Breastfeeding can be one of the most amazing and rewarding jobs, but it can also be exhausting and hard work. Did you know that the hours you spend feeding your child around the clock are equal to a full-time job? Time for a promotion and a pay rise, methinks!
We all know how awesome breast milk is for your little bub – not only does breastfeeding provide your baby with all the necessary nutrients for growth and development, but it also helps to strengthen the bond between you two. But, as we also all know, breastfeeding can come with its own set of challenges – especially when it comes to storing and preserving that liquid gold.
The fact is, being a parent can be really hard and sometimes you need and deserve a break. However, your mini-me’s stomach doesn’t get the memo that mama needs a time out so if you are still on your breastfeeding journey you’ll want to ensure you’ve got a stash of breast milk ready to go.
Proper storage of breast milk is crucial if you want to avoid any ‘spoiled milk’ drama. Not only do you want to make sure that your little one is getting the good stuff, but you also don’t want to waste a drop. You’ll be kicking yourself if you find out that the milk you just threw out was still good to go (ouch!). So, don’t let your breast milk go bad on you and follow the dos and don’ts , and you’ll be a breast milk storage pro in no time!
Do: Store breastmilk in a clean bottle/ breast milk storage bag
When it comes to storing that precious liquid gold, always make sure to use a clean container, otherwise, you’ll be wasting all that hard work. Don’t just grab any old bottle lying around. Give it a good wash with hot soapy water and sterilise. If you’re feeling fancy, you can even give one of those UV sanitising machines a try, because who doesn’t love a good germ-busting sesh? But here’s a pro-tip, breast milk storage bags are the best way to go (if you would like to build a stash for later use), they can stand upright for easy filling, and can be stored flat, taking up less space.
Keep in mind, these storage bags are a one-time use kind of deal. Reusing them is like playing with fire, you’re risking contamination and leaks. Don’t treat them like a reusable shopping bag, these bags are made of a special material that can withstand freezing and thawing without leaking, but it’s not indestructible – it can easily be punctured or torn. Always remember to follow the manufacturer’s instructions, because different brands may have different guidelines.
Do: Label your breast milk with date and time
When it comes to storing that liquid gold, don’t forget to label it with the date and time it was pumped. Why, you ask? Well, because you don’t want bub to be chugging expired milk, as it can become contaminated with harmful bacteria. I like to see these bags as mini time capsules, you’ll be able to look back and see when your little one was craving more fat or protein (I always get fascinated about how yellow my early milk looked!). Not to mention, labeling bags makes life so much easier when you are at your most sleep-deprived and, potentially, your most forgetful.
Oh and don’t forget to label the time when it was pumped, because breast milk can change throughout the day, adjusting to what your baby needs at that specific time, it’s like magic!
Do: Store breast milk in the back of the fridge or freezer
Are you tired of playing a guessing game with your breast milk’s freshness? Let me tell you – location is key. And by that, I mean storing your breast milk in the back of the fridge or freezer. This is where the magic happens, it’s the coldest spot in the house! And we all know that the colder the better when it comes to keeping your breast milk fresh and safe for your little one. It’s like a little winter vacation spot for your milk!
Don’t: Leave breastmilk out at room temperature for too long
Don’t let your hard work turn into a science experiment! Remember – timing is everything. Leaving breast milk out at room temperature for too long can be a recipe for disaster, with bacteria taking over and making your little one sick. So, here’s the deal: breast milk can hang out at room temperature for up to 4 hours, then it’s time to transfer it to the fridge or freezer.
Keeping the milk safe and preserving its nutritional value for as long as possible is always a good thing.
Don’t: Reheat breast milk more than once
Don’t play the reheat game with your liquid gold! Reheating breast milk more than once can cause the nutrients to degrade and that’s not something you want. Think of it like a leftover pizza, the more you reheat it, the less delicious it becomes. The same goes for breast milk, it’s best to use it within a couple of hours of taking it out of the fridge or thawing it from the freezer. That way, you can ensure that your little one is getting the most nutrition possible.
So, next time you want to warm up your breast milk, make sure you’re going to use it all within a couple of hours.
Don’t: Mix freshly expressed breast milk with refrigerated or frozen breast milk
Leave the mix and match game in your wardrobe, not with your milk! Mixing fresh breast milk with refrigerated or frozen breast milk is like a game of hot and cold, and it’s just not a nice experience for your bub. When you mix them together, the temperature of the milk can change, affecting its quality. And quality is key when it comes to your little one’s nutrition.
The goal is to keep the temperature consistent so that your baby can enjoy the best quality milk.
We know that breast feeding is already a tiring job, and storing breast milk can be just one more thing to think about when you’re already juggling hormones, a healing body, sleep deprivation and the constant adrenaline rush that is caring for a tiny human. But by ensuring that your little one is getting the best quality milk, you can rest assured that bub will be healthy and happy. From cleaning and labeling to storing and reheating, it’s important to take the necessary precautions to keep your breast milk safe and top-notch quality. That amazing breast milk that you are making everyday is a precious gift, and it’s so important to take good care of it – and yourself!
Keep up the good work, lovelies!