There’s never too much of a good thing, especially when it comes to something as precious as breast milk. But like many other treasures, breast milk can’t be conjured up at the wave of a wand. Thus, a new mother’s bosom is considered the most valuable source of nutrition for her baby.
In the age that we live in, a typical mom balances a plethora of priorities and so breast milk freezing is becoming a practical technique adopted by more and more new mommies. In your case, perhaps you juggle a full-time job and motherhood, or maybe you want to preserve breast milk for emergencies. Whatever your reason, freezing breast milk is a brilliant option, empowering you enough to leave your baby behind in trusted care.
Here are some steps you can follow to give your baby the best nutritional value through breast milk storage.
Steps to Freezing
Step 1. Pump and Store
Once you pump your milk using a breast pump, waste no time in transferring it to a clean, sterilised bottle.
Step 2. Leave a Gap
Remember to leave a one-inch gap at the top of the bottle because milk expands when frozen.
Step 3. Use Multiple Small Bottles
If you have a large enough freezer, store your milk in multiple small bottles rather than fewer large ones. This will help you expedite the freezing and thawing process. Pick bottles that are between 2 and 4 ounces in capacity. These are ideal freezer containers.
Step 4. Label Your Bottles
Stick a small label displaying the date onto each milk bottle. The nutritional value of breast milk can stay intact for up to six months for a healthy baby, and three months for a NICU baby. Consult your doctor to determine whether frozen milk is a recommended route for your child, especially if you have experienced medical complications.
Step 5. Freeze the Bottles Immediately
Pump, store, freeze. Move through the process quickly so that you can tuck the bottles into the freezer as soon as possible to avoid contamination. Store them against the farthest wall of the freezer; this region experiences the fewest temperature fluctuations since it is so far from the door. Leave the bottles in the freezer until you want to retrieve them for thawing. Alternatively, if you’d rather store the milk for a shorter period, tuck your bottles against the back wall of your refrigerator, on the top shelf, right beneath the freezer. Refrigerated milk can last up to six days.
Steps to Thawing
Step 1. Move to the Fridge
If you’re not in a hurry to use the milk, rest your bottle in the fridge overnight. Typically, frozen milk takes 24 hours to thaw in the fridge. If you want to use the milk right away, move directly to step 2.
Step 2. Warm the Milk
Here’s a golden rule: never warm breast milk in the microwave. Artificial heat can eliminate the enzymes and immunity properties in the milk and can pose risks to your little one. Instead, run the bottle under warm water until it reaches room temperature. After warming it, use it within 24 hours and do not put it back in the freezer.
By storing breast milk, you can fulfil your baby’s nutritional goals as well as your own personal goals. The approach gives you the freedom to shift into your pre-pregnancy groove almost immediately. What better way to store nutrition? It’s the best kind of time capsule there is.
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