|Photo courtesy of Luis Argerich|
Power outages can be stressful. But if you are a nursing mother and have frozen milk, it can be an all-out nightmare. Power outages can be anticipated in the case of hurricane or winter storms, but sometimes they are unexpected.
Number one rule? Don’t panic. Not only will panicking increase your stress level, but an increased stress level can lower your milk supply. So keep calm, and consider the following tips.
- Consider investing in a back-up generator. Even though this can be a little costly, they can keep your freezer running at the appropriate temperature without the aid of any extra ice. Remember though, most generators run on gas and you will need to refill. Stock up on extra gas to prevent the generator from dying.
- Use dry ice to keep milk frozen. If you don’t have a generator, consider using dry ice to keep your milk frozen. Dry ice can usually be found at a local grocery store. Other stores such as Wal-Mart, ice distributors and others also have dry ice and coolers for sale – check out their websites before heading out. Remember to read up on the proper handling and storage of dry ice before buying, and try to by the ice as close to the storm or outage as possible.
- Contact a local hospital or emergency center ahead of time. Some may have emergency storage facilities that can accommodate milk you have stored up. It’s never too early to inquire in your area to see if this option is available.
- Keep your fridge door closed. If there is no immediate reason for you to open your freezer door, don’t. A full freezer will maintain its temperature for about 48 hours, or 24 hours for a half-full freezer. Although this isn’t a long-term solution, it can help you to save time without using a generator. If you need to keep pumping through the power outage, here are some tips on how to ride out the lack of power.
- Purchase a car adapter or extra battery pack for your electric pump
- Stock up on batteries as these will lose juice fast
- By a back-up manual pump to keep in storage just in case you run out of battery power
- Learn how to hand express
- Ask a trustworthy neighbor beforehand if you are able to store breastmilk in their freezer in the event you lose power and they don’t
- Remember, use any thawed milk within 24-48 hours. Do not refreeze thawed breastmilk.
Mother Nature and power outages can often strike without warning, so try to have a Plan A and Plan B before a storm strikes. If you don’t you could risk losing that liquid gold you worked so hard to stock up on.
Have a happy weekend, and remember – April showers bring May flowers!