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Expressing breast milk is an option so that children's nutritional intake is still fulfilled, especially for breastfeeding mothers who work or are active outside the home. That's why it's important to know how to properly store expressed breast milk
There are various options for storing expressed breast milk, such as in glass bottles, plastic bottles with a label free of hazardous materials, or special plastic packaging for breast milk.
You should avoid storing expressed breast milk in bottles or plastic packaging that is usually used for general purposes. This is because where the breast milk is stored also affects the quality of the stored milk.
Keep Packaging Clean
Maintaining personal hygiene and equipment that will be used in expressing breast milk is very important to maintain the he alth of the Little One. Here are some things to note:
1. Sterilization of breast milk containers
In order to maintain the quality of stored breast milk, it is important to sterilize the expressed breast milk container first. Clean the bottle of breast milk, then sterilize it by boiling the bottle and the part of the breast pump that comes into contact with the skin in boiling hot water for 5 minutes.
In addition to manual boiling, you can also use an electric sterilizer. But before that, don't forget to check the safety and durability of the packaging. Be careful when sterilizing bottles made of glass because this material has a higher risk of breaking.
Meanwhile, special breast milk plastic bags do not require sterilization, as long as they are properly stored and only used when needed.
2. Wash hands
The thing that is no less important to prevent the development of bacteria from expressed breast milk is to maintain hand hygiene when expressing or when storing breast milk in packaging. Use soap to wash hands before blushing.
We recommend that you do not fill bottles or plastic packaging completely. The reason is that expressed breast milk tends to expand in a frozen state.
Especially for the plastic bag for expressing expressed breast milk, place it again in a container or other container before putting it in the refrigerator. This is because plastic packaging is more at risk of leakage.
Finally, don't forget to put a label that includes the date the milk was expressed on the bottle or plastic packaging.
Storage of expressed breast milk should be adjusted to its use. Breast milk that is going to be used as soon as possible, is better put in the part of the refrigerator that won't freeze.
Expressed breast milk can be stored from a few hours to several months, depending on the temperature at which it is placed. Here are the principles of breast milk storage that you must know:
- Expressed breast milk lasts up to 4 hours if placed at room temperature around 25°C
- Expressed breast milk lasts up to 24 hours when stored in a cooler with an ice pack.
- Dairy milk lasts up to 4 days, when placed in the refrigerator section of the refrigerator (chiller) with a minimum temperature of 4°C
- Dairy milk lasts up to 6 months when stored in the freezer at -18°C or lower
Only, keep in mind that the process of freezing expressed breast milk may remove some substances that are important to ward off infection in babies. The longer the storage of expressed breast milk, either refrigerated or frozen, will eliminate the vitamin C content in breast milk.
However, the nutritional value of frozen breast milk is still much better than formula milk.
Tips for Defrosting Expressed Breast Milk
Frozen expressed breast milk may experience changes in color, smell, and consistency compared to fresh breast milk. Therefore, it is natural for mothers to find breast milk settling after being stored in the refrigerator.
This condition is normal and you just need to gently shake the bottle of breast milk to mix it again.
Some babies refuse frozen expressed breast milk. If so, you can try to shorten the storage period of breast milk or warm the milk before giving it to your little one.
To thaw expressed breast milk, immerse the storage container for expressed breast milk in a bowl of warm water. Wait a few moments. Remember, do not warm expressed breast milk on the stove or in the microwave.
Frozen expressed breast milk should not be immediately removed at room temperature. Several studies have revealed that rapid changes in temperature can affect the antibody content in breast milk that is beneficial for babies.
Frozen expressed breast milk from the freezer can be lowered first in the refrigerator overnight, then warmed as above. It is important to know, Mothers, do not refreeze expressed breast milk that has been thawed.
The following are other things to consider when thawing expressed breast milk:
- If expressed breast milk is needed immediately, place the container of expressed breast milk under running water. Continue soaking it in a bowl of warm water.
- To check whether the temperature of breast milk is suitable for your little one, put a drop on the wrist. If the temperature is right, breast milk can be directly given to the little one.
- Use breast milk within 24 hours of completely thawing. After the breast milk has been brought to room temperature or warmed, it should be used within 2 hours.
ASI is the best nutritional intake for babies. Proper storage of expressed breast milk can help breastfeeding mothers who work or engage in activities outside the home to meet the baby's needs.
If your little one has difficulty breastfeeding or you are still confused about the management of expressed breast milk, consult a lactation doctor.