Tips for Expression and Storing of Breastmilk
NMB advocates the exclusive feeding of mother's own milk to all infants, especially during their first year of life. If you are going to be away from your baby for any length of time, expressing beforehand is a great way to continue to provide the benefits of breast milk to your child while you are away. Pumping ahead of time also allows close friends and family members to participate in the feeding process. Expressing milk relieves engorged breasts and increases the body's milk production. If you are taking medication that may be harmful to your baby, pumping also helps prolong the body's ability to lactate so you can continue to breastfeed after ceasing your medication intake.
- Always wash your hands before expressing or handling your milk.
- When shopping for an electric pump to buy or rent, make sure that it creates a milking action and is not simply a sucking device.
- Pumps that express milk from both breasts at the same time increase your amount of milk and save time.
- Make sure that all parts of it that come into contact with your skin or milk can be removed and cleaned. Otherwise, the pump will become a breeding ground for bacteria, and the milk will not be safe for your baby.
- Some women prefer hand expression because it can be done silently and does not require special equipment. To express milk manually:
- Make sure your hands are clean. Wash them well with soap and water.
- Put a clean cup or container under your breast.
- Massage the breasts gently toward the nipples.
- Place your thumb about 1 inch back from the tip of the nipple and your first finger opposite.
- Press back toward your chest, then gently press the areola between the thumb and finger and release with a rhythmic motion until the milk flows or squirts out.
- Rotate your thumb and finger around the areola to get milk from several positions.
- Transfer the milk into clean covered containers for storage in the refrigerator or freezer for possible later feeding for your baby. Always label the container and put a date on it.
- Be sure to use only clean containers to store expressed milk.
- Use sealed and chilled milk within 24 hours if possible. Discard all milk that has been refrigerated more than 48 hours. Milk for donation must be kept in the refrigerator no more than 12 hours and than placed in the freezer.
- After pumping milk for donation immediately place the bag inside your freezer. If the bag is only partially filled, please freeze immediately and use a new bag for the next pumping.
- Make sure to label the milk with the date that you freeze it as well as your doner number. Use the oldest milk first.
- Freeze 2 to 4 ounces of milk at a time, because that is the average amount of a single feeding. However, you may want some smaller amounts for some occasions.
- Do not add fresh milk to already frozen milk in a storage container.
- You may thaw milk in the refrigerator or by placing under warm running water. Do not use hot water to thaw breast milk. Excess heat can destroy important proteins and vitamins in the milk.
- Do not use microwave ovens to heat bottles because they do not heat them evenly. Uneven heating can easily scald your baby or damage the milk. Bottles can also explode if left in the microwave too long.
- Do not re-freeze your milk.
- Do not save milk from used bottle for use at another feeding.
|Room Temperature at 77° F (25° C) or below||Use within 3-4 hours|
|In refrigerator at 40° F (4° C) or below||Use within 2 days|
|Frozen in a separate freezer compartment at -4° F (-20° C)||Store up to 6 months|
|Thawed from frozen and refrigerated at 40° F (4° C) or below||Use within 24 hours|
These guidelines are consistent with the recommendation of the American Academy of Pediatrics.