10 effective ways of storing breastmilk
10 effective ways of storing breastmilk. Breastmilk is known for its numerous health benefits for infants, and many mothers choose to express and store breastmilk for later use. Proper storage techniques are essential to maintain the quality and safety of breastmilk. In this article, we will explore 10 effective ways of storing breastmilk based on expert recommendations and scientific research. Here are the methods, along with sources and references to support their effectiveness:
1. Refrigerator storage:
Storing breastmilk in the refrigerator is one of the most common methods. It is ideal for short-term storage, as breastmilk can be safely stored in the back of the refrigerator (at 4°C or 39°F) for up to four days. Be sure to use containers specifically designed for breastmilk storage, like BPA-free bottles or bags, to maintain its quality.
2. Freezer storage:
Freezing breastmilk is an excellent option for long-term storage. Breastmilk can be stored in a freezer compartment within a refrigerator for up to six months. For even longer storage, a standalone freezer can maintain the quality of breastmilk for up to twelve months. Remember to label the containers with the date of expression to keep track of freshness.
3. Ice cube tray method:
The ice cube tray method is a convenient way to store breastmilk in smaller portions. Pour expressed breastmilk into sanitized ice cube trays, cover them with plastic wrap or lids, then place them in the freezer. Once frozen, transfer the cubes into labeled freezer bags for easy access and portion control.
4. Breastmilk storage bags:
Breastmilk storage bags are specifically designed for storing breastmilk. These bags are pre-sterilized, space-efficient, and have a secure seal to prevent leakage. When using storage bags, remember to squeeze out excess air before sealing to minimize the possibility of contamination. Place the bags in an upright position to prevent any leaking.
5. Glass containers:
Glass containers are an alternative to plastic bottles or bags for breastmilk storage. They are reusable, environmentally friendly, and can be easily sterilized. Glass containers help maintain the quality of breastmilk and are less likely to leach any chemicals into the milk. However, it’s important to handle glass containers with care to avoid breakage and choose ones with airtight lids.
6. Fridge-to-freezer method:
If you plan to use refrigerated breastmilk at a later time, you can transfer the milk from the refrigerator to the freezer. However, make sure you do this within 24 hours to maintain the quality of the breastmilk before it begins to deteriorate.
7. Insulated cooler bags:
Insulated cooler bags are an excellent option for mothers who need to transport expressed breastmilk. These bags are designed to keep breastmilk cool for several hours, maintaining its quality. They are especially useful for mothers returning to work or traveling with breastmilk. Remember to include ice packs to keep the temperature consistently low.
8. Double-layered storage:
To minimize the risk of contamination and leaks, consider using a double-layered storage system. This involves placing breastmilk storage bags or containers within a larger zip-top bag or plastic container. This additional layer of protection helps prevent any damage to the milk and ensures hygiene during storage and transportation.
9. Thawing and warming:
When it’s time to use frozen breastmilk, it’s important to thaw and warm it properly. The recommended method is to place the frozen breastmilk container in the refrigerator overnight or use warm water to gently thaw it. Avoid using a microwave for thawing, as it can destroy important nutrients and create hotspots in the milk.
10. Donor milk banks:
In certain situations, like when a mother is unable to breastfeed, donor milk banks can provide safe and screened donor breastmilk for infants. These milk banks ensure proper storage and handling techniques to maintain the quality and safety of the donated breastmilk. Consult with healthcare professionals or lactation specialists to learn more about donor milk banks in your area.
Remember, always follow the proper guidelines for expressing, storing, and handling breastmilk to ensure the health and safety of your baby. If you have specific concerns or questions, it’s always best to consult with a healthcare provider or a certified lactation consultant for personalized advice.
: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention – Storing and Handling Breast Milk
: La Leche League International – Ice Cubes and Other Ways to Store Human Milk
: American Academy of Pediatrics – Breastfeeding: Proper Storage and Preparation of Breast Milk
: Moms Pump Here – Glass vs. Plastic Storage: Which is Best for Storing Breastmilk?
: American Pregnancy Association – Storing Breast Milk
: Mayo Clinic – Guide to Storing Breast Milk
: Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics – Preparing and Storing Expressed Breast Milk
: Human Milk Banking Association of North America – About HMBANA