The One-Stop Guide to Breast Milk Storage
A quick guide to breast milk storage and protecting this precious resource!
Your body does a lot of work to produce the breast milk that is going to nourish your child or children so you want to do everything you can to take good care of it and make sure none of this precious resource goes to waste. How do you do it?
Well, if you’re planning to breastfeed for the long haul, then storing breast milk properly is going to be a priority. Working mothers also need to have a plan in place for keeping breastmilk fresh.
Let’s talk about the process from start to finish. At room temperature, the ideal amount of time for storing is up to four hours, but can be pushed up to six in a pinch. In an insulated cooler (great for pumping at work and bringing home!), breastmilk can be stored up to 24 hours. In the refrigerator, you have three to five days. For the longer term, storing breastmilk in the freezer gives you a life of three to six months. To ensure breastmilk supply for a longer span of time, you might consider investing in a deep freezer. Stored this way, breastmilk has a life of up to a year. For our quick guide, click here.
For short term storage, a clean glass or plastic container with a secure top, is sufficient for proper, safe storage. For long term freezer storage, many moms opt for the freezer milk bags that can be filled, sealed and stored.
Ok, so now you have your stored milk. What’s the best way to prepare it for your baby?
Milk that has been refrigerated can be warmed under warm, running water or immersed in a bowl of warm water. Microwaves should not be used for warming breast milk, nor should it be warmed directly on the stove. Take care not to bring the milk to boiling. Room temperature or slightly warmer is ideal, and many low-maintenance babies will happily accept milk straight out of the refrigerator.
If you are barely making enough milk to feed your child, then breast milk storage might be nothing more than wishful thinking. But don’t despair. There are many ways to increase your supply. In the majority of cases, women produce more than enough to feed their child, or children, in the case of multiples.
For more information on increasing your milk supply or navigating breastfeeding issues, the Welcome Baby Care Lactation Support Team is here for you. An in home consultation or phone consultation can give you the answers and the practical advice you need to breastfeed confidently. Contact us today for more information.