How to Store Breast Milk Pulled With a Breast Pump: Proper storage of breast milk is of fundamental importance to maintain the characteristics of the food and to ensure the safety of the baby who will take it.
How to Store Breast Milk Pulled With a Breast Pump
Clearly, the preservation of breast milk is necessary when it is extracted (or pulled, if you prefer) from the breast of the mother who cannot breastfeed her baby.
In order to guarantee the integrity and safety of use of this precious food, it must be stored in special containers and stored in the right conditions immediately after the draft operation.
During the course of the article, therefore, the general rules to follow and the useful tips for the correct storage of breast milk will be listed.
Why Store Milk (Store Breast Milk Pulled With a Breast Pump)
Why is it important to store breast milk?
Without prejudice to the importance of breastfeeding, there are conditions in which this natural and fundamental gesture for the newborn cannot be carried out.
The causes that can lead to preventing breastfeeding are manifold, from postnatal diseases that require special treatments, up to the ailments that can affect the mother’s breasts ( fissures , breast engorgement , mastitis , etc.), hindering the attachment of the child, or the need to move away for longer or shorter periods of time (for example, to resume work).
However, if the mother is able to produce breast milk, it is good to supply it to the infant even when breastfeeding is not physically possible.
In fact, this precious food contains all the nutrients that the child needs (proteins, vitamins, lipids, mineral salts, sugars), to which are added antibodies, defense cells , enzymes and growth factors absolutely necessary for the correct development of the new born.
In light of what has just been said, it is clear that the preservation of breast milk after its extraction from the breast is essential to guarantee the maintenance of all its nutritional characteristics.
How to do (Store Breast Milk Pulled With a Breast Pump)
General Rules for the Storage of Breast Milk
To ensure the correct conservation of breast milk – therefore the integrity and nutritional characteristics of the food – it is essential to adopt some precautions and follow a set of general rules.
Where to store milk
First of all, for the storage of breast milk, it is necessary to use containers specially designed for this type of use which must be sterilized before each use.
The sterilization can be done by boiling, or even better by the use of special sterilizers in pharmacies, drugstore or specialty stores (eg, sterilizers microwave ).
Containers can be:
- Glass containers with stoppers;
- Pots made of material for foods with stopper and suitable for the storage and conservation of the same milk;
- Disposable bags in food material specially made for the preservation of breast milk.
Most of these containers can be attached directly to the pump, in this way the food – man hand that is extracted – is immediately collected in the receptacle or bag for storage.
In the same way, the glass and food containers offer the possibility to screw on them – in addition to the cap and the breast pump – also the teat, so as to directly administer the food without the need to transfer it.
Times and methods of storage of breast milk
Once the food has been extracted and transferred into the appropriate containers, breast milk can be stored in different ways according to the moment you intend to use it.
In fact, if the milk is to be administered to the child within a few hours, it is possible to store it at room temperature (provided it is below 25 ° C); while if the milk extracted serves to constitute a stock to be used in the long term, then it is possible to proceed with refrigeration or freezing .
Use of Preserved Milk
Administration of Preserved Breast Milk
If stored at room temperature or in the refrigerator, breast milk is ready for use and can be given to the baby, if necessary, after a short heating in a water bath or, if possible, using the bottle warmer.
Of course, if necessary, the food must be previously transferred from the bag or bottle container.
Thaw Preserved Breast Milk
Defrosting breast milk is as important a process as its proper storage.
In fact, thawing should take place in the refrigerator within 12-24 hours. If necessary, the thawing phase can be accelerated by placing the containers or bags under a jet of cold or lukewarm water (maximum 35-37 ° C).
In no case should the containers be defrosted in the microwave or on the fire (not even in a water bath), since there is a risk of degrading different components of the food.
Once thawing has occurred, breast milk must be consumed immediately , or stored in the refrigerator and consumed within 24 hours if the container has not been opened, or within 12 hours if the container has been opened.
