How to express and how to store breast milk

pump and store breast milk
pump and store breast milk

After the baby is born the mother’s always want to breastfeed their babies. This is the best thing for the babies. The mother’s milk contain a lot of nutrients that help in developing the baby’s immune system. Even the doctors and the society also encourages a mother to breastfeed their babies. But, sometimes the mother may not be able to constantly breastfeed her baby. In this case the mother should use the breast pump to pump the milk for her baby. This will help in maintaining the milk flow of the mother. So, here today we are discussing how to express and how to store breast milk.

Why the mother cannot breastfeed?

There are various reasons for this. Here are the list of reasons

  • The child is sleeping at the time
  • The mother has to return back to work after maternity leave
  • Due to some reason the child is put on formula feed first. The child may reject breastfeeding then.

In all of these cases the mother will need to pump breast milk at the child’s feeding time.

How to pump breast milk?

Before expressing the breast milk make sure that  you wash your hands properly with soap and water.  If soap is not available you can also use alcohol free hand sanitizer. Make sure that the bottles and the pump accessories are properly sterilized. The area where you pump should be clean enough.  In order to establish the milk flow think about your baby in a relaxed environment. There are various different ways to pump milk they are as follows

  • Expressing through hand expression
  • Expression through manual pump
  • Expression through electric pump

Hand expression

Massage and compress your breast with hand to remove milk. This requires a lot of practice. It becomes more easy with practice.

Manual pumping

In this you have to operate a  manual breast pump with your hand and wrist. This also requires a lot of practice and becomes easier with practice.

Electric breast pump

These are electrically operated breast pumps. They are battery operated or need to be plugged into a charging socket. It can pump one or two breasts at the same time. The equipment needs to be cleaned between the uses.

The electric breast pumps are also available on rent from your health care provider. The health insurance plans can also cover the cost of breast pump.

How to store breast milk

The breast milk should be stored in glass or hard plastic BPA free bottles. You can also use disposable milk storage bags. After pumping label the bottle or milk storage container with date and time of pumping and name of the child. Gently swirl the bottle to mix the cream and bottom part of the milk. You refrigerate or freeze this milk or put it with a cooler.

Tips for freezing milk

Leave the containers of the bottle loose till the milk is completely frozen. Do not pump the milk till the top of the bottle. Leave about an inch or so from the top. The milk will expand while freezing. Store the milk at the back of the freezer.

Tips for thawing milk

Use the milk bottle or bag that is expressed first. Thaw the milk by putting it under warm flowing water. Do not microwave the milk bag or bottle. Test the temperature of the milk by putting it on your wrist. The temperature should be comfortable enough.

Guide to the temperature of storage and use of breast milk

At room temperature the milk is good to be used for 3 to 4 hours. It can be used for 6 hours if stored in a cool place.

The milk when refrigerated is best to be used for 3 days and is ok to be used for 5 days if the milk is expressed in a very clean container.

When the milk is freezed it is best to be used for 3 to 6 months and ok to be used for 9 months if it is expressed in a very clean manner.

When the milk is deep freezed it is best to be used for 6 to 9 months and is ok to be used for 12 months if expressed in a very clean manner.

Himali Parikh
Himali is Parenting Blogger and founder of She had done M.S in Molecular biology from University of New Haven (US) and was working with various Pharma companies. She had started this motherhood and baby care blog for helping other mothers.

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