Breast Milk Storage Tips A new mother’s guide to safely storing breast milk. BY CHERYL TALLMAN
Depending on how you store your breast milk will determine how long it can be used.
“ Avoid using a microwave oven to thaw breast milk. They do not heat liquids evenly and the oven’s high temperatures could destroy nutrients in the breast milk.”
Breastfeeding is the ultimate bonding experience between you and your baby. You will cherish it forever! Sometimes it’s not always easy to breastfeed your baby directly, so storing breast milk for safe consumption later is very important. Here are nine tips for safely storing breast milk.
1. Wash your hands with soap and water before expressing milk and be sure the area where you are working is clean.
2. If you are having trouble getting the milk to flow, keep an item that reminds you of your baby close by, this can really help! (Research has shown that when mothers viewed images of their own babies while listening to relaxing music their milk production increased).
3. If you are still having trouble expressing milk, apply warm moist compresses and gently massage the breasts for a few minutes.
4. Be sure to store the milk in clean, BPA-Free containers with lids, covered ice cube trays or freezer-safe storage bags.
5. Label the container with the date. Add your child’s name if you are taking it to a childcare provider.
6. Store milk in the coldest part of the refrigerator or freezer—usually in the back.
7. Always use the oldest dated milk first.
8. Do not mix fresh milk and frozen milk in the same container.
9. Milk left in a baby bottle after a feeding should be thrown out. Do not save it for use at another feeding.
Safely Thawing and Warming Breast Milk
* Thawing breast milk in the refrigerator is the best method. If time is an issue, breast milk can be thawed quicker in a closed container or bottle under cool running water.
* Some babies accept breast milk right from the refrigerator and others prefer it warm.
* To warm the breast milk, gradually increase the temperature of the water to warm the milk or immerse the container in a pan of water that has been heated on the stove.
* Do not heat the breast milk directly on the stove.
* Never bring the temperature of breast milk to boiling point.
* Avoid using a microwave oven to thaw breast milk. They do not heat liquids evenly and the oven’s high temperatures could destroy nutrients in the breast milk.
* Always check the temperature of the milk before feeding your baby.
* Do not re-freeze breast milk once it has been thawed.
Insulated cooler bag with ice packs
Freezer within refrigerator
Freezer with separate door
Up to 6 months
Chest or upright deep freezer
Up to 12 months
Source: Academy of Breastfeeding Medicine
Cheryl Tallman is the founder of Fresh Baby (www.FreshBaby.com). For more than 10 years, Fresh Baby helped has helped parents foster their children’s healthy eating habits and proactively respond to the childhood obesity epidemic that plagues our nation. Cheryl is the author and designer of the company’s award-winning cookbooks and nutrition education products that support many stages of family life including: pregnancy, breastfeeding, introducing solid foods, and feeding toddlers, preschoolers and school-aged children.