Storage of breast milk in the fridge
In the refrigerator (0-4 ° C) breast milk is kept for 5-8 days
Storage of breast milk in the freezer
In the freezer compartment inside the refrigerator , breast milk is kept for 2 weeks
Storage of breast milk in the freezer
In the freezer compartment with independent door, breast milk is kept for 3-4 months. In the separate freezer, however, breast milk is kept for 6 months or more. If it is a premature infant or a child with serious illness, storage times should be halved.
Containers for storing breast milk
How to freeze breast milk? If the milk is intended for freezing, it is preferable to use thick glass or plastic containers as long as they have been well washed and dried. In particular, the glass has some characteristics that make it more suitable for accurate washing.
The dimensions depend more on the space available for cooling or freezing. It would therefore be advisable to use containers that can collect from 100 to 150 ml of milk, remembering to always leave an empty container margin to allow the volume increase following freezing. In general, it is preferable to stock up on small quantities of milk (60-80 ml) in order to avoid waste
Bags for storing breast milk
There are disposable bags on the market for the collection of breast milk, which are sterile and must not be reused. They are advantageous when the storage spaces are small, or if there is a need to make large stocks of milk.
Frozen breast milk: how to thaw it?
When breast milk is removed from the freezer to be heated, you must:
- thaw it slowly leaving it in the fridge (for example from the night before) or melt it and / or cool it under running water at moderate temperature or in a water bath
- heat breast milk avoiding to boil it or make it reach high temperatures
- shake it gently before checking its temperature
- avoid heating breast milk with the microwave oven, because it could decrease the quality or heat the milk excessively
- Defrosted milk can be kept in the refrigerator and used for a maximum of twenty-four hours.
- It should not be refrozen, unless it has been out of the freezer for less than 8 hours and has never been used or heated.
How many times can breast milk be heated?
As for the storage of heated breast milk, if not used in full, it cannot be offered again to the baby.
Bad smells and storage problems of thawed milk
And if the milk, once thawed, has a sour and rancid smell? The fault lies with lipase , an enzyme that is normally found in breast milk and which has the function of helping the baby digest fats. Sometimes, however, in some women it can happen that the content of this enzyme is so high that, once the milk is drawn, the lipase already begins to “digest” the fats, causing this odor and typical flavor change.
But let’s be clear: the milk is good, it hasn’t gone bad, and can be offered to the child without too many problems. Most kids won’t even notice the slightly sour taste, and other kids, on the other hand, may refuse it.
Before making a supply of milk, however, you can do a test by leaving about 40-50 ml of pulled breast milk in the fridge for 24 hours. If you notice a “soapy”, acidic smell, before freezing the milk, it can be useful to heat it until it forms bubbles on the sides of the pot, but without boiling it: all this will help to ensure that the lipase stops to digest milk. At this point, breast milk will need to be cooled quickly and stored in the refrigerator or freezer.
Useful Tips (Store Breast Milk Pulled With a Breast Pump)
Useful tips for breast milk storage
Here are some tips and tricks that can be useful in order to properly store the milk extracted from the breast.
- In order to avoid wasting such a precious food, it is advisable to fill each container with a maximum of 50-100 ml of milk.
- Do not store milk in the refrigerator door, but in the coldest part of the latter.
- When breast milk is stored in the refrigerator, it would be good to avoid opening it too often – especially during the hottest months – so as not to alter the internal temperature of the appliance, therefore the correct storage of breast milk.
- Avoid adding freshly drawn milk to milk already stored in the refrigerator in order not to cause the temperature to rise. If it is necessary to add freshly drawn milk to milk already stored in the refrigerator, the former must be cooled beforehand.
- Do not completely fill the containers: during freezing, in fact, there may be an increase in the volume of the content.
- In case of phase separation (separation of the aqueous phase from the solid phase), do not shake the container vigorously, but shake gently by rotating. In this way, it should be avoided that the fat part remains adhered to the walls of the container. If this were to occur, in fact, this portion of the food would not be available for the newborn.