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    Proper Storage and Preparation of Breast Milk

    Learn about the guidelines for proper storage and preparation of human milk.

    Proper Storage and Preparation of Breast Milk

    Following recommended storage and preparation techniques can maintain the safety and quality of expressed breast milk for the baby’s health.

    These are general guidelines for storing human milk at different temperatures. Various factors affect how long human milk can be stored safely. Such factors include milk volume, room temperature when milk is expressed, temperature fluctuations in the refrigerator and freezer, and cleanliness of the environment.

    Human Milk Storage Guidelines

    Human Milk Storage Guidelines

    Storage Location and Temperatures

    Type of Breast Milk Countertop

    77°F (25°C) or colder

    (room temperature) Refrigerator

    40°F (4°C) Freezer 0°F (-18°C) or colder

    Freshly Expressed or Pumped Up to 4 Hours Up to 4 Days Within 6 months is best

    Up to 12 months is acceptable

    Thawed, Previously Frozen 1–2 Hours Up to 1 Day

    (24 hours) NEVER refreeze human milk

    after it has been thawed

    Leftover from a Feeding

    (baby did not finish the bottle) Use within 2 hours after the baby is finished feeding

    Download this PDF which can be printed on magnets through a printing service.

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    Safe Storage of Expressed Breast Milk

    Before expressing or handling breast milk:

    Wash your hands well with soap and water. If soap and water are not available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol.

    Mothers can express breast milk by hand or with a manual or electric pump.

    If using a pump, inspect the pump kit and tubing to make sure it is clean. Discard and replace moldy tubing immediately.

    If using a shared pump, clean pump dials, power switch, and countertop with a disinfectant wipe.

    Storing breast milk after expressing:

    Do you have other questions, such as where to store breast milk at work, and what to do when the power goes out?

    Visit Frequently Asked Questions.

    Use breast milk storage bags or clean, food-grade containers to store expressed breast milk. Make sure the containers are made of glass or plastic and have tight fitting lids.

    Avoid bottles with the recycle symbol number 7, which indicates that the container may be made of a BPA-containing plastic.

    Never store breast milk in disposable bottle liners or plastic bags that are not intended for storing breast milk.

    Freshly expressed or pumped milk can be stored:

    At room temperature (77°F or colder) for up to 4 hours.

    In the refrigerator for up to 4 days.

    In the freezer for about 6 months is best; up to 12 months is acceptable. Although freezing keeps food safe almost indefinitely, recommended storage times are important to follow for best quality.

    Storage tips:

    Clearly label the breast milk with the date it was expressed.

    Do not store breast milk in the door of the refrigerator or freezer. This will help protect the breast milk from temperature changes from the door opening and closing.

    If you don’t think you will use freshly expressed breast milk within 4 days, freeze it right away. This will help to protect the quality of the breast milk.

    When freezing breast milk:

    Store small amounts to avoid wasting milk that might not be finished. Store in 2 to 4 ounces or the amount offered at one feeding.

    Leave about one inch of space at the top of the container because breast milk expands as it freezes.

    If you deliver breast milk to a child care provider, clearly label the container with the child’s name. Talk to your child care provider about any other requirements for labeling and storing breast milk.

    Breast milk can be stored in an insulated cooler with frozen ice packs for up to 24 hours when you are traveling. At your destination, use the milk right away, store it in the refrigerator, or freeze it.

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    Safe Thawing of Breast Milk

    Always thaw the oldest breast milk first. Remember first in, first out. Over time, the quality of breast milk can decrease.

    There are several ways to thaw your breast milk:

    In the refrigerator overnight.

    Set in a container of warm or lukewarm water.

    Under lukewarm running water.

    Never thaw or heat breast milk in a microwave. Microwaving can destroy nutrients in breast milk and create hot spots, which can burn a baby’s mouth.

    Source : www.cdc.gov

    How long can you leave breastmilk out after warming it up?

    If you're wondering how long breast milk can be stored for then, the answer is eight days! That's in a refrigerator, without warming it up. It must be fresh and not stored and rewarmed for it to last this long.

    Breastfeeding & Pumping

    How long can you leave breastmilk out after warming it up?

