steel container with a lid.
    • Now, how long before you use this milk?
      • Less than 4 hours. Store at a clean place in your room.
      • Within 24 hours. Store in the food compartment of your refrigerator. Do not store in the door of your fridge because its temperature fluctuates when someone opens the door.
      • More than 24 hours. You will need a freezer capable of storing at -20 ºC. You can safely store breast milk for 3 months at -20 ºC. Label date of expressing on the container before storing. Use the earliest one first.
    • Never store leftover formula milk.
    storing breast milk

    Learn how to sterilize feeding utensils of your baby.

    How to melt (thaw) frozen breast milk?

    Storing in the refrigerator will freeze your breast milk. You need to melt it before feeding.

    thawing frozen breast milk using warm water bath
    Thawing frozen breast milk using warm water bath
    • Fill a pan with lukewarm water (35-40 ºC) and place the bottle of frozen milk in it.
    • Keep the level of water in the pan below the bottle’s lid.
    • You can replace this water with more warm water if needed, but do not heat this pan.
    • Remove the bottle from water bath once the milk melts and use it within 1 hour. Do not refreeze it again.
    • You may notice tiny fat lumps floating in this milk. Mix them well before feeding.
    • Do not melt frozen breast milk by directly heating or using a microwave – it destroys all good nutrients in breast milk.

    Learn how to feed expressed breast milk to baby with spoon.

    Storing does not decrease nutrition and bonus benefits of your breast milk. That’s why expressed breast milk is the best choice if breastfeeding is not possible. Post your questions or suggestions in the comment section below. Happy breastfeeding!

    Know more about storage and preparation of breast milk – CDC Guidelines.

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