Breast Milk: Pumping, Storage, and our New Breast Pump Nursing Bra!
We’re thrilled to introduce our new handsfree Breast Pump Nursing Bra! It’s got us all “pumped” about, well, pumping. In the spirit of making pumping easier with our dual-purpose Breast Pump Nursing Bra that allows you to pump hands-free AND functions as a regular nursing bra, we’re sharing some important information about pumping and breast milk storage.
Breastfeeding moms use breast pumps for a variety of reasons. Some exclusively pump and serve their babies breast milk, while others pump while they are at work and breastfeed when they are with their babies. Still other new moms pump occasionally when they need alone time to refresh or to relieve engorged breasts. Whatever the reason, pumping can be a huge help to busy moms who work hard to provide their babies the best nutrition through breast milk.
Best Practices for Using a Breast Pump
Always wash your hands before touching your breasts, your breast pump, and your bottles. Whether you use a manual or electric breast pump, it’s best to clean it after every use. Cleaning a breast pump entails disassembling the pieces and washing it with water and a gentle soap or cleansing agent. It’s common for residue to settle in the nooks and crannies of a pump so you may want to occasionally boil the parts to ensure they are extremely sterile.
If you’re pumping at work, you can wipe your breast pump with sanitizing wipes until you’re able to clean it thoroughly at home. Be sure not to set your breast pump on an unclean surface, such as a public sink counter, that may introduce germs.
After washing, let your breast pump thoroughly dry. Store your breast pump in a case where it will stay clean until your next use. Don’t forget to carefully wash your bottles as well.
Breast Milk Storage
Once you’ve pumped your breast milk, you’ll want to store it appropriately depending on how and when it will be used. While some experts have varying opinions on how long breast milk can be stored, an easy way to remember it is 5 hours at room temperature, 5 days in the refrigerator, and 5 months in the freezer. If you have a deep freezer, your breast milk may last a bit longer.
Breast milk should be stored in sanitary containers. For freezing, most moms find transferring milk into disposable breast milk storage bags or reusable pouches is the easiest method. There are also freezer safe bottles and cups. Some moms even freeze breast milk in sanitized ice cube trays, which allows you to thaw small amounts at a time.
Be sure to mark your breast milk storage container with the date it was pumped, and the amount collected. It may be helpful to store your breast milk in varying amounts. For example, if you pump 7 ounces at a time but your baby only takes 3 or 4 ounces in a feeding, split the milk into two containers before storing.
It’s best to use your oldest breast milk first. This not only ensures it does not spoil before you use it, but also offers your baby the most developmentally appropriate milk since your breast milk evolves with your baby.
The best way to thaw frozen milk is to leave it in the refrigerator the night before. If it needs further thawing, run the container under warm water or place it in a bowl of warm water. Never microwave frozen breast milk.
Clever Ways of Organizing Frozen Breast Milk
Modern moms have come up with ingenious ways of organizing their frozen breast milk stashes. Freezing bags in “sheets” or “bricks” allow you to easily stack them. You can then store the bags by week or month in a larger vessel, such as a Ziplock bag, shoe box or plastic box. You can also purchase breast milk storage bins with easy access openings to retrieve the oldest milk from the bottom and insert the newest milk at the top.
Using any of these methods, it’s important to label your organizational structure with the week or month of the pumped milk. You can do this with a color-coded system, by inserting sheets of paper into the containers, or by writing on colorful stickers. Make sure the words are visual and legible to others who may be caring for your baby.
The invention of the breast pump has advanced the breastfeeding cause by allowing mothers to spend time away from their babies and still provide the number one baby food on the planet. Now, pumping and breastfeeding is even more convenient for busy moms with our new handsfree Breast Pump Nursing Bra.