If it’s time to go back to work or if you need to express and store your milk for some reason, you should also learn about breast milk storage.
Since breast milk is perishable and can lose its nutritional value, you need to learn how to store and thaw it. In this article, we have answered many questions such as breast milk storage methods and the duration of deterioration of breast milk. Let’s start!
How is breast milk stored?
- You express your milk by hand or with a breast pump. To give this milk to your baby in the coming days without spoiling; You can store it in a plastic-glass container or a milk storage bag. We will describe below what features these containers should have.
- You can store expressed breast milk in the refrigerator or freezer.
- Place breast milk storage bags or containers in the middle of the refrigerator or freezer. Because in this part, the temperature is always stable, there is no fluctuation.
- To minimize waste, put as much milk in each container as your baby will consume at one meal. Store smaller quantities (25-50 grams) of milk in case of contingencies and delays in diet.
- Since breast milk expands when frozen, it is necessary not to fill the containers to the brim.
- It is very important that you know the history of milking. Using water-resistant labels and ink, it is easy to write the date and time of milking on each container.
- Is breast milk stored in a bottle? Yes, its mouth can be closed properly and it can be hidden if it has the right characteristics.
Breast milk storage conditions: How long should frozen breast milk be consumed?
How long expressed breast milk can be stored intact depends entirely on the storage method.
- Freshly expressed milk can be stored at room temperature (up to 26°C) for 3 hours. If you are not going to use it in such a short time, put it in the refrigerator or freezer.
- Expressed breast milk can be stored for 1 day in a thermos cooler with ice cubes. You can also transfer it to the refrigerator or freezer.
- If you are going to store your milk in the refrigerator, you can use it for up to 3 days at 4°C.
- It is possible to store the milk you put in the deep freezer section of the refrigerator for up to 3 months at -18°C.
- As the milk fats are broken down, the smell of thawed breast milk is different from freshly expressed milk. But still, it’s okay for your baby to drink.
How to thaw frozen breast milk?
- Experts say that the oldest milk should be thawed first. Put the container with frozen milk in the refrigerator the night before you plan to use it.
- If you need milk at that time, you can defrost it in warm water if you do not have time to wait.
- Also, do not heat the frozen milk container on the stove or in the microwave. Because these methods prevent the heat from being distributed evenly, they cause the antibodies to disappear.
- You need to use the milk that you have dissolved in warm water within 30 minutes. So how long does breast milk out of the fridge last? If you thaw it in the refrigerator, you should use the milk within 3 hours.
- If you are thawing milk in a bowl of warm water, be careful not to let the water touch the rim of the bowl.
- According to the American Academy of Pediatrics, thawing should never be done by adding fresh milk to frozen milk.
- According to Mayo Clinic experts, it’s okay to add freshly expressed milk (provided it was milked the same day) to refrigerated or frozen milk. It is only necessary to chill the freshly expressed milk in the refrigerator or ice box for at least one hour before adding it to the previously expressed milk.
- You should never add warm breast milk to frozen milk as this causes partial thawing.
- Shaking the milk is an extremely wrong move. Stir the thawed milk by making circular movements with the spoon before giving it to your baby.
- Use the thawed milk within 24 hours at most and throw away any leftovers. Don’t freeze again. It is inconvenient to reuse fully or partially defrosted milk.
How is expressed breast milk given?
After thawing the expressed breast milk, you can give it by putting it in the bottle you use for your baby. If you will be carrying milk regularly, you can use an insulated bottle bag or ice pack.
How should the selection of milk storage bags be?
- You can store expressed milk in the dishwasher or in a lidded glass or plastic container that has been washed in hot soapy water and rinsed well.
- There are many products on the market that are produced to store milk. As a milk container, plastic containers are much more convenient than glass. It’s not just because the glass is likely to break. Mothers’ disease-fighting white blood cells stick to glass containers more than plastic ones. This reduces the baby’s use of milk.
- If you want to save small portions and use them instantly, you can use a milk storage bag. But these milk bags are not recommended for long-term storage. They are more likely to spill the milk, leak, and get infected more easily than containers made of hard material.
- It is also very important that these products do not contain substances such as BPA.
Does storing breast milk reduce the benefit of milk?
Of course, the sooner the milk is consumed, the better. According to some studies, the longer milk is stored, whether in the refrigerator or freezer, the higher the rate of vitamin C depletion in it.
Some studies show that the bactericidal properties of breast milk kept in the refrigerator for more than 2 days decrease and the lipid quality of milk that has been frozen for a long time decreases.
How long does breast milk take to spoil?
On average, it deteriorates after 6 months in the freezer, 6 days in the refrigerator, and 6 months at room temperature.