    If you’re wondering how long breast milk can be stored for then, the answer is eight days! That’s in a refrigerator, without warming it up. It must be fresh and not stored and rewarmed for it to last this long. 

    It can be such a long process with pumping and storing breastmilk. Its definitely hard work.

    Of course, because of this, you want to make sure that none of your precious goods go to waste.

    You want to ensure that every last bit has been taken in by your little one.

    Moms tend to become worried that the milk isn’t going to be good enough when left out, and so, it’s wasted. This isn’t always the case.

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    Before expressing or handling breastmilk:

    • If you’re using a pump kit that’s shared, you should clean the power switch, pump dials, and counter top to ensure that it is thoroughly disinfected.

    • Wash your hands thoroughly with soap and water. If you haven’t got soap and water available, you can use a hand sanitizer, which is alcohol-based, so it should contain at least 60% alcohol.

    • If you’re using a pump, ensure that the kit and tubing is clean. If you find any molding tubing, discard and replace it immediately.

    • You can choose between hand expressing or with a manual or electric pump.

    You May Like: 11 of the Biggest Breast Pumping Mistakes?

    Which breast milk storage method is best?

    It doesn’t matter how you decide to feed your baby, whether it be a bottle or breast.

    Although, there are so many claims that the breast is better than the baby formula.

    If you have freshly expressed, it is preferable to store it in the fridge instead of the freezer.

    If you put your breastmilk in the refrigerator, it will have more bacteria-fighting properties and is higher in vitamins, fat, and antioxidants than the milk that would be kept in your freezer.

    Related: How to Make Breastmilk Lotion

    How long should expressed milk be stored?

    You can store your breastmilk either in the freezer, fridge or at room temperature; it all depends on how soon you’d like to use it and how much of a milk backlog you have.

    If you’re planning to store your breastmilk at room temperature, which is anywhere from 60 degrees Fahrenheit to 25 degrees, then you’re able to store the milk up to 4 hours.

    If you have followed the guidance for cleaning and sanitizing your breast pump and you’ve expressed under immaculate conditions, the safe storage time for milk at room temperature is up to 6 hours.

    The safe storage time for breastmilk in a refrigerator is up to three days or five days under clean conditions. The fridge must be 39 degrees Fahrenheit or colder.

    Storing your milk in the freezer, which should be 0 degrees Fahrenheit or colder, can be up to six months or nine months if the expression was done under immaculate conditions.

    If you’ve frozen breast milk and it’s been thawed in the fridge, it can last up to 2 hours at room temperate or up to 24 hours if you want to leave it in the refrigerator. Just remember that you cannot refreeze once it’s been thawed.

    Related: Best Bassinet for Breastfeeding

    Related: Learn how to Exclusively Breast Pump like a Pro in Just 90 Minutes

    breast milk storage tips: 

    • You can store your breastmilk in an insulated cooler bag with ice packs inside for up to 24 hours if you’re traveling. As soon as you arrive at your destination, your breastmilk should be used straight away, stored in the fridge or frozen.

    • Remember not to store your breastmilk in the fridge door due to the inconsistent temperatures due to the opening and closing of doors.

    • If you’re unsure whether you’ll use your breastmilk within four days, you should freeze it as soon as possible. This will help to keep the quality of the milk at its best.

    • If you’re giving your breastmilk to a childcare provider, then make sure you add a clear label on the container with your child’s name.

    • Ensure that you talk to your childcare provider about any requirements you might have in regards to the storage or labeling of your breast milk.

    • Make sure the date of expression is clearly labeled on your breast milk container.

    • Freeze your breastmilk in amounts of 2-4 ounces, or however much will be offered in one feeding, so you minimize the amount wasted.

    • Leave an inch of space at the top of your storage container when you freeze breastmilk because it will expand when it’s frozen.

    Related: How To Build A Freezer Stash

    Mama of Five Recommends:

    Product Name Features Check PriceMEDELA PUMP IN STYLE ADVANCED FOR DOUBLE PUMPING • Mothers can produce more milk in less time; this breast pump was made for optimal efficiency and maximized flow

    Source : www.mamaoffive.com

    How Long is Breast Milk Good for After Warming?

