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Storing Pumped Breastmilk While Nursing Your Baby: How Long Do Containers Keep Before Reheating
Breastfeeding is a learned, not an instinctive skill, and
the complications it can bring to the modern woman's
schedule are many and nefarious. For example, even the most
liberal workplace in the world isn't going to be set up for
storage of breast milk: you may want to bring along a cooler
with bottles or bags, supplies such as nursing pads and
something to keep the milk cold, like bags of dry ice. Don't
expect to start storing milk right after giving birth. If
you're nursing a newborn, you need to wait two or three
weeks before you can start pumping and storing breast milk
because your body is still producing colostrums and
adjusting to a schedule of nursing. Once you have a regular
milk supply, you can start pumping and storing your breast
Storing Breastmilk in Containers Correctly
But along with the challenges of staying on schedule,
preventing leakage and getting the milk to your infant comes the
fascinating study of breast milk storage. Breast milk can stay
at room temperature much longer than cow's milk or other protein
laden foods—ten hours at room temperature is fine. But once your
milk has been into the fridge or freezer, it can only last a
half hour at room temperature. Read on for more tips on breast
milk storage and use!
- Buy small disposable bottle bags or use 4 ounce bottles to
store your milk. Four ounces is a good sized feeding, so smaller
bottles will mean less wasted milk.
- If you pump your milk and store it in the refrigerator, it
can last from five days to a week, depending. It's a good idea
to label the bottles with the date so there's no confusion.
- Lactation waits for no man—or woman, and your breasts will
continue to make milk as long as they are being emptied on a
regular basis. But there are things mothers can do to prevent
spoilage and to maximize each child's chances of drinking fresh
milk. If you don't have cold storage at work. Breast feeding is
a hassle for moms, but about as much of a hassle as preparing
formula. And breastfeeding is much less expensive and more
nutritious, so if you're nursing your baby, you can be sure that
the hassle you undertake is contributing to your child's health.
- How long does it last? If you have a deep freeze that
operates at about 20 degrees Fahrenheit, you can store milk for
up to a year before using it. A regular freezer can store milk
for six months, and if your freezer keeps your ice cream soft,
you can probably only count on it for three months. If your milk
was pumped and stored in the refrigerator more than 2 days (48
hours) ago, it's past its shelf life for freezing: don't freeze
- Don't forget that liquids expand as they freeze. Leave an
inch of space at the top of freezer bags of milk. Date
containers so you know when they were stored.
- Follow the first in, first out principle of food rotation.
Use the breast milk that's been stored longest (checking for
freshness after it's thawed).
- If you're going traveling, use a cooler with dry ice packages
to keep expressed milk fresh.
- Don't microwave breast milk; it breaks down some of the
enzymes that make it so healthy for your baby. Thaw frozen milk
by reheating in a bowl of hot water or let it thaw at room
- Your milk may have separated; shake it to re-emulsify the
cream and the thinner liquid.
- If you're using milk that's been in the fridge awhile, or is
warming from freezing, you can smell or taste it to make sure it
isn't sour before offering it to your child.
- Milk that has been frozen and thawed can stay in the fridge
up to 24 hours.
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