When I brought my son home, I was determine to conquer the feat of breastfeeding. This can be very complicated for some women for a number of reasons such as lack of education about breastfeeding and support. However, once your body and your baby are in tuned with one another, breastfeeding becomes a breeze. Now that you have conquered the major task of learning how to breastfeed, here are some helpful tips on how to collect store and thaw breast milk.
When Should I Start Pumping?
A soon as you are able, you should start pumping right away. If you are having difficulties getting your baby to latch after delivery, ask your nurse do they have a breast pump available. Although you will not be able to take it home, you can get a head start on pumping. If you do not constantly drain your breast, it can reduce or diminish your breast milk supply.
How to Collect Breast Milk?
Before you start pumping, you should start out with clean breast and hands. You should also sanitize your breast pump after each uses. Once you are finished pumping, store your breast milk in a breast milk storage bag, glass container, or a hard plastic that is BPA free. Make sure to write the date and how many ounces on the bag or container to keep up with the freshness of the milk.
How to Store Breast Milk?
How you store your breast milk determines on what you want to do with it. If you are going to give it to your baby later, you can put it in a bottle in the refrigerator. Breast milk can stay in the refrigerator for 4 days and can stay at room temperature (77 °F or colder) for 4 hours. Breast milk can stay in the freezer for 6 to 12 months. When you are freezing breast milk do not pour too much into the container.
It can explode in the freezer and the breast milk will go to waste. Another tip for freezing breast milk is only freeze small amounts in the container. Each container should have no more than 2 to 4 ounces in it. Doing this will make it easier to thaw when needed.
How to Thaw Breast Milk?
There are several ways to thaw breast milk. You can let it thaw at room temperature, set it in lukewarm water, or run it under warm water until thawed. Never use a microwave or a stove as this will destroy the nutrients in the milk. After breast milk has thawed, it is good for 2 hours. Make sure that you stir the milk before you give it to your baby. After the milk is thawed, the fat would have separated from the milk. Never refreeze breast milk. If it has gone pass expiration dispose of it promptly.
Make sure that you are sanitizing all equipment used during pumping. For more tips on helpful tips on how to collect store and thaw breast milk, visit the CDC.gov