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Breast Milk Storage Guidelines

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Breast Milk Storage Guidelines

September 20, 2023

You’ve gone to the trouble of pumping breast milk so don’t waste that liquid gold. Learn more about breast milk storage to ensure you’re serving up safe pumped breast milk.

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Welcome, new moms and seasoned pros alike, to a topic that’s as precious as it is practical: storing pumped breast milk. If you’re a breastfeeding mom, you already know the incredible benefits of breast milk for your baby’s health and development. And if you’re navigating the world of breast pumping, you’re likely finding that your “liquid gold” can sometimes feel more like a science experiment.

Fear not! We’re here to simplify the process and help you make sure that every precious drop of your breast milk is safely stored and ready to nourish your little one whenever they need it. Whether you’re pumping to build a freezer stash, preparing for a return to work, or just looking for some handy storage tips, we’ve got you covered.

Using stored breast milk might seem like a straightforward task, but there are some guidelines that can make the process clearer. Whether you’re planning a night out, heading back to work, or just want to let someone else share in the joy of feeding your little one, we’ve got your back.

Freshly pumped milk
Room temperature: up to 4 hours
Refrigerator: up to 4 days
Freezer: 6-12 months

Thawed, previously frozen
Room temperature: up to 2 hours
Refrigerator: up to 24 hours
Freezer: never refreeze breast milk after it’s been thawed

Left over from a feeding (meaning your baby did not finish bottle)
Room temperature: use within 2 hours after baby has finished eating
Refrigerator: use within 2 hours after baby has finished eating
Freezer: do not freeze

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Ready to use that breast milk? Take note of these general guidelines to ensure that your baby’s milk is served up properly!

Thawing frozen breast milk for immediate use

Warm the milk by running warm water over the bag or bottle and use it within the next 24 hours.

Warming refrigerated breast milk

Warm the milk by running warm water over the bag or bottle until it’s at room temperature.

Note: Never thaw or heat breast milk in the microwave.


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Store, transport, and warm breast milk in these convenient, ready-to-use breast milk storage bags. They can also be used safely as freezing bags for breast…

The information contained here within is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read. If you think you may have a medical emergency, call your doctor, go to the emergency department, or call 911 immediately. Edwards Health Care Services (EHCS) does not recommend or endorse any specific tests, physicians, products, procedures, opinions, or other information that may be mentioned here within. Reliance on any information provided by EHCS, EHCS employees, contracted writers, or medical professionals presenting content for publication here within is solely at your own risk.

Sources:
• Centers for Disease Control and Prevention: Proper Storage and Preparation of Breast Milk


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Maintaining or Increasing Milk Supply While Working

June 10, 2023

Nursing is more than just providing nourishment for your baby; it is a time for bonding. Transitioning from being home to working again can be a difficult time for both you and your baby. Continuing nursing after going back to work can help with the transition of being apart during the work day.

increasing milk supply, how to get breast milk, how can I pump more milk

Returning to work will mean baby is at breast less, and you will likely have to pump to maintain your milk supply. It is recommended to express milk or pump every three hours while away from your baby. At first you may need to express/pump more frequently if you start to leak or feel uncomfortable. Full breasts and engorgement can slow milk production and are signs you may need to pump more often. Breasts are never truly empty of milk, so pumping and removing even small amounts of milk will increase production.

When you are with your baby, allow him/her to nurse on demand. The “in-between” comfort feeds can help your milk production. Once you are back to work, the first few weeks your baby will likely increase night-time feeds to make up for the lack of nursing during the day. Breastfeeding at night can help increase milk production since prolactin, the hormone that encourages milk production, is higher during night-time feedings. Breastfeeding on demand over the weekends and evening hours can help rebuild your supply, especially if you’ve noticed it decreasing when pumping during the week.

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Increasing Milk Supply

 

  • Adding one more pumping session can help with supply; a 5-minute pumping session is better than not pumping at all. If the pumping session you added is not producing milk, continue to pump at the same time each day, and within a few days you will see your supply gradually increase because pumping stimulates milk production.
  • Ideally, each pumping session should be about 15 minutes on each breast. Continue to pump for 2-5 minutes after the last drops of milk come out. (Worried about how to store and use your pumped milk? Check out this post.)
  • Try cluster pumping instead of pumping or nursing every few hours. Sit down with your pump and baby, and switch between nursing and pumping every half hour for several hours.
  • Breast compressions can help stimulate let-downs when pumping and will help to thoroughly drain all milk from the ducts. While pumping, use one hand to massage breast from the armpit towards the nipple, gradually increasing the pressure and finishing with a few firm squeezes of your breast.

Remember it will take time to increase your supply; it will not happen overnight. Maintaining proper hydration, nutrition, and rest are just as important as frequently pumping and nursing to increase your milk supply.


The information contained here within is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read. If you think you may have a medical emergency, call your doctor, go to the emergency department, or call 911 immediately. Edwards Health Care Services (EHCS) does not recommend or endorse any specific tests, physicians, products, procedures, opinions, or other information that may be mentioned here within. Reliance on any information provided by EHCS, EHCS employees, contracted writers, or medical professionals presenting content for publication here within is solely at your own risk.

Sources:
• https://www.cdc.gov/reproductivehealth/maternalinfanthealth/pregnancy-weight-gain.htm
• https://americanpregnancy.org/pregnancy-health/pregnancy-weight-gain/
• https://www.nhlbi.nih.gov/health/educational/lose_wt/BMI/bmicalc.htm


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HOW TO TELL WHEN YOUR BABY IS HUNGRY OR FULL?

From birth to 6 months old, your infant will progress through a series of signs showing that he or she is hungry. The typical progression is:

  1. Infant will begin smacking lips, clucking tongue, and opening closing his/her mouth in a sucking motion (even during sleep).
  2. Infant will root – turning head toward caregiver and opening/closing mouth in a sucking motion.
  3. Infant will begin bringing hands to mouth.
  4. Infant will clench hands into fists and increase sucking on hands.
  5. Infant will begin to show lines of stress in his or her face.
  6. Infant will begin to cry.

It is important to note that crying is often a late sign of hunger. Look for signs 1-5 to better anticipate your baby’s needs and begin feeding when he or she is still calm.

 

FULLNESS CUES: BIRTH – 6 MONTHS

As your baby becomes full, you will notice the following signs:

  1. The lines in baby’s face will begin to smooth out.
  2. Hand that were tightly fisted and up near the cheeks will begin to slowly open. Arms will relax and drop to the sides.
  3. Baby will no longer maintain a tight seal at breast or on the bottle, and milk will begin to leak at the corners of the mouth.
  4. Baby will turn away from the feeding and refuse to re-latch onto your breast or the bottle.

It is important to note that if your baby has fallen asleep but still exhibits lines on the face or fisted hands, he/she is not yet full and will wake up shortly to re-feed. Take time to burp your baby, change his/her diaper and gently arouse him/her to complete the feeding. This will result in a more successful feeding and better rested baby and mom!

 

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