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Storing Pumped Breastmilk While Nursing Your Baby: How Long Do Containers Keep Before Reheating

Storing Breastmilk in Containers Correctly While Nursing

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 milk.

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!

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. 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 it.
  5. 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.
  6. 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).
  7. If you're going traveling, use a cooler with dry ice packages to keep expressed milk fresh.
  8. 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 temperature.
  9. Your milk may have separated; shake it to re-emulsify the cream and the thinner liquid.
  10. 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.
  11. Milk that has been frozen and thawed can stay in the fridge up to 24 hours.

Continue reading more information about Breast Milk Production

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