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By Planning Family

Storing Expressed Milk

Expressed milk needs to be stored if there are no plans to use it immediately. Every mom stores expressed milk differently. Storing expressed milk can be an uncomplicated process but how you store them is essential.

Breast milk can be stored both on long term basis and short term basis, depending on the storage space you have and the milk quantity.

Human milk can be stored at room temperature for several hours, refrigerated for up to 8 days or frozen in the freezer compartment for up to 6-12 months.

Notes on Storing expressed milk

• If you are planning to freeze milk, do so within 24 hours of pumping.

• Pumped milk can be stored for future use in glass or plastic containers with screw caps or tight caps or even in the special nursing bags, or even feeding bottles. Do not use ordinary storage bags or formula bottle bags as these can tear and leak. Preferably, do not store breast milk in ice-cube trays.

• The container has to be clean, sealable and storage space in your refrigerator or freezer should be available.

• Liquids tend to expand in the freezer so don't totally fill up the containers.

• To prevent contamination do not add fresh milk to already frozen milk.

• Do not store milk in the door of the refrigerator because this area is warmer and more exposed. When storing in the freezer it is a good idea to store on the shelf rather than the door of the unit, as well. In both instances it is better to store them at the back of the unit where the temperature is the lowest.

• Frozen milk is good for one month in a freezer attached to a refrigerator or for up to 6-12 months in a self-contained freezer.

• Label the milk with date and time it was expressed and be sure to use the oldest milk first. Place the newest milk at the bottom of the stack.

• Preferably use frozen milk within 3 months since the fats in human milk has a tendency to break down with storage.

• Defrosted or thawed milk can be stored for up to 24 hours in the refrigerator.

• To avoid wastage, freeze milk in single serving portions of 2-4 oz per container or bag. Thaw an extra bag if required. When your baby gets used to larger feeds you can safely freeze in larger quantities. (Keep in mind that larger quantities take longer to thaw).

Notes on using Stored Milk

• Frozen milk should be thawed in the refrigerator and used within 24 hours. Milk that has been refrigerated for more than 72 hours should be discarded.

• Avoid defrosting in the microwave to prevent scalding your baby or damaging the milk. Uneven heating can create hot spots which even shaking may not fix.

• The heat treatment from a microwave oven can also cause the loss of vitamins and antibodies.

• Warming the packet or bottle in a container of hot water or under running warm water or using a warmer is any day more practical and safer than using a microwave.

The key to storing is milk can always go colder but once you have warmed the milk, you cannot chill it or heat it again. You will have to discard the unused portion.

• Always check the temperature on the inside of your wrist before serving your baby.

• It is important to remember that unused milk left in the bottle has to be discarded after an hour and not be stored in the fridge or be used as another meal. Once a baby has drunk from the bottle, the milk in it must be used within an hour or disposed.

The Extras

• Breast milk separates into milk and fat with the fat floating at the top, especially when it has been sitting but it doesn't mean the milk has gone off. A gentle shake or swirl will do.

• Be sure to swirl the bottle to mix it all up once the milk is thawed. Thawed milk can smell a little 'soapy' but it doesn't mean its sour or gone bad. Defrosting can cause this.

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Disclaimer: Information contained on this Web site is intended solely to make available general summarized information to the public. It should not be substituted for medical advice. It is your responsibility to consult with your pediatrician and/or health care provider before acting on any advice on this web site. While OEM endeavors to provide up-to-date and accurate information, it is not liable for any advice whatsoever rendered nor is it liable for the completeness or timeliness of any information on this site.
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