Babies require the nutrients and antibodies abundant in breast milk, but incorrect milk storage can damage these vital components. You need to know to keep your liquid gold liquid as follows.
There are some guidelines to follow when preserving breast milk for your baby or yourself. For instance, you should keep it at ambient temperature or in a freezer. If you’d like, you may also freeze it in smaller portions.
How to Store Breast Milk Safely?
Stock up on screw caps, hard plastic cups with tight tops, or nursing bags if you intend to keep breast milk in the refrigerator or freezer (pre-sterilized bags meant for breast milk). Ensure the bottles or bags are secured firmly and securely to avoid leakage or deterioration. “It’s a good idea to have several breast milk storage containers that hold less than the standard five ounces that are allowed. There’s no need to defrost more than two ounces of formula when your kid just needs that “Dr. Hightower said.
Breast milk does not need to be chilled before being combined with milk that has already been chilled, according to the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP). “Evidence suggests mothers can mix warm milk and cold, or even consider pooling milk from 24 hours together, which may help even out variability in nutrients due to pumping time or breast emptying (which influences fat content of the milk),” the AAP states.
How to Freeze Breast Milk?
Immediately after pumping, pour the milk into clean, food-grade containers with tight-fitting lids made of glass, plastic, or breast milk storage bags; because milk expands when frozen, leave an inch at the top of the container.
To help it freeze and thaw more quickly, store breast milk in smaller quantities (2 to 4 ounces per bottle or bag).
The date that breast milk was collected should be written on every storage container. If you send breast milk to a childcare provider, clearly label the container with the child’s name. Talk to your daycare provider about additional instructions for labeling and storing breast milk if you bring it to them.
Right away, put the bottles or bags in the freezer. Keep the milk in the coldest part of the freezer—not the door—and don’t take it out until you’re ready to thaw it and feed it to your baby.
Use the milk that is the oldest first, or throw it away if it won’t be used safely in the future. Don’t feel awful about throwing away the oldest milk in your freezer if you already have plenty and can still pump and store more.
When traveling, breast milk can be kept for up to 24 hours in an insulated cooler bag with ice packs. When you reach your destination, milk should be consumed immediately and refrigerated.
How to Properly Thaw Breast Milk?
First and first, defrost the oldest breast milk. Keeping first in, first out in mind, The quality of breast milk can deteriorate over time.
Your breast milk can be defrosted in a variety of ways:
- Overnight in the refrigerator.
- Place in a bowl of hot or warm water.
- Warm flowing water is used.
Never use a microwave to defrost or warm breast milk. Microwaves can destroy breast milk’s nutrition; hot patches can form and burn a baby’s lips.
Use breast milk that has been refrigerated to defrost within 24 hours. Please keep track of the 24 hours after the breast milk had thawed completely, not when you first took it out of the freezer.
Use breast milk within two hours of bringing it to room temperature or warming it.
After it has thawed, breast milk should never be refrozen.
What are the Signs that Breast Milk has Become Contaminated?
Each mother’s breast milk has a unique flavor and aroma. Therefore, you may avoid spoilt milk for your kid by being aware of the frequent indicators of milk deterioration.
Here are various methods for determining whether milk is fit for ingestion.
Breast milk usually separates into a milk layer and a cream layer after being stored. The bottom layer is the milk layer, while the upper layer, mostly fat, is termed the cream layer.
A brief swirl dissolves the layers when the milk is still safe to drink. However, if your breast milk still has distinct layers after a few swirls or looks lumpy, the milk has probably gone bad.
The smell of breast milk might differ between moms and even between feeding sessions. Several variables impact these alterations, including the mother’s diet and drugs. In addition, moms who produce breast milk with a high lipase content frequently notice an off-odor or soapy scent. It isn’t easy to assess spoilage in such a situation. However, a quick test might be beneficial.
Freeze a little portion of your breast milk for a week in preparation for the test. Thaw the milk after a week and smell it.
Your milk could smell soapy, metallic, or fishy if it has a high lipase level. The milk, however, is safe for the baby to consume. By scalding breast milk, lipase activity can be turned off.
Breast milk may develop an odd odor due to oxidation from a diet high in PUFA or rancid fats and water containing free copper and iron ions. The milk has undergone chemical oxidation if it smells sour or rotten. Such milk should be discarded.
Breast milk has probably gone bad if it tastes rancid or sour. The milk can be kept for a week, and the same test can be done to determine if the taste has changed. Breast milk that tastes soapy, metallic, or fishy most likely has high lipase activity. A rotten or sour flavor, on the other hand, denotes chemical oxidation.
