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Blog posts of '2016' 'May'

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How to store and collect Breast Milk for New Moms! - 0 Comments

Storage and Collection of Breast Milk for Working Moms!

Collecting your own breastmilk is the best way to feed when you are away from your baby. It’s perfectly natural and inexpensive (compared to formulas.) Your baby will receive all the natural nutrients and antibodies your milk produces to keep him or her healthy. We’ve provided you with some guidelines and information to help you get started. Be sure to call your Nursing Mothers counselor if you have questions or if you’d like more information.


Collecting your Breastmilk:


Hand Expression

  • Removing your milk with your hand
  • Most cost effective way to collect milk
  • No special equipment needed
  • May require practice
  • May take longer than a pump to collect milk



  • A plastic shell device that collects milk from one breast as you nurse or pump the other
  • Milk can be collected and stored for later use
  • Keeps bra and shirt dry during let down


Breast pump

  • A device used to remove your milk from your breasts
  • Different types and styles available to suit your pumping needs
  • Electric, manual, pedal and battery are some of your choices
  • Ask your NMI counselor for more information on which pump would suit your needs
  • A good quality breast pump effectively removes milk and protects delicate breast tissue.



When to Collect Your Breastmilk

    • When you would normally nurse
    • Pump one breast while you nurse on the other breast
    • Pump both sides after a feeding
    • Try morning when your milk supply is most plentiful
    • Before bed if you are feeling full



Sterilizing your equipment

    • Some common methods of sterilizing are automatic dishwasher, boiling water or diluted bleach solution.
    • Ask your health care provider which method they prefer.



Collecting your Breastmilk

    • Use a clean container such as a jar, breastmilk bottle or sterilized plastic bag
    • Sterilize all equipment as necessary
    • Uncover your breasts (so you don’t touch your clothing with clean hands)
    • Wash both hands thoroughly with soap and hot water (especially between fingers and under fingernails)
    • Rinse well
    • Dry hands with clean cloth or paper towel
    • When you start to express or pump, relax to achieve milk let down.
    • Remember to release the suction of the pump before removing from your breast.



Helpful Let down Hints:


When your breasts are stimulated by your baby or a breast pump, a process called "let down" happens. This helps your body make more milk for baby. Try several of these to make it easier for you:


  • Relaxing
  • Deep breathing exercises
  • Picture of baby
  • Smell of baby’s clothing or blanket
  • Finding a peaceful spot
  • Massaging breasts in gentle circular motion from wall of chest toward the nipple
  • Feather light strokes from breast to nipple
  • Leaning forward and to let gravity help you
  • Relaxing music
  • Warm compress around shoulder and neck
  • Dim lights
  • Finding a routine
  • Tape of baby crying
  • Call daycare provider to ask about baby’s day or to hear your baby
  • Don’t watch the bottles (picture a milk fountain)
  • Set an timer so you do not have to watch the clock


It may take some practice to have let down. Don’t worry; if you become frustrated, stop and try again later.



Storage of Breastmilk

    • Use sterilized containers
    • Refrigerate or freeze immediately to get the greatest benefit from the breastmilk
    • Store milk toward the rear and lowest part of refrigerator or freezer where it is coolest
    • Keep the milk away from the walls of refrigerator or freezer so it does not warm then cool in self-defrosting freezers
    • Leave space at the top of the container so the milk can expand when frozen
    • Mark date collected on each container
    • If freezing milk use containers made for the freezer. Many disposable bottle liners are not designed for freezing purposes and may not effectively protect your milk from spoiling
    • Cool milk before adding it to previously frozen milk



Defrosting Breastmilk

    • Place milk in the refrigerator the night before or several hours before you need it


  • Place milk under warm (not hot) running water or a pan of warm water (High temperatures can destroy the immunological properties of breastmilk)
  • Never microwave breastmilk -- it can cause hot spots that can scald your baby’s mouth as well as damage the protective qualities of the breastmilk
  • If the fat in the milk has separated, gently swirl the container until it is mixed. (Separation is normal – it does not mean that the milk has spoiled)
  • Never refreeze thawed breastmilk -- more research needs to be done, so err on the side of caution
  • Throw away an breastmilk baby doesn’t finish -- there is not enough scientific evidence at this time to safely make other recommendations


Breastmilk Storage Guidelines: 



Freshly Expressed




Room temperature

6 - 10 hours

Use within 2 hours


5 - 8 days

24 hours

Home freezer

up to 6 months

Never refreeze

Freezer –20 ° F

up to 12 months

Never refreeze