One of the biggest obstacles mothers face when breastfeeding is returning to work. Finding that balance on pumping and nursing between home and the office can be difficult. Also, properly storing expressed milk to keep it safe is very important when going back and forth between locations. With some planning and preparation, it can become a normal daily routine!
Here are some tips for pumping and safe breastmilk storage:
When to start pumping and storing your breastmilk
- Breastmilk production works on supply and demand, so when your baby is nursing or when you are expressing milk, it signals your body to replenish what has been removed from your body.
- It is best to begin pumping when your baby has established your milk supply after the first few weeks after birth. This is an important time for you and your baby to learn breastfeeding together
- When you are pumping, you essentially tricking your body into releasing the milk. By feeding directly from the breast for the at least 3-4 weeks, you are teaching your body the amount of milk to make and also the triggers that allow milk let-down to occur
Safe Breastmilk Storage
- It’s important to store your breastmilk in products that are specially designed for this purpose. Such as, storage bags or storage containers
- Start pumping and storing milk ahead of your return to work so you have a stash built up in case your care provider needs more when your baby is still hungry or if you are delayed returning home
- Store your breastmilk in smaller quantities so you don’t risk having to throw away thawed, unused milk. For instance, if you have thawed and heated 5 ounces but baby only drinks 3 ounces of it, it is only good to keep to use within an hour before it will have to be thrown away (as bacteria can begin to grow)
- Store your breastmilk in the back of the freezer where it is the coldest and use the oldest milk first when thawing to feed
- Be sure to handle the frozen milk with care and store away from anything that could puncture the bag in the freezer or refrigerator
- Lastly, when you return to work, if you are pumping and storing your breastmilk in a common refrigerator, make sure you label it with your name or put it in a bag so it is not mistaken for regular milk
What Type of Container to Use
Refrigerated or frozen milk may be stored in:
- Hard-sided plastic or glass containers with well-fitting tops
- BPA Free containers, likeLansinoh Breastmilk Storage Bottles
- Freezer milk bags that are designed for storing breastmilk, like Lansinoh Breastmilk Storage Bags
Other Storage Tips
- Containers should not be filled to the top - leave an inch of space to allow the milk to expand as it freezes
- Do not overfill storage bags above the maximum level. Milk expands as it freezes and if you overfill, there is a risk for the bag to break or puncture.
- Disposable bottle liners are not recommended for breastmilk storage. With these, the risk of contamination is greater. These types of bags can be less durable and tend to leak and some types of plastic that is used to make these bags may destroy nutrients in milk o leach into your milk
- Mark the date on the storage container and include your baby's name on the label if your baby is in a daycare setting
- Keep frozen milk in the middle of the freezer away from the sides where the temperature can fluctuate as you do not want milk to partially thaw as thawed milk cannot be refrozen
How to Warm Expressed Breastmilk
- Thaw and/or heat under warm, running water
- Do not bring temperature of milk to boiling point
- Gently swirl milk before testing the temperature. Swirling will also redistribute the cream into the milk (It is normal for stored milk to separate into a cream and milk layer)
- Do not shake vigorously as it could damage some of the live components of breastmilk
- Do not use a microwave oven to heat breastmilk as it can create hot spots that can burn baby
- Previously frozen milk that has been thawed can be kept in the refrigerator for up to 24 hours
- Thawed Breastmilk should not be refrozen
Now through Saturday, Oct. 20, 2012, Lansinoh Milk Storage Bags – 50 Count are on sale for only $6 at Target stores, so it’s a great time to stock up!
Also today, Friday, October 19th we will be hosting an exciting giveaway opportunity for Lansinoh Milk Storage Bags and more on Twitter. Stay tuned to @LansinohUSA!
For more information and tips: http://www.lansinoh.com/breastfeeding/storing-breastmilk