As you plan to return to work after your maternity leave, you have to look for ways to continue feeding your baby with breast milk as often as possible. Pumping breast milk and storing it is a recommended way to help your baby continue with breast feeding once you return to work.
You can pump breast milk when you are at work and store it appropriately so that you baby will have your milk once you get back home. However, storing breast milk correctly is critical. This article discusses the right techniques of storing breast milk.
Before you start pumping milk, ensure your hands are clean and dry. Pump breast milk using an electric or manual pump. Each session of pumping will take about 10-15 minutes and while at work try to pump milk for 15 minutes every few hours.
Once you finish pumping, pour the breast milk from the pump storage container into a clean BPA-free plastic container or plastic freezer bags specially designed for storing food products.
Never touch the insides of the containers in which you are storing the breast milk. Store the milk in small quantities of 2-4 ounces as this will make it easier to feed your baby and will also prevent wastage.
Remember to tightly close the lid of the container and label each container with the date when the milk was pumped. Refrigerate the milk as soon as possible once you finish pumping.
You can also opt to freeze breast milk if you are not going to use it any time soon. Breast milk can be well-preserved in the refrigerator for 3-4 days. If you desire to store it for any longer, use the freezer.
Breast milk can be stored in the freezer for about 3 months. However, do remember the temperature of the freezer must be set to really low.
To thaw breast milk to be used from the refrigerator’s freezer, place the container of the milk in lukewarm water and gently give it a swirl once in a while.
You could also remove the breast milk from the freezer and place it in the refrigerator a day prior to when it is to be used. Do not use a microwave to thaw frozen breast milk as it could lead to degeneration of proteins in the milk, making it unsuitable for baby’s consumption.