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5 Dos and Don’ts of Breast Milk Storage 

According to experts, breast milk is the best source of nutrition for your babies. This is why it is important to store them properly to preserve the benefits that they contain. In this article, we will give you the complete dos and don’ts of breast milk storage.

Nothing beats giving your baby breast milk for the first six months of life. This is because each drop provides essential nutrients that help babies grow and develop.

Unfortunately, many mamas will experience fluctuations in the supply of their milk, especially if it is their first time breastfeeding.

One of the best ways to ensure that your baby gets the breast milk they need is to store it whenever your milk production is heavy.

This is why it is important to learn how to properly store breast milk even before giving birth. In this article, we have compiled an easy guide on everything that you need to know about breastmilk storage.

5 Dos of Breast Milk Storage

1. Use an airtight container when storing breast milk.

When storing breast milk, the first thing you should consider is ensuring that the breast milk will not get contaminated. With this, it is important to have a specialized container that bacteria and other foreign bodies will not penetrate.

It is best to go for food-grade containers made from glass or hard plastic materials. Furthermore, you should also be very of certain chemicals that may affect the quality of your milk, such as the chemical bisphenol A (BPA).

On top of this, as a safety precaution, you should also wash the containers after every use with mild soap.

2. Label the container with the date of expression.

label your breastmilk bags

Once you have figured out the container you will use, the next step is to ensure that these containers are properly organized. 

When storing breast milk, it is advisable to go for a first-in-first-out policy. This will help you track if the milk is still good for babies’ consumption.

One of the easiest ways to enforce this strategy is to be mindful of labelling the date and time when each milk was expressed. You can do so using markers, or you can also use label makers.

3. Store breast milk in a cold place.

To safely preserve breast milk, it is necessary to place it in a cold place.

For instance, if you plan to store the milk for up to 4 days, it’s okay to refrigerate it. On the other hand, if you want to extend the milk for up to 12 months, you should put it in the freezer.

Additionally, if you plan to travel with stored breast milk, you may place it in a cooler with ice packs. Remember that this will only work for the day, and unconsumed milk should be disposed of afterwards.

4. Store breast milk in small portions. 

breastmilk-small-portions

It is okay to separate milk into portions when storing them. Some mamas may get the notion that they need to store all the milk expressed in one container. However, doing so may only lead to wastage since it is not advisable to store milk again once it has been thawed.

Speaking of thawing, big portions of frozen milk also mean longer waiting times. With this, it is recommended to portion milk that is good for one feeding session. As a guide, you can refer to the table below:

  • 0 to 4 weeks: 2-4ounces per feeding
  • 5 to 8 weeks: 2-4 ounces per feeding
  • 3 to 5 months: 3-4 ounces per feeding
  • 6 months: 4-5 ounces per feeding
  • 7 to 12 months: 4-6 ounces per feeding

After all, if your baby wants more milk after consuming the entire portion,  you can always thaw another batch.

5. Find a breast pump that works well. 

Mama's Choice Single Electric Breast Pump

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The key to effectively storing milk is to also pay attention to how you collect milk. A trusted breast pump you can regularly use to express milk will make your breastfeeding journey significantly easier.

For busy mamas, we highly suggest using electric breast pumps that automatically collect milk as you go about your day. 

It is also better to go for one with a massage feature, as this will provide comfort while positively affecting your milk supply. 

5 Don’ts of Breast Milk Storage

1. Don’t add warm milk to already cooled or frozen milk.

Sometimes it can get tempting to add freshly expressed milk to the batch of milk you have recently thawed. 

Unfortunately, this is not advisable, as mixing can lead to contamination that may harm your baby.

If you feel like your breasts are full and need to express milk after thawing a stored batch, it is better to collect the milk, label it, refrigerate it, and save it for future use.

2. Don’t thaw breast milk in the microwave.

thaw breastmilk

Most of us depend on microwaves to instantly heat our meals. However, when it comes to breast milk, this is simply a major no-no.

Microwaving breast milk can create hot spots that may burn your baby’s mouth. It can also destroy the milk’s nutrients, making breastfeeding counterproductive.

Placing the bag or bottle under running lukewarm water is best if you need to thaw breast milk quickly.

3. Don’t reuse storage containers or bottles.

As mentioned earlier, contamination is one of the most common risks in storing breast milk. To avoid this, keeping storage containers and bottles clean is important.

Mama should take extra caution in cleaning each container after every use. Furthermore, we suggest you use gentle and food-grade cleaners to ensure your baby won’t get exposed to two harmful chemicals.

At the same time, we suggest you double-check if your hands are clean when handling breast milk, as this can also introduce unwanted bacteria to the milk.

4. Don’t freeze glass bottles.

freeze breastmilk

The most common materials for breastmilk containers are glass and hard plastic. This is because these materials are durable and easy to clean.

Unfortunately, when it comes to glass containers, you cannot use them to freeze breast milk. Since liquids tend to expand when frozen, they can break glass containers, making them a hazard.

With this in mind, we suggest you use plastic containers if you plan to extend breast milk by freezing it. 

5. Don’t use milk stored for more than a year. 

Even if you freeze breast milk, it is not advisable to use it if a year has already passed after your collection date. This is because the nutrition present in the milk has already been lost at this point.

Additionally, some doctors even recommend that mamas discard milk that has been stored for more than six months. If you want to be safer, you may also follow this advice. 

Any milk stored for more than twelve months should be discarded.

Meet the Mama’s Choice Breast Milk Storage Solution!

Mama's Choice Breastmilk Storage Bag

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To help mamas effectively store and extend the shelf life of their breast milk, we have specially designed the Mama’s Choice Breastmilk Storage Bag for them.

These are affordable and practical storage bags to keep breast milk safe and secure.  Of course, we used food-grade and BPA-free material to ensure that breast milk is not contaminated.

It can hold up to 120 ML, the perfect portion size for one feeding. The best part? It is already pre-sterilized, so you don’t have to worry about cleaning it before using it. 

This storage bag also makes it easy for mamas to transfer it to a feeding bottle because it has a built-in spout!

As for mamas planning to travel with their babies, we also have the Sling Cooler Bag — a.k.a.  your new go-to bag that can hold all of your breastfeeding essentials. It can easily hold breast pumps, milk bags, and other essentials. It also features two insulated compartments that will keep breast milk cool for the entire day. 

Mama's Choice Breastmilk Storage Bag

Get a 40% Discount on Mama’s Choice Breast Milk Storage Bag | ₱249 ₱149


ALSO READ:
How To Use Breast Milk Storage Bags: 6 Tips To Remember
8 Breastfeeding Must Haves For the Working and Pumping Mom
Breast Milk Pumping Tips And Tricks For New Mamas

Mama's Choice Team

A team of passionate writers, young mamas, and creative superheroes who help mamas face motherhood one educational article at a time!

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