Breast milk contains everything you need for your baby. It covers all its needs, whether in terms of vitamins, proteins, sugars, fats, mineral salts and trace elements, all in the right quantities. In short, it is the main element for an ideal diet for your child.
It keeps very well unlike infant formula and if you have chosen to express your milk for different reasons; whether you go back to work or if you go away and leave your dad, grandma or nanny baby; this article will give you all the tips to best conserve your milk, and will help you preserve all the important nutrients and minimize the risk of bacterial contamination. In short, we tell you everything about storing breast milk .
Preservation of breast milk: How does it work?
First of all, it is necessary to clarify that the storage times of breast milk are not cumulative and that this information relates to milk for a healthy baby.
At room temperature
When you express your milk, it is possible to leave it at room temperature. Indeed, between 19 ° C and 22 ° C, breast milk can be stored for 4 to 6 hours (maximum 8 hours), then given to your baby without any risk of bacteria proliferation.
You can also keep it in the air over a longer period (24 hours), however, the room temperature should not exceed 15 ° C .
In the fridge
Refrigerated breast milk is preferable to frozen milk because freezing destroys certain anti-infectious factors.
In the short term, it is therefore possible to put your breast milk in the refrigerator but before, control the temperature of your device. Indeed, it must be between 0 and 4 ° C for optimal conservation. Your milk can then be stored for a maximum of 8 days.
Please note, it is not recommended to put breast milk in the fridge door, which is opened several times during the day, maintaining the temperature is uncertain to ensure good preservation of the milk.
You are advised to place your milk in plastic bags dedicated to conservation or in the conservation bottle and place them on the shelf above the vegetable drawer, well at the bottom.
When the quantity of milk drawn is low, take care not to mix it with that already present in your fridge. For this, the two products must be at the same temperature before assembling them. Cool it in the fridge and then mix it.
In the freezer
Moms who wish to return to work without having weaned their baby can opt to freeze their milk . In this case, you can store your milk:
- maximum 6 months in a separate freezer if the temperature of your appliance is -18 ° C
- maximum 4 months in the freezer of a refrigerator - freezer
- maximum 2 weeks in the freezer of your refrigerator
Put your milk well in the bottom of the freezer or freezer so that it is not subject to temperature change if you open the door during the day.
Little tip : prefer freezing your milk in small quantities to avoid waste. Using ice cube trays will allow you to defrost your milk on demand and in reasonable quantities.
Please note: under no circumstances should fresh milk be added to already frozen milk.
Do not fill your container beyond ¾ because milk tends to increase in volume when frozen.
How to defrost breast milk?
Above all, do not use the microwave to defrost your breast milk. The first explanation lies in the fact that the nutritional quality of milk would be affected, and the second in the fact that the temperature is not controlled. The risk of burns is therefore far too great.
The best way to defrost breast milk is to take out the desired amount of milk if you are using ice or the storage container and place it in the refrigerator without heating it. It can then be kept 24 hours in the refrigerator or 4 hours at room temperature, beyond which it must be discarded.
Note : Like any other food, do not refreeze already frozen milk to avoid the proliferation of harmful bacteria to your baby.
Good to know : After defrosting, the color and smell of your milk can be changed. However, it is still good for consumption by your baby. You will also notice that its appearance will not be uniform. In fact, the fat present in your milk rises to the surface. Before giving it to your baby, mix it well.
How to warm breast milk?
You can warm breast milk in a water bath over low heat, or by running hot tap water over the container or by leaving it at room temperature. In these cases, you can keep breast milk for 4 hours.
Before giving your baby milk, check the temperature of the milk by pouring a few drops of milk on the inside of your handle and do not hesitate to roll the bottle between your hands to mix the nutritional qualities.
The hygiene rules to follow with breastmilk containers
To avoid any risk to baby's health, the accessories used to express milk must be properly cleaned . Sterilize those used for its preservation before using them. For each bottle, note the date and time when the milk was drawn to avoid errors . Do not hesitate to mark the names on the bottles if the milk is intended for several babies.
Milk that has exceeded the recommended storage times must be discarded and cannot be given to babies . Do the same for all leftovers that have not been consumed . Remember to wash your hands thoroughly before dispensing milk and handling accessories such as the breast pump and bottles.
How to carry breast milk easily?
If you need to transport your breast milk, know that it is possible, there are some rules to follow.
However, it is necessary to place the bottle of breast milk in an insulated bag or in a small cooler. Do not exceed one hour of transport and when you arrive, place the bottle in the refrigerator.
Best Breast Milk Storage Bags: Our Selection
Once you have drawn your milk, the choice of containers for storing it will essentially depend on how long you want to keep it. Glass or plastic? Opaque or transparent? No container will be perfect except the original one: your breasts.
Whichever you choose, it is imperative that the container is thoroughly washed with hot water and washing up liquid , rinsed well and that it can be closed tightly.
There are also freezer bags for breast milk that are appreciated for their convenience. These specially designed plastic bags can be used in the short term. They must be resistant and above all well closed. To prevent them from spilling or piercing, place them in a rigid container.
Regardless of the container, remember to record the date and time you pumped your milk so you can keep track of it and use the oldest one first, and so on.
Lansinoh Ideal Breast Milk Storage
Lansinoh is arguably the best breastmilk storage bag out there with strong double zipper seal for ultimate protection. These 100 bags are pre-sterilized and BPA, BPS free.
You can pump directly into these bags conveniently and store them into a fridge or freezer.
Medela Ready To Use Bags for Breastfeeding
Our second pick is the Medela brand. Also well known for their pre-sealed milk storage bags are convenient for keeping in a fridge or freezer.
You get 100 of them in a package. They can stand on their own so you can write down vital information on them before storing.You can also lay them flat to save storage space, not to mention that they are PBA free and very durable.
Kiinde Twist Pouch For Storing Breastmilk
Our last pick is the Kiinde Twsit pouch Amazon's choice in storage bags for breastmilk.
It's leak-proof, affordable and can lock onto all major breakmilk pumps with the help of an adapther (sold separately).
You can easily label it for storage. The bags are pre-sterilized and their caps are recycleable.