Breast milk is of profound importance for babies. It fulfills all their nutritional requirements. In effect, it becomes highly essential for a baby to be fed regularly. For this, one of the best ways of ensuring a consistent supply of breast milk is by collecting it and storing it. This way, you will be able to meet the needs of your baby anytime, without any discomfort. However, it should be noted that breast milk needs to be collected and stored properly, to avoid both bacteria growth and loss of nutrients. Now, in case you are wondering how to collect and store breast milk, read the procedure given below.
Collecting Breast Milk
- For the collection of breast milk, you will require a breast pump, suitable for your lifestyle. A hand pump is suitable for light pumping, whereas an electric pump is best for heavy pumping or for working moms.
- Before every application, wash and sterilize the breast pump properly, as it comes in direct contact with your breasts and breast milk.
- Wash your hands thoroughly.
- Use the pump according to the instructions mentioned by the manufacturer.
- Always feed your baby before using the pump. This will ensure you extract whatever is left in your breasts, after a normal feeding.
- If you are a working mother, try to pump at least three times a day, to keep your supply up and follow your schedule for nursing.
- Use the pump when you are relaxed and remain flexible. You are likely to express more breast milk in the morning, than any other time of day.
Storing Breast Milk
- After you have pumped out the milk, make use of storage containers as per your needs. If you just wish to store the expressed breast milk for using the following day, make use of glass or plastic bottles with tight lids. In case you are storing breast milk in large amounts, you can use storage bags made for breast milk and then put them in the freezer.
- Make sure to mention the date on the storage container and even the amount stored. Once frozen, breast milk expands, making it difficult to know the exact amount.
- Pour the extracted milk into the bottles or bags. Try to store small amounts at a time, to avoid breast milk wastage.
- Leave enough room for expansion.
- Push all the air out of the bags before freezing and seal it tightly.
- Do not mix the milk extracted at different times. If you wish to freeze different quantities together, make sure you cool the fresh lot before adding it to the new one.
- You can store breast milk at room temperature for up to 10 hours. You can refrigerate it for 8 days; keep it in freezer for 3 months and in deep freezer for 6 months.