How to Store Breast Milk After Pumping – Tips for Pumping and Storage

Working mums usually find it hard to keep up with their regular work schedule and still spare some time for breastfeeding and bonding with the baby. It is normal for both first-time mums and those who have had several children before. Some women have even been forced to resign their work duties to focus on the newborn. 

There is always a feeling of guilt about putting your job first before your baby, but you shouldn’t perceive it this way. Thanks to the various technologies we have nowadays, it became possible to store breast milk. Therefore, in this article, I will give you an insight into how to hack being a working mom by breast pumping and keeping the milk for your baby.

Breast Pumping and How It Benefits New Moms

Just like other skills, this one is worth learning. Although it may be hard at first, you will quickly get the hang of it. The breast pumping process is easy when using a special device, unlike using your hand to express milk. 

Pumping should take you ten to fifteen minutes on average. However, to pump correctly using an electric pump, you should first learn the instructions that come with the tool. Then, clean your hands before using it and ensure you put your nipples at the center of the flanges that go on the breast. Lean forward towards the breast pump and start it up at a slow speed so that it can suction gradually. 

Most women assume that suctioning at a higher speed will produce more milk faster. It is not far from the truth, but taking it slow is best while maintaining the pace for seven minutes. It is normal not to pass milk at first, but five minutes into the process, and you should be able to express milk effortlessly. 

Stop the electric pump for one minute and massage your breast from the armpit to the nipple to avoid soreness. It will also help your breast to cool down and reset. Proceed to pump for seven minutes again. Then you can go ahead and put the milk in containers or special breast milk storage bags and seal them tightly. 

Why should a new mom breast pump? Well, there are various benefits of doing it. First, it helps to relieve engorgement. Engorgement may occur if you don’t nurse the baby often enough or if the baby doesn’t suck milk well. Second, it helps to boost milk supply. If you pump and keep milk, it becomes possible to feed the baby when you are away, for instance, at work. 

Third, if you want to breastfeed your kid but can’t nurse because of various reasons, pumping ensures that you still give the child breast milk. Fourth, it helps you to take a break from nursing your baby. When you have pumped the milk, your caregiver or partner can assist in feeding the child while you relax or do other activities.

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General Rules on How to Store Breast Milk

little baby bottle with milk

It does not matter whether you want to keep the milk for a month or hours, but it is essential to store it safely. Here is a comprehensive guide to help you keep breast milk well in a refrigerator, cooler, or freezer:

  • At room temperature

This temperature is not the best for storage. Therefore, you should transfer the milk to a refrigerator immediately after pumping.

  • In an insulated cooler

You can put it here but not for more than twenty-four hours. Also, you can add some ice cubes or ice bags in the cooler to keep the milk cold.

  • In a refrigeration

If you choose to keep it in the fridge, ensure the temperatures range from four to thirty-nine degrees, and you can store the milk in the refrigerator for five days maximum.

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Breast Milk Storage – How to Keep Frozen Milk

Most times, moms may want to store their breast milk in a freezer for a while for various reasons, for instance, transportation. Here are my tips on how to go about frozen milk:

  • At room temperature

It is never okay to store frozen milk at room temperature. It is because it will eventually defrost and then, it will be hard to determine or monitor the temperatures.

  • In a cooler

In case you store frozen milk in a cooler, and it starts to defrost, be sure to use it as soon as possible or store it back in the freezer. It won’t last for long.

  • In a refrigerator

As I have already mentioned, breast milk can only be kept there for twenty-four hours. After it defrosts, please do not take it back to the freezer but use it before another these twenty-four hours elapse.

  • In a freezer

It is okay to keep milk here for long. It can take six months under the temperatures of up to -18 degrees. However, different types of freezers influence the duration that the milk can stay frozen. For instance, in a chest-deep freezer, it can stay for up to one year under temperatures ranging from -4 up to -20 degrees.

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How to Store Defrosted Breast Milk That Hasn’t Been Warmed

Milk that has not been warmed should be kept for a certain amount of time. Make sure to consider the following requirements:

  • At room temperature

After the milk defrosted, it can remain at room temperature for four hours. Don’t leave it for longer.

  • In a cooler

Milk that has been thawed and not warmed can last in the cooler for twenty-four hours. However, you have to ensure that it is kept chilled and at the correct temperature.

  • In a refrigerator

Under thirty-nine degrees, this milk can last for twenty-four hours, as well. Always ensure you monitor the temperatures to maintain the appropriate temperature

  • In a freezer

Do not freeze milk that you have defrosted again. Even if it has not been used, do not take it back to the freezer.

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How to Store DefrostedMilk That Was Warmed

If you have defrosted milk and put in warm water, you should not leave it at room temperature. Use it as soon as you have warmed it.

Additionally, do not put the milk back in the cooler or freezer. However, you can keep it in a fridge for a few hours. Moreover, never store leftover breast milk if the baby has failed to finish it.

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Closing Remarks

I was pleased to enlighten you on how to store your breast milk and take care of feeding your baby. Make sure to follow the tips mentioned above, and you will have a happy child, even when you will be out running errands. 

It is normal to worry about nursing for every working mom who can’t spend much time with the baby. However, it is possible to ensure that your child doesn’t lack the nutrients of breast milk, thanks to the stored portions. 

Have you ever tried breast pumping and storing milk? What of the methods mentioned here have you used? Let me know your tips in the comments below!

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