Do you find storing your breast milk confusing? Or you wonder can breast milk be stored? If you have an office to attend, or you need to hit the gym, or you need some extra sleep and you want your partner to feed when you rest, then you should definitely know how to store breast milk at home.
If you’re not there to feed directly to your baby, then expressed breast milk is the best option. It is very important to store your expressed breast milk safely. Unhyegine expressed breast milk can be harmful to your baby.
What Type Of Containers Should Be Used To Store Your Breast Milk?
Before you start pumping, make sure you have already washed your hands with handwash or with soap. You should store your expressed breast milk in a capped, clean, and food-grade or hard plastic container. You should make sure the plastic that you are using is not made with the chemical called Bisphenol A (BPA). If you don’t know what is BPA then, here it is.
BPA- It is a chemical that was previously widely used in plastic containers and coatings, which now many manufacturers don’t use due to its harmful effects in the long-term.
There also exist special plastic bags which are exclusively for storing milk. You should never store your expressed breast milk in a disposable bottle or plastic bag that is meant for common household use.
Can You Add Fresh Breast Milk To Already Stored Breast Milk?
Yes, obviously you can. But the only thing that you should keep in mind is that you should not add your fresh milk directly. The freshly pumped breast milk is at body temperature. You should keep the breast milk inside the fridge for some time so that its temperature falls below the room temperature. And then only you can add your breast milk inside the already stored breast milk. Never Put the warm milk inside the already stored milk.
How Long Can You Keep The Stored Breast Milk?
This depends on how you store your milk. But, there are general but important guidelines that you should follow:
- If You’re Storing in Insulated Cooler- In an Insulated Cooler, the breast milk can be stored for up to one day.
- When You’re Storing in Deep Freezer- In a deep freezer, the breast milk can be stored for up to 12 months. But, it is not advised to use beyond 6 months. The reason behind this will be explained later in this blog.
- While You’re Storing in Fridge- In a fridge, the breast milk can be stored for up to 4 days if it is kept in clean condition. But, it is also not advised to use beyond 3 days.
- Storing at Room Temperature- At Room Temperature, the breast milk can be kept for up to 6 hours. But, it is not advised to use beyond 4 hours if the room is warm.
Loss of Vitamin C is directly proportional to time. What this means is, the longer you store the lesser Vitamin C will be. So, you should never store your breast milk for more than 6 months. After 6 months, there will be lesser Vitamin C components in your stored breast milk. You should also know that Breast Milk Changes. Breast milk when your baby is a newborn is different from milk when your baby is a few months older. This change is because of your baby’s needs. Your baby needs different components with growth. That is why it is not advised to store your breast milk beyond 6 months.
How To Store Breast Milk At Home?
If you are still wondering can breast milk be stored then the answer is yes. But you should know how to preserve breast milk in the best and safer way. The Best Way To Store Breast Milk is discussed below:
- Use Waterproof Labels and Ink. You should label the container with the date that you have pumped. If you’re pumping for your baby’s daycare, you should also write your baby’s name along with the date.
- Always store your expressed breast milk at the back of the fridge. The reason behind this is, the back of the fridge is the coolest place inside the fridge and the temperature is also consistent there. If you keep your breast milk near the fridge door then the temperature will be inconsistent.
- If you don’t have a fridge then you can store your breast milk temporarily in an insulated cooler with ice packs. This is a great alternative if you don’t have a fridge. The only drawback of this is that you can only store your breast milk for only up to one day.
- Breast Milk expands as it freezes. So, you should never fill the container completely.
- Also, remember to store milk in 1-2 ounces (30-60 millimeters). This is for emergency purposes. This also helps when there is a delay in breastfeeding directly.
How To Defrost The Stored Milk?
Always remember that Oldest Milk First. This is why it is important to label your container with the date. Put the frozen milk container in the fridge before the night you want to use it. Defrost it by placing the container under running warm water or in a bowl of warm water. Don’t heat the container directly on a stove or even in a microwave. Studies have shown that rapid heating of breast milk can affect milk’s antibodies.
Remember that the color of your breast milk may vary according to your diet. And the defrosted milk can have a different odor but it is safe. If your baby refuses to have it then you can try reducing the storage time. Also remember, never re-freeze once thawed. The blog has discussed the best possible way on how to store breast milk.