Some mums like to express milk to relieve engorged breasts or to reduce the intensity of a fast letdown when their babies are having trouble staying latched on. It is also a good way of stimulating the milk supply and increasing breastmilk production.
Breast milk needs to be handled and store with care, to ensure its freshness. Here are some tips for handling and storing Expressed Breast Milk (EBM);
- EBM can be stored in sterilized plastic containers with secured tops, or specially designed breastmilk bags.
- Write the date and time that the milk was expressed before placing the fridge or freezer, so you always know how fresh it is. Always use the oldest batch first.
- If you choose to freeze your EBM, write the amount on the bottle/bag beforehand. It can be hard to work out exactly how much is in the container once frozen.
- Fresh milk from the fridge must be used within 3-5 days. Frozen milk must be used within 3 months (6 months if you are using a deep chest freezer). Store at the back of the fridge/freezer and away from the door.
- Freezing milk can destroy some of the antibodies in the milk, but it still offers more protection from the disease than formula.
- To defrost milk safely, place the container in a bowl of cool water, or leave it in the fridge overnight. When the milk is defrosted, the cream tends to separate so give the container/bag a good shake.
- To warm expressed breast milk, place in a container of warm water. Never use the microwave because it can destroy the nutrients in the EBM.
- Always throw away unused warmed milk that is left in the baby’s bottle. Never save it for the next feed. Also, never refreeze any portions of defrosted milk. Either use it or discard.
- The smell of defrosted EBM is slightly different from fresh milk. As long as it doesn’t smell sour it is still safe to use.
When preparing for the birth of my baby, many friends told me not to buy a breast pump until I knew for sure that I needed one.
In hindsight, I’m glad I ignored that advice because I had mine on hand as soon as I needed it.
If you plan to breastfeed, then a breast pump can be very useful. We recommend you hire one from Hire for Baby from $35 per week, available from 40+ locations around Australia.
There are several places you can buy excellent store containers for your milk.
These ones from Cherub Baby are available as a twin pack to trial for $5 with free shipping. Click here to check the details.