It is important to know how to safely and properly store harvested breast milk. Let us look at some dos and don’ts:
What type of a container should I use to store harvested breast milk? You can use a glass or plastic bottle with a cap, washed in dishwasher or with soap and hot water and rinsed well, to store harvested breast milk. If you are unsure about the quality of the washing water, you may boil the bottle after washing.
If you are harvesting breast milk to use within three days, you may also use plastic bags specifically designed for storing milk. However, using plastic bags for long-term storage is not recommended, as they may leak and are more susceptible to bacterial contamination compared to containers made of hard materials. Also, long-term storage in a plastic bag may cause some of the materials in the milk to cling on the bag, depriving your infant from valuable nutrients.
How Best to Store Harvested Breast Milk? You may store harvested breast milk in a refrigerated or deep freezer. Be sure to affix the container with a water resistant label and ink and note the date and time of harvesting. Place the containers in the back most part of the refrigerator or freezer where it is the coldest. Use the oldest stored milk first.
To minimize waste, the amount of milk stored in each container must not be more than how much your infant consumes at a time. Also, for contingencies and delays in feeding, store some milk in smaller quantities (25-50 grams). Remember that breast milk expands when frozen, and avoid filling up the container to the brim.
Can I Add Freshly Harvested Milk to Previously Stored Milk? You may add freshly harvested milk to refrigerated or frozen milk, as long as it has been harvested the same day. Before adding freshly harvested milk to previously harvested milk, be sure to cool it in the refrigerator or cooling box for at least one hour. Do not add warm breast milk to frozen milk, as it may cause it to thaw. Store milk harvested on different days in separate containers.