Breastfeeding sessions are crazy. New moms feel overwhelmed along the process because of all the things needed to be prepared and kept in mind. But when you get used to it, you’ll get through the hardships it brings.
It’s much easier to express breast milk into storage bags ahead. You don’t have to be anxious in preparing milk all the time. There are available methods shared online.
You might need to purchase breast milk bags to comply with the procedures. However, having too many might leave you wondering if they expire over time.
We will explain if breast milk bags really expire, how long you can keep them, and how to properly store them. Additionally, we will share a few good tips for thawing milk and expressing breast milk.
To attain maximum durability, look at these tips for properly storing breast milk storage bags.
Unused Bags – Be sure that your storage bags are not contaminated. It’s a waste buying all the packs but they aren’t properly stored and taken care of. Follow these steps:
1. Open the main packaging of breast milk storage bags.
2. Choose any airtight container where you can place them for a long time so they won’t get contaminated by bacteria.
3. Only get the storage bags needed and keep the rest sealed inside the container.
Used Bags – It takes special care when using storage bags to keep the breast milk fresh. Follow these steps:
1. Use the storage bags immediately since they are pre-sterilized.
2. Have a cooler or mini-fridge inside your room where you can keep the milk storage bags or baby bottles. It keeps you from going back and forth in the kitchen whenever your child needs the milk.
3. Do not place breast milk storage bags right at the freezer door. When you keep on opening the door, its temperature decreases. It will change the temperature of your milk and might damage its quality.
4. Breast milk storage bags must be labeled each time you place milk in them. You may decide whether to organize them by date or by volume. It’s easier to get the right bag each time you’ll need it.
5. Place the storage bags upside or side by side to save space.
6. Proper placement promotes safer storage. There will be no tearing or breaking of storage bags inside the freezer once everything is organized. When placed in the refrigerator, they can last up to 4 days. The milk can be used for up to 6 months when it’s placed in the freezer according to research.
7. Pour into bottles when it’s time for feeding.
Here are safety tips before expressing and after expressing milk.
Before expressing: Think safe first. Preparing for your baby especially when it comes to milk, you should always bear in mind safety tips.
1. Always sanitize your hands before expressing milk. Gently wash your hands using soap and clean water. You may also use alcohol-based hand sanitizer. Make sure it contains 60% alcohol.
2. Mothers express milk by hand or by using an electric pump.
3. If you’re using a pump, always check the pump kit and tubing. Make sure they are clean. Throw away moldy tubing once noticed.
4. If you use a shared pump, clean it before using it. Clean the pump dials, power switch, and countertop using any disinfectant wipe.
After expressing: Even after expressing, you must understand the proper disposal of unnecessary things.
1. You can choose whether to use breast milk storage bags directly, food-grade containers, or a milk bottle. The first one is the easier one. If you choose any food-grade container, make sure they’re made of glass or plastic with tight lids.
Moreover, do not use bottles with a recyclable symbol number 7. They might be made of BPA-containing plastic. It’s hazardous to your baby.
2. There are milk storage containers intended for breast milk only. Do not use other disposable bottles that have other uses. It might not be safe for your milk.
3. You can store freshly expressed or pumped milk at room temperature for up to 4 hours. The room temperature is around 77°F or must be colder.
They can stay in the freezer for up to 4 days but up to 6 months when placed in the freezer. 12 months is acceptable. Although frozen foods are almost indefinitely safe, it’s best to follow recommended storage times to get the right quality.
Since some of them are already mentioned above, here are the highlights on how to properly store your expressed milk.
Label the breast milk storage bags. There are spaces provided by suppliers wherein you can write the name, date expressed, and volume contained.
It’s discouraged to be placed at the freezer door. It’s worse to place it at the refrigerator door. Protect your milk from the changing temperature at the door brought by constant opening and closing.
If you’re not going to use fresh breast milk within 4 days, be sure to freeze it immediately. Thus, this protects the quality of fresh breast milk.
Store small amounts of breast milk to avoid wastage. Your baby’s capacity is smaller when they’re just days up to weeks older. Store by 2 to 4 ounces or depending on the doctor’s suggested amount. Leave an inch of space for your container because it will expand as it freezes.
If you have a child care provider and you have to deliver the milk, clearly write the name of your child. You may talk with them about the other requirements in storing breast milk.
You may use an insulated cooler to store your breast milk. Surround it with ice packs for 24 hours. This is perfect for travel. When you arrive at your destination, be sure to use it right away to avoid spoilage. Perhaps there is a freezer or chiller for you to store the breast milk you brought.
Remember the First In, First Out rule in food storage. Place the stored breast milk with the oldest in front. In this case, it’s easier to grab them and thaw them. The quality of milk decreases over time according to some research.
Thaw the breast milk overnight in the refrigerator. Grab a container of lukewarm water and thaw it. You may also use running lukewarm water.
Do not thaw it in a microwave. It destroys the nutrients once there are hot spots. Furthermore, it can burn the baby’s mouth.
Use the breast milk within 24 hours once thawed. Start the counting where you thawed it completely. Use the breast milk immediately within 2 hours once it’s brought to room temperature. Never refreeze a thawed breast milk.
Babies have different preferences. Breast milk doesn’t need to be warmed. It can be served at room temperature or cold.
If you’re a fan of warm breast milk, be sure to keep the breast milk bag sealed. Then, place it in a container of warm water. Test on your wrist a few drops if the temperature can be taken in by your baby.
Try to stir the breast milk to mix the separated fat. Once there is milk leftover, you may keep it but for only 2 hours. Once it reached more than 2 hours, you can put away the leftover milk.
Protect your breast milk process from any contamination. Sanitize the baby bottles, pump equipment, and other feeding items.
Experts say that unused storage bags must be kept dry. They shouldn’t be exposed to any kind of moisture. You can store them using airtight containers to keep them cool and dry.
The bottom line is breast milk storage bags don’t expire. They must be carefully stored along with your other milk gadgets and tools.
They are made of BPA-free plastic materials. Their use is intended for storing sterile products like milk. It’s like any other plastic materials that we have that don’t expire except that this one is for baby’s milk which is delicate.
This is good news. Nuliie has used PE+PP in its storage bags. They don’t expire like any other breast milk storage bags there are.
There is no problem as long as you keep them unopened inside proper storage. They last longer and you can indefinitely choose when to use them.
They’re safe to use because they are pre-sterilized. There’s no need for you to wash it ahead of pouring breast milk into it.
These bags should only be used once. Never wash them for reuse. It’s ethical to dispose of them once you’re done using them.
Proper storage of breast milk is essential to the journey of feeding your baby. You rely on the cleanliness, organization, and efficiency of every process. Always make sure that every baby feeding tool or gadget is sanitized and away from any bacteria contamination.
The tips given will definitely help you along the way. Study them one step at a time. There’s no need to rush and spend on costly gadgets. Just be sure to know the basics and apply them daily.