How To Keep Breast Milk

breastfeedingBreast milk is the most perfect food for babies.  It meets all of the baby’s nutritional requirements.  The mother’s body produces the right amount of colostrum, proteins and other nutrients for the baby.  Plus the mother is constantly producing breast milk so there is an endless supply of food for the baby. 

To make sure that your baby always has their food with them and to alleviate the pressure on your breasts, it is best to pump the milk and then store it.  That way you will always have a supply available for your baby.  Breast milk is not like regular, store bought, homogenized and pasteurized milk.

Therefore, it needs to be stored correctly otherwise bacteria will grow in it and it will lose its nutrients.  If you are a mother that is either planning to breastfeed or is currently breastfeeding, read this article to learn how to properly pump and store your breast milk.

When you need to pump and collect the breast milk, use a breast pump.  They are sold at many mass retailers and baby supply stores.  Breast pumps come in many different fashions.  They have single and double breast pumps, hand pumps for light milk production and electric pumps for women that produce a lot of milk or women that need to pump during the day at work.

Feed your baby prior to pumping.  That way you will be assured that the baby has had its fill.  When you are ready to use the breast pump remember that cleanliness is very important when handling a breast pump.  Your hands should be washed well as should the breast pump.  You will need to wash it and sterilize it after every use.  Follow the instruction manual to properly pump.  It is best to pump when your body is relaxed and your breasts are full of milk.  This usually occurs first thing in the morning.  Women who work need to pump at least three times a day so that they have a steady supply of milk.

How you store milk is important as well.  It affects the ability to use it later.  Buy some plastic or glass storage containers.  The amount you buy is based on the amount of milk you produce.  If you are a heavy producer, there are special breast milk storage bags that can go directly into the freezer.  Make sure the lids fit tightly.  Thoroughly wash and sterilize the containers prior to use.

Use a container that is larger than the amount of breast milk that you pump.  When frozen, breast milk expands.  Before you put the storage containers in the freezer, mark the dates on the containers.  Do not combine milk from day one with milk from day three.  If you do have to combine days, make sure that the first day’s milk is completely cooled prior to adding the next day.  Milk can sit at room temperature for about ten hours.  It can be kept in the refrigerator for eight days and in the freezer for three months.