Breast milk that has been kept longer than is advised may be poor. Milk that has been freshly expressed or pumped and refrigerated for more than four days or previously frozen and thawed milk that has been kept for longer than a day is likely to spoil.
What Happens if a Baby Drinks Contaminated Breast Milk?
Sometimes you might not even be aware that your breast milk in storage has spoiled. Such circumstances could lead to the unintentional feeding of tainted milk. The following symptoms could appear in a newborn who consumes tainted breast milk.
Refusal to feed: According to experts, a baby that refuses to eat repeatedly may not enjoy the flavor of the milk. Check the flavor of your milk for spoiling if your infant consistently refuses to eat breast milk that has been stored or is acting overly fussy when being fed. A nursing strike can have several other causes when a breastfed infant refuses to eat.
Vomiting or spitting up frequently: Babies’ digestive systems are delicate. They are prone to digestive issues, including diarrhea and vomiting, if they drink tainted breast milk. Some infants may also experience increased gas and pass strange-colored feces.
Fever: Although rare, some babies may experience low to high fever due to consuming tainted milk. It typically occurs when germs have contaminated milk due to inappropriate milk handling and storage. When this occurs, babies experience additional symptoms like vomiting, diarrhea, and a fever that appears a few hours after consuming the stored milk.
Life-threatening illnesses, such as Cronobacter Sakazakii infection, accurately occur when neonates are fed contaminated milk. Meningitis and sepsis are two serious health problems that this illness can bring on. Because of this, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) strongly advise adhering to the correct instructions for handling and storing human milk.
Other signs of spoilt milk consumption include dehydration, which can cause excessive tiredness and lethargy, black urine, and fewer wet diapers than usual. Consult a pediatrician for advice if you think your baby may be experiencing health problems and related symptoms from consuming breast milk.
What are the Health Benefits of Providing Breast Milk to Babies?
Breast milk is the ideal baby meal created by nature. It includes immune-stimulating antibodies and beneficial enzymes that haven’t been replicated by science. Here are a few benefits of human milk for infants.
Provide colostrum to your newborn during the first several days. While the composition of the formula cannot be altered, breast milk can adapt to accommodate your baby’s shifting needs. Colostrum, the “premilk” that appears after delivery, is brimming with antibodies to safeguard your newborn child.
Even a small amount helps stave off your baby’s hunger, according to Heather Kelly, an international board-certified lactation consultant in New York City and a member of the Bravado Breastfeeding Information Council’s advisory board. It’s also richer in protein and lowers in sugar than “whole” milk.
Gives the digestive system of your infant a rest. When your whole milk begins to appear (about three to four days after delivery), it is again just what your baby needs and is higher in volume and sugar than colostrum. Kelly continues, “He needs a lot of energy and regular feedings to fuel his rapid growth. “He’ll frequently feed because your mature milk is made to be swiftly absorbed.”
The longer you can delay switching to formula, the better, as the proteins in cow’s milk and soy milk formula are more difficult for an infant’s body to digest than those in breast milk.
Provides eczema and allergy protection. Breast- or chest-feeding may be especially beneficial if your family has a history of allergies or eczema. Formulas made from cow’s milk and soy milk include proteins that can trigger allergic reactions, whereas the proteins in human milk are easier to digest. Less likely than formula to cause diarrhea, constipation, and stomach distress. This is also because your baby’s body can easily digest breast milk.
Reduces the danger of SIDS. Sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS) cases are lower in breastfed newborns than in formula-fed infants, while the link between the two is uncertain.
Wards against illnesses like type 1 and type 2 diabetes. Breastfed babies have a lower chance of type 1 diabetes and becoming overweight or obese later in life, which is a risk factor for type 2 diabetes, according to the American Diabetes Association.
A modest improvement in performance on cognitive development tests is linked to breastfeeding. For at least three months, nursing exclusively is linked to a decreased incidence and severity of diarrhea, otitis media, and respiratory infections. In babies at risk for allergic disease, exclusive breastfeeding for at least six months is linked to a decreased incidence of the condition (infants with at least one first-degree relative presenting with allergy). In addition, breastfeeding is linked to decreased rates of adult hypertension and hypercholesterolemia and lower rates of childhood and adolescent obesity. Contrary to HIV infection and galactosemia, maternal hepatitis B and C virus infection does not preclude breastfeeding.
Keeping a stash of breast milk in your freezer is an easy way to keep your baby safe, but there are some things you need to know to do it safely. First, you’ll want to store it in a container designed for freezing. You can use a plastic sandwich bag or a food-grade container. You should also consider the type of freezer you have.
Whether breastfeeding or bottle feeding, you must know how to store breast milk at room temperature. This will help ensure your baby gets the nutrition and protection it needs. It is also beneficial for your health.