Knowing the correct methods of storing breast milk is something that every mother should understand. After all, you want to express some milk in advance to ensure that everything is ready for your baby when they let you know that it’s time to feed. Of course, this should only happen when you have the correct knowledge or equipment in place that will keep that breast milk in perfect condition.
If you’re expressing breast milk, you need to know how to store breast milk safely. Check out our advice on how to do this and the equipment you will need.
Best Ways of Storing Your Breast Milk
You can store breast milk to keep it fresh for your baby in a number of ways. Having these different options should mean that you find the entire process very easy to follow. Please do note that the safe storage times do vary depending on the method you use, so pay close attention.
Prior to delving into the details, storing breast milk is safe to do. You may wish to express milk for a number of reasons. This may be due to your partner helping with feeding. Being away from your baby during a time where you know they will need fed is another reason. Alternatively, your breasts may feel engorged and you have to express. Perhaps you even want to increase milk production? Expressing even when your baby isn’t feeding will boost those production levels.
Preparing Everything for Storing Breast Milk Safely
The actual expressing of milk is a small part of the entire process. Instead, we want you to focus more on the storage side.
The key component in all of this is to only ever use containers that are sterile or in special storage bags designed for this very purpose. It’s obvious as to why a sterile container is important. The last thing you want is to introduce any kind of bacteria or to provide bacteria with an environment in which they thrive. The very idea of then offering that bacteria-induced milk to your baby is horrific.
Of course, you have an array of products that will sterilise containers for you, and we recommend using them to eliminate any potential problems. This is not something that you want to mess up, so investing in sterilizing equipment is important.
Expressing That Breast Milk
Prior to going into how to store breast milk, we will address expressing it. Knowing how to use breast pump equipment will make life easier. Once again, you have a variety of breast pumps available, and we would recommend checking them out.
The entire process becomes straightforward when you have everything in place. But then, you do need to understand how to store your breast milk in the correct manner.
The Best Ways to Store Breast Milk
So, how long can you store breast milk? The answer to this does depend on the method you plan on using, and the difference in time span is vast. For all of these methods, let’s assume that you have used a sterilised container.
In a bottle at room temperature.
You can store breast milk at room temperature when it’s in a sterile bottle. The only problem with this option is you can do so for a maximum of six hours. In fact, we would recommend restricting it to only two or three hours.
Also, the room temperature cannot exceed 25 degrees C, so if you live in a warm climate and have no way of keeping an eye on the temperature in a room, then this may not work that well for you.
A cool box.
Another option for storing breast milk is a cool box. This will extend the time limit compared to the room temperature idea. With this, and do remember to include the ice blocks to keep the cool box cold, you can safely store breast milk for anything up to 24 hours.
This option is fantastic if you plan on being out and about with your baby during the day. You can purchase bags that have cooling components included within them designed for parents, and they do make life easier. As you can see, even knowing how to store breast milk when you plan on going out is an important part of your planning.
In the fridge.
The fridge is an obvious choice but you must understand its limitations. First, know what temperature your fridge is at. You may wish to even invest in a fridge thermometer if you want to pay close attention to the temperature. You cannot allow the temperature to go above 4 degrees C.
When storing breast milk in the fridge, you will find that it survives for up to five days. But then that does explain why paying close attention to the temperature is so important because anything above that 4 degrees C will reduce the lifespan.
The freezer compartment.
If you wish to store your breast milk for longer, then the freezer compartment is the best option. However, even with this, the period of time depends on the freezer in question.
If we talk about the freezer compartment conjoined to your fridge, then breast milk is safe for up to 14 days. If you have an individual home freezer, with temperatures of -18 degrees C, then breast milk is safe for up to six months.
So, what’s the best way to store breast milk?
This depends on when you want to use it. If you wish to do so in the short-term, then storing breast milk in a cool box or your fridge is best. Only store it at room temperature if you plan on using it in the immediate future. Most importantly of all, use sterile equipment and do not cut corners. It isn’t worth doing this when it is all too easy to store breast milk in the correct way.
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