Proper Handling and Storage of Breast Milk
Most mothers at one or another time express and store their breast milk, especially those who return to work after their maternity leave. Breast milk has all the necessary nutritional and immunological properties, thus the proper handling and storage of breast milk is very important.
Breast milk has anti-microbial properties, but containers used for storing breast milk must be cleaned properly and sterilized from harmful bacteria. When a mother expresses the breast milk with a breast pump into a container, they need to follow some safety precautions while handling and storing the breast milk.
- Safely prepare, handle, and store the breast milk.
- Wash your hands just before handling the breast milk.
- Use clean containers for storing.
- Use hard plastic cups having light caps, heavy-duty bags, or screw cap bottles, which can be placed directly in the nursery bottles.
- You need to avoid the use of formula bottle bags or ordinary plastic storage materials, as these can easily spill or leak.
- If you need to hand over the breast milk to the child care provider, then label the container correctly with the date and your child’s name.
- Make sure that you clearly mention the date of expressed milk as it will be helpful to facilitate the use of the oldest milk first.
- Don’t add the fresh milk to the container that contains the frozen milk. It is best not to mix both fresh and previously expressed milk.
- Don’t save the unused milk for the next feeding.
After being expressed and put into a sterilized container, it should be stored properly to maintain the beneficial properties of the breast milk. Thus you need to follow some rules while storing the breast milk.
- At room temperature, it can be held for 10 hours.
- It can be stored in the refrigerator for 8 days.
- At freezing, you can store it for 3 to 4 months.
- At subfreezing temperatures, you can store it for 6 months.
Thus you can store the breast milk for a long period under the appropriate conditions. Maintain a sterilized condition while handling and storing the breast milk. Make sure that you use the oldest milk first.