Proper Handling and Storage of Breast Milk

Most mothers at one or the other time tend to express and store the breast milk, especially those who return to work after their maternity leave. Breast milk have all the nutritional and the immunological properties, thus you 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 then they need to follow some of the safety precautions while handling and storing the breast milk.

Safely preparing, handling and storing breast milk

  • Wash your hands just before handling breast milk.
  • Use clean containers for storing 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 material, 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 name.
  • Make sure that you clearly mention the date of expressed as it will be helpful to facilitate the use of the oldest milk at first.
  • Don’t add the fresh milk to the container which contains the frozen milk. It is good not to mix both, fresh and previously expressed milk.
  • Don’t save the milk which is used for the next feeding.

After being expressed and put into a sterilized containers, then 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 (25 degrees) it can be held for 10 hours.
  • At a temperature less than 4 degrees in refrigerator you can store it for 8 days.
  • At zero degree temperature you can store it for 3 to 4 months.
  • At a temperature less than zero degrees you can store it for 6 months.

Thus you can store the breast milk for a long period but under appropriate conditions. Maintain a sterilize condition while handling and storing the breast milk. Make sure that you use the oldest milk first.

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