    Breast Pumps Breast Milk Storage Nursing Bras Other Top Products Pumping and storing breast milk is a painstaking process, so naturally, you don’t want to waste any of the precious ounces. But what if you have already warmed the chilled or frozen packet of milk and your baby didn’t finish it? Can you use it if it’s bee

    24 OCT 2016

    How Long is Breast Milk Good for After Warming?

    Breast Pumps

    Breast Milk Storage

    Nursing Bras

    Other Top Products

    Pumping and storing breast milk is a painstaking process, so naturally, you don’t want to waste any of the precious ounces.

    But what if you have already warmed the chilled or frozen packet of milk and your baby didn’t finish it? Can you use it if it’s been sitting out or do you toss it?

    We’re going to consult a few experts to see what they suggest. Then we’ll give a quick rundown of best practices to ensure your milk stays safe to consume for as long as possible.

    Breast milk is a living food, full of nutrition as well as a certain level of bacteria. The milk itself has inherent antibacterial properties which keep the harmful microbes in check. Under normal circumstances, breast milk can be safely stored for up to eight days in the refrigerator.

    But this applies only to freshly expressed milk, not milk that has been stored then rewarmed. The question we’re asking is how long after warming the milk is it safe for your infant to consume it. In other words, how fast till it spoils?

    To date, there are no published scientific studies which specifically address the safety of offering previously warmed milk to your child. Frankly, there are breastfeeding advocates with opposing opinions.

    Some say, yes, you can use warmed milk for some time after it has been warmed for initial consumption. This article suggests that you put any unused milk back into the refrigerator within half an hour of warming to be heated up later.

    In this article by the lactation consultant, Jan Barger, she cites a small study stating there is little difference between first-time warmed milk and using the same milk later.

    Ruth Lawrence, MD, states the following on page 639 in her book, Breastfeeding: A Guide for the Medical Professional:

    “[Fresh] Breast milk can safely stand at room temperature for 6 to 8 hours and need not be discarded if the first feeding attempt is incomplete.” (7th edition, 2011)

    The Academy of Breastfeeding Medicine Protocol Committee suggests that whether human milk is safe to consume after being thawed depends on how the milk was collected, how it was thawed and, of course, how much bacteria was in the milk.

    The problem is that, as stated above, there are no studies showing whether or not warmed breast milk is unsafe after sitting out for a certain period. As such, many experts warn mothers to throw away any unused milk.

    Both sides have their points. You will have to use your own judgment as well as your nose to decide if the milk is safe for your child. You can give the unused portion a sniff test. Breast milk generally has a light, sweet scent. If it has a sour smell, play it safe and toss it.

    In the event that you choose to warm up and offer your infant previously thawed/warmed milk, there are times you should not risk using it. Never feed rewarmed milk to a child with a compromised immune system such as a preemie or when your infant is ill.

    But What About Wasting All That Precious Milk?

    There are two ways to handle this so milk won’t be wasted. One way is not to thaw any more than you need at each feeding. Don’t worry that you didn’t warm up enough since heating up milk only takes a few minutes.

    Alternatively, for those who are less concerned about offering warmed milk, consume it within a half an hour or immediately put in refrigerator for later use.

    Best Practices for Handling Breast Milk for Optimal Storage Life

    There is no need to be paranoid but since the health of your child is paramount, you will want to be careful with hygiene and milk storage practices. Here are some quick reminders:

    See more here ➝

    Wash pump parts which came in contact with your skin in hot, soapy water and air dry, perhaps you could even use some specialized breast pump cleaning wipes

    Ultimately, you will be the best judge of whether to reuse breast milk which has been standing out of the refrigerator. But as the old adage says, “When in doubt, toss it out.” In the end, your child’s health is more important than quibbling over wasting a few ounces of milk.

    (This article has been used with permission from www.maternityglow.com)

    Before pumping:

    Wash your hands. No need for any sterilization – just hot water and soap

    Make sure your nursing bra is changed often, also your breast pads

    Use only new, clean packets for storing milk

    Save smaller portions per packet, especially during early infancy

    Source : www.nursingangel.com.au

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