If the newborn has a working mother, then she is most likely to use a breast pump and then go to work. After the pumping of breastmilk starts, it is important to know the different ways in which breastmilk can be stored.
Proper handling and storage of breastmilk
The hands should be washed with soap and water before handling breastmilk. The milk should be stored in a clean, capped glass or hard plastic or BPA-free container. Special containers designed for breast milk storage can also be used. However, breastmilk storage bags might tear, leak and become contaminated more easily than hard-sided containers. For extra protection, the bags should be placed in a hard plastic food storage container with a tightly sealed lid. By following safe preparation and storage techniques, nursing mothers can maintain high quality of expressed breastmilk and the health of the baby. Some of the ways are as follows:
• You should wash your hands before expressing or handling breast milk.
• If breast milk is being delivered to a child care provider, the container should be clearly labeled with the baby’s name and date.
• You should not save milk in a used bottle for the use at another feeding.
• You should clean the breast pump parts after each use.
• You should avoid using a microwave oven to heat bottles that contains breastmilk
Storage of breastmilk: Do’s
Use waterproof labels and ink, you should label each container with the date on which you expressed the breastmilk. The containers should be placed in the back of the refrigerator or freezer, where the temperature is the coolest. If you don't have access to a refrigerator or freezer, then the milk can be stored temporarily in an insulated cooler. The individual containers can be filled with the milk the baby will need for one feeding.
• If you are returning to work, you should try to get into the routine of expressing and storing your breastmilk. This will keep your milk supply up and your baby can continue to get the benefits of your milk, even when you are not with her.
• You should label and date your bottles and bags, and use up the oldest ones first.
• You should keep your breast pump clean.
• You should wash the breast pump parts in hot, soapy water, and rinse them thoroughly before sterilizing.
• You should wash your hands before expressing and handling breast milk for storage.
• You should keep everything as clean as possible as it will make it less likely for the bacteria to grow in the stored milk.
Storage of breastmilk: Don’ts
• To protect the integrity of breastmilk, it should not be stored in plastic bottle liners as those were not designed for long-term storage.
• Freshly expressed breastmilk can be added to refrigerated or frozen milk which was expressed earlier in the same day. You should not add warm breastmilk to frozen the breastmilk because it will cause the frozen milk to partially thaw.
• If you are engorged, do not express full feedings of breastmilk as you'll just be stimulating your breasts to create more milk. The body assumes that this is the amount it must produce to satisfy your baby’s breastfeeding demands.
• Breastmilk expands as it freezes, so the containers should not be filled to the brim.
• You should not be tempted to defrost or warm the breastmilk in a microwave. If you need the milk in a hurry, you should defrost it under cool, and then warm, running water or you should place it in a bowl of warm water.
• You should dry the outside of the container before you open it, and then use it straight away. You should not heat a frozen bottle in the microwave or very quickly on the stove.
• Any leftover breast milk should be thrown out after feeding the baby.
Tips to Remember: Storage of breastmilk
• Hands should be washed with soap and water.
• Sterilize the breast pump at least once a day.
• Pump the milk when you feel relaxed and your breasts are full.
• Try to use the refrigerated breast milk within 48 hours.
• Before feeding the infant, you can increase the milk as this will also neutralize any enzyme or odor.
• Pump breastmilk for at least three times when you are at work.
• Wash the bottle and breast pump with hot soapy water and rinse it thoroughly. You can also sterilize these products especially when your baby is ill or a premature one.