Feeding your baby: Know more about storing breast milk
After a long wait, your little one is finally in your arms. You are indeed are excited and can’t stop grinning. However, the one thing you need to learn is the art of feeding your baby!
It is recommended that your baby should be exclusively breast fed for the first six months. Although the natural method is termed the best, it is also a good to learn how you could express breast milk. That way, the milk can be stored for be used later.
Expressing breast milk with breast pumps
A breast pump is a device that allows a woman to express breast milk when it is not possible to breastfeed the infant directly.
There are two kinds of breast pump – first, manual or hand-operated and the second, electric. While manual pumps are cheaper, they may not be as quick as electric ones.
Things to look for while buying a breast pump:
- Speed: A good electric breast pump allows you to pump both breasts at once, shortening the time by half.
- Usage: If you are only pumping once or twice a week, there are manual pumps designed for occasional use.
- Hospital seal of approval: Hospital-grade electric pumps are specially designed to bring in and maintain a mother’s milk supply.
- Adjustable suction: Not every woman requires the same amount of suction to express her milk. Looking for a pump with adjustable suction will ensure that you are comfortable while expressing.
- Plug: Battery-operated pumps may be cheaper, but they burn through batteries and pump slowly. Look for an electric pump that plugs into the wall.
Storing breast milk wisely
You should always refrigerate or freeze the breast milk after it has been expressed. The breast milk could be stored in a sterilized container or in special breast milk storage bags in the following manner:
- At room temperature (26 degree Celsius or lower) for 6-8 hours
- Inside a refrigerator fridge (4 degree Celsius or lower) for up to 72 hours
- In the freezer compartment of the refrigerator for two weeks
- In the freezer section of a fridge with a separate door for three months
- Deep freezed (-18 degree Celsius or lower) for 6-12 months
Storing breast milk in small quantities will help avoid its wastage. If you are freezing it, make sure you label and date it first!
The pros of pumping and storing breast milk
- Convenience: Expressing breast milk ensures your baby always gets the very best in nutritional feeding while giving you more flexibility.
- Easy monitoring: By pumping and bottle feeding, it’s easier to monitor intake. You can know exactly how much your baby is drinking at each feed.
- Difficulty latching on: If your baby is failing to latch on, expressing can help encourage your milk to “come in”. This reduces the need to rely on formula milk.
The cons of pumping and storing breastmilk
- Cleaning: It is an endless task of washing and sanitizing bottles and nipples.
- Contamination: Your milk is not going directly from your breast to your baby. There is a possibility of contamination along the path of pump parts, bottles, freezing, and thawing.
- Refrigeration mess: Refrigerating the expressed breast milk can be a time-consuming task. You need to make sure the container is sterilized. The temperature should be accurate. Excessive freezing can be harmful.