BreastfeedingHow to store breast milk: how long does it last and where?

How to store breast milk: how long does it last and where?

Preserving breast milk is something that worries many moms, and about which they often have many doubts. Find out how to store milk easily and safely.

As we have already commented on many occasions, without any doubt, breast milk  becomes the best food that a baby could consume and drink in its first months of life, from the first moment it is born.

And, as you surely know, there are many benefits and qualities that it provides: natural defenses thanks to its richness in immunoglobulins, it is very digestive, it is very rich in essential nutrients essential for the growth and development of the newborn…

And, indeed, it also provides interesting benefits for the mother: it improves anemia while increasing iron stores, helps in weight loss, optimizes calcium metabolism, reduces the risk of cancer and creates a very special intimate bond between mom and baby.

In fact, as the World Health Organization itself defends and recommends, breast milk should become the exclusive food of the baby until 6 months of age, as long as the mother’s possibilities allow it.

However, once the period of leave after pregnancy ends and finally after delivery and breastfeeding, the moment comes when the mother must face the return to work. It is at these times when questions related to breastfeeding arise, not only about what to do and how to do it, but how to continue with breast milk.

It is undoubtedly a difficult time for many mothers, who consider the possibility of abandoning breastfeeding and switching to the bottle with artificial milk powder.

Although it is a decision that must be made by each one consistent with their own possibilities, the truth is that there is an opportunity to continue breastfeeding despite the fact that you must be away from home. A simple option is to express your breast milk yourself and store it in several bottles, so that the person who keeps the baby continues to feed it on demand.

It is at this time that related questions also arise, such as: where should I leave breast milk, and for how long is it perfectly preserved and without problems?

Preservation of breast milk: how and for how long

Keeping breast milk in the refrigerator gives mothers the opportunity for the baby to continue to drink breast milk while she works or is absent for any other reason.

Breast milk must be expressed with the help of a breast pump and fill with it the bottles that you will need for the baby’s feedings while you are not at home to be able to breastfeed.

Keep in mind the following basic questions:

  • Breast milk at room temperature will keep for about 3 to 4 hours.
  • In the refrigerator it will keep for about 8 hours.
  • Breast milk can also be kept frozen. In these cases it is not recommended to refreeze it once it has been thawed.

You can also use homemade containers or plastic bags that we can get in the supermarket and that are suitable for this purpose. At the time of feeding the baby, we transfer the milk from these containers to the bottle, and we will heat it in the water bath.

Despite the basic recommendations indicated, different tips to take into account depending on the chosen conservation method. For example:

  • Freshly expressed breast milk in a closed container: at room temperature (25ºC or below) it will keep for 6 to 8 hours. In the refrigerator for 3 to 5 days. In the freezer for 2 weeks.
  • Breast milk previously frozen, or thawed in the refrigerator but not used or warmed: at room temperature 4 hours or less (only until the next feeding). In the refrigerator 24 hours. Refreezing is not recommended.
  • Thawed breast milk out of the refrigerator in hot water: at room temperature only until the moment you finish feeding. In the refrigerator 4 hours or until the next feeding. Refreezing is not recommended.
  • Breast milk left over from the feed: at room temperature only until the feed is finished (then discard). It is not advisable to refrigerate or freeze.

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