As grownups, we take for-granted our ability to realize when something isn’t right.
Like when you reach into the fridge to pour the milk on your breakfast cereal only to realize that it doesn’t look or perhaps taste quite right. You pitch it and move on about your day without thinking twice that you just saved yourself from a day (or more!) of serious discomfort borne from spoiled milk. Unfortunately for your baby – they can’t do this for themselves which means that, as mamas, we have to make sure the breastmilk we’re providing is safe.
Safety in your breastmilk begins with how its stored
and like most things breastfeeding, it can get out of hand quickly. Sometimes it even seems that expert resources differ on their recommendation about storing breastmilk. These differences can be explained by the differences that we have within our environments. Varying definitions of “room temp” and degree of “frozen” (Deep freeze? Upright freeze? Etc…) are just a couple of factors that lead to fluctuations in suggestion. Lastly – there’s also a difference between what’s the “ideal” way to store your milk and what’s an “okay” way to store your milk. “Ideal” would represent a storage method that yields the highest possible nutritional outcome where “okay” would still be safe for baby but some of the nutritional value of the milk may have been compromised.
To keep things simple, we've made this chart to help:
Breastfeeding Storage and Handling Tips:
- Wash your hands prior to handling breastmilk.
- Don't shake breastmilk as this can break down some of the nutrients it contains.
- Store in 1 - 4oz servings to avoid leftover waste after feeding.
- Use only food-grade, non-BPA storage containers for storing milk.
- Leave room in your storage containers when freezing since the breastmilk will expand during this process.
- Label your storage containers properly by marking the date of expression. Check with your childcare providers about their requirements for labeling.
- Never heat milk in a microwave or on the oven. This can create hot spots which could burn baby's mouth and deteriorate the nutritional value of the milk.