It’s not uncommon for breastfeeding mothers to store their breast milk. This is a good practice to follow when you have to travel for a couple of days, go to work, or be away from your baby for a while. This way, your baby will not miss their feed.
However, there are proper guidelines when freezing, storing, and thawing breast milk to ensure it sustains all its nutrients and doesn’t go bad. To ensure your breast milk is good for your baby, keep reading this guide to learn about the best practices and basic dos and don’ts of breast milk storage.
How to Store Breast Milk?
If you have to feed your baby, you should certainly give them hand-expressed milk. However, if that is not possible, then you can store the breast milk to use for later. You can store it either in the fridge or in the freezer.
Storing Breast Milk in the Fridge
It is imperative that you use specific breast milk storage containers or bags since they are easier to use and are typically BPA-free. If you use a portable breast pump or hand express milk, you should immediately transfer it into these bags and store them in the refrigerator.
When storing in the refrigerator, be sure to keep it in the coldest region. Avoid keeping it on the fridge door since that area receives the least amount of cooling. Additionally, don’t add fresh breast milk to already cold and refrigerated milk.
Storing Breast Milk in the Freezer
There are some precautions you need to follow when you have to store breast milk in the freezer. First of all, you should ensure that the container or bag can be kept in the freezer. Moreover, you should ensure that you don’t fill them with breast milk to the top because it expands when frozen. Similarly, doing so will make the thawing process easier and shorter.
Don’t add your fresh breast milk to the already frozen one since it will make the whole batch go bad. Similar to the case with a refrigerator, you should place the breast milk bag or container at the back of the freezer or anywhere where there is maximum and consistent cooling.
How Long Can You Store Breast Milk?
The exact answer for how long you can store breast milk depends entirely on the method of storage you are following. For example, when you are storing it at room temperature, the breast milk can be stored for up to four hours to the next feed
If you store your breast milk in the refrigerator, you can keep it there for three to four days. If you want to keep the breast milk for a long time, you should consider using a freezer. This is because you can keep it there for up to six months. However, it is important to note that the longer breast milk is stored, the more its nutritional quality may decline. If you have concerns about storing or thawing breast milk, talk to a lactation consultant or your healthcare provider for personalized advice.
How to Thaw Frozen Breast Milk
Babies require room-temperature or warm milk. Once you’ve thawed frozen milk in the refrigerator or under running warm water, you can feed it to your baby within 24 hours. After 24 hours, avoid refreezing thawed milk.
If you are in a rush and cannot wait for up to 12 hours to thaw frozen milk, you can place the bag or container in a bowl of warm water. This will take up to twenty minutes, depending on how frequently you change the bowl with water once it cools down.
Be sure not to fully submerge the container or bag in the water since this will contaminate it. When you notice the water cooling down, you can replace it with warm water.
Another quick method of thawing frozen milk is placing it under warm water. Make sure that the water is warm and not hot. Keep the container under running water until the milk has turned into a liquid state.
For a ease of convenience, using the Pigeon bottle & food warmer can ensure uniform heating and provides mothers the convenience of warming up baby’s milk and food such as porridge or puree without destroying their nutrients.
Tips for Storing Breast Milk
Sometimes, you might notice an odd smell in your breast milk once you have thawed it. This does not mean that the milk has gone bad. This is simply an enzyme in the milk, lipase, that breaks down the fat in the liquid during storage. Your milk can still be given to your baby, but your baby might reject it due to the smell or taste.
You should also transfer your thawed breast milk into a pigeon bottle since those are perfect for bottle feeding. Pigeon baby products in Singapore, specifically bottles, are high-quality and made using the best technology and experts’ advice. These bottles come in various teat sizes and nipple shapes, so you will definitely find one suited for your baby.