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How to Store Breast milk

by Margaret Breen • March 14th, 2016

Happy St. Patrick’s Day! We feel lucky to have YOU, so we put together a guide to pumping “liquid gold” for your wee ones. Enjoy!

Remember: The more you take, the more you make!

How to get started:

  • 3-4 weeks after birth, incorporate pumping into your breastfeeding schedule and introduce a bottle once a day.
  • Store breast milk in the refrigerator or the freezer.
  • The best time to pump is first thing in the morning or right before bedtime. Or, if the baby only feeds from one breast, you can pump the other side.

Tips:

  • Relax and make yourself comfortable. Get some tea, eat a snack, and put your feet up.
  • Look through photos of your baby or hold one of their blankets. You’ll make more milk just thinking of them!
  • Avoid watching the collection bottles.
  • Double pump.
  • Use a hands-free bra. If you don’t have one, make your own by cutting two nickel-sized holes in an old sports bra where your nipples are.

What expressed milk looks and smells like:

  • It may separate in the refrigerator where the fat floats to the top. Foremilk comes from the front of the breast, is meant to quench the thirst of the baby, and therefore has more water. Hindmilk, which comes from the back of the breast, satisfies the hunger and has more fat.
  • Freshly expressed milk may appear white.
  • Frozen, thawed milk has a slightly metallic sent and smell, which is completely safe and normal.
  • The soapy smell comes rom the Lipase enzyme that helps the baby metabolize fat.

To Store Breast Milk:

  • You can use bottles or bags. Or, for convenient one-ounce single-serves that mix great into baby food, fill ice cube trays with milk and freeze them. Then, drop the frozen cubes into a ziplock and keep it in the freezer.
  • When freezing milk in bottles, leave room for frozen liquid to expand.
  • Label “BREASTMILK” and note the date and time.
  • Lie bags down and freeze them flat to stack them.
  • Place newer milk to the bottom of the pile or towards the back in the freezer.
  • Freeze in 2-5 oz. portions, or 1 oz. portions for younger infants.
  • Transport milk in an insulated cooler with a frozen ice pack.

 

NAE Breastmilk Storage Chart:

Defrosting and Warming Breast milk:

  • Warm refrigerated breastmilk in a bowl of warm tap water.
  • Place frozen breastmilk in the refrigerator overnight to defrost. Do not refreeze.
  • NEVER boil or microwave breastmilk as it kills nutrients and can create hot spots.
  • Bottle warmers are safe to use.
  • ALWAYS test the breastmilk temperature on your inner wrist before feeding baby.

Want to learn more? Check out our breastfeeding classes, lactation consultant classes, or come to a drop-in breastfeeding group! Good luck, mamas!

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