Expressed breastmilk may be useful if, due to illness and taking antibiotics, mom will have to give up for a while from natural feeding or she decides to go to work. However, the storage of expressed breast milk has its own iron rules and subtle nuances. Detailed instructions for mothers who decided to make a strategic reserve - in our article. Step One: Selecting Utensils
Expressed breast milk, regardless of how long it takes to use it, should be stored in a sterile container with a screw cap. For long-term stocks, experts call them a "bank" of milk, it is recommended to use special reusable containers that attach to the breast pump or sold separately. Also, storage of expressed breast milk can accommodate glass jars made from baby puree, sterile test containers purchased at the pharmacy, or any strong bags and containers designed to store food. Some even adapt ice packs that are not very durable and often tear. But, it's convenient: you can cut off a few cubes and defrost only them, without exceeding the portion.
For short-term storage (outside the freezer), the bottle is ideal: warm the milk, put on the nipple and give the baby.
When choosing plastic containers, make sure that they do not contain bisphenol. And remember that in the future - before use, - the liquid must be defrosted and / or warmed in the same container, which was stored, and only after that pour into the bottle. Imagine if the chosen dishes are suitable for such manipulations and how much space in the refrigerator will take a strategic stock. After all, the area of the freezer is not unlimited.Step Two: Sterilization
All containers with which breast milk "comes into contact" must be sterilized, and no matter how much milk there is in them: a day or months. Before the child is six months old, all the "participants" of the process must pass through the sterilization procedure: a storage container, a bottle, a nipple. This will protect the body from the crumbs of harmful bacteria and gastrointestinal diseases. Later, when the baby's immunity gets stronger, it is allowed not to sterilize, but only to wash the bottles, where the expressed milk after the warming is poured, and the nipples worn on them.
The first and easiest way to sterilize the dishes is the boiling that our mothers, grandmothers, great-grandmothers used. It is still valid today, but only for products made of glass and plastic, not deformed at high temperature, and similar nipples. In two clean pots you pour water, put jars, bottles in one, nipples (necessarily separately), boil for several minutes, take out with tongs, a spoon, a ladle, etc. After the procedure, place the items in the dryer or on a clean towel to cool before using.
Plastic containers except that they can melt and deform, sometimes give off a specific smell. For them, steam sterilization, which destroys 99.9% of harmful microorganisms, will do. You can also adapt the microwave oven: bottles and nipples are also placed in pots with water, put in the device, cover, turn on the device and leave for 5-10 minutes (duration depends on the microwave power). Special sterilizers for microwave are also sold.Step Three: Fill the tank
It is convenient to immediately express the milk in a container, where it will be stored until use. But it is possible and in another way: to express milk in one jar, and for storage - to pour into another. Ideally, express exactly as much as the baby needs in one feeding. If you do not get the right amount in one session, pour what is in the storage containers, close the lid and put it in the refrigerator (not in the freezer!). Sculpted more - add to what is already cooling. The volume can be supplemented within 24 hours. When it is typed enough, count from the last increase of 30 minutes and rearrange the container in the freezer. If you do not have enough for one baby meal, freeze, how many there are. If you expressed a lot - divide into several containers. It is important to take into account that during the freezing the milk increases in volume, therefore it is not recommended to top up the container. On the finished container, be sure to stick a label with the date of freezing.Step Four: Shelf life and temperature
These two circumstances are interrelated. Initially, the parameters were developed by the food industry to store animal milk. But it is non-sterile and moreover, it is often contaminated with wool, grass and soil from litter, manure. Women's breast milk is sterile, and besides, it itself has bactericidal properties: it contains substances that fight harmful bacteria. But with the storage of milk, this function weakens and ceases.
If in the morning or in the afternoon, milk was expressed for evening or night feeding, then it is not necessary to put it in the refrigerator. At room temperature (up to + 25 ° C), on a table or shelf, expressed breast milk can be kept for 6-8 hours, but always in a tightly closed and better chilled container, for example, wrapped in a cold towel.
In a refrigerator bag, expressed breast milk at a temperature of +4 to +15 ° C can be kept for 24 hours, and the container should be near the cold generator or ice packs, and the bag itself should not be opened. In the depth of the home refrigerator, for example, at the back wall, at a temperature of not more than + 4 ° C, it is allowed to leave breast milk for 5 days. After that, it is heated and given to the baby.Step Five: Freeze
If you intend to store expressed breast milk for longer than the stated dates, it will have to be frozen. In this case, the composition is almost unchanged. Most of the nutrients will be preserved, namely, standard food components (proteins, fats and carbohydrates), antibodies that protect crumbs from harmful microbes, biologically active components that trigger the work of digestive enzymes, lysozymes and interferons that protect the baby from infections and prevent the multiplication of pathogens the milk itself. Partially destroyed are vitamins B and C.
The length of stay of breast milk in the freezer depends on its model. If it is a freezer compartment of a single-compartment refrigerator (with a common "entrance" door), the product can be kept for 2 weeks at -15 ° C. The freezer compartment of a two-compartment refrigerator (with its own freezer door) guarantees a lower temperature down to -18 ° C and, correspondingly, a longer storage period, namely 3-6 months
A stand-alone freezer, in which the temperature is maintained to -20 ° C, is able to "protect" milk for 6-12 months.
At the same time, it should be borne in mind that studies on the shelf life of expressed breast milk are not enough. Nobody knows how long it actually can "hold out" in a frozen form. Following the standards that are published, you definitely will not harm the child. But also trust your own feelings. If, during defrosting, the product has a normal milk, not a rancid smell, and it tastes like normal milk for a taste and consistency, then it is most likely to be used.
The most "old" breast milk, which was thawed by the creators of the site "Milk Mama", was stored for 1 year and 4 months in a freezer with a separate door. He had a pronounced milk smell and taste, but it looked and behaved like a normal breast, but the kids did not dare to give it.Step Six: Defreeze and warm
Before the baby gets frozen or chilled expressed breast milk, it must, of course, be thawed and warmed. Start with the fact that get the milk from the refrigerator or freezer. Then the algorithm of actions differs.
In the first case (milk not frozen), stored it in a container, pour into a bottle, warm, put on the nipple, shake, measure the temperature, if the one that is required, feed the crumb.
In the second (milk frozen) - the procedure will take more time, because before heating it should thaw. Ideally, if the process takes place in the same refrigerator, on one of the lower shelves. It will take at least 12 hours. Defrosted can be stored in the refrigerator until 24 hours after thawing. Do not thaw too much volume at a time, for example, all feedings per day, limit to two or three first. If in a hurry, you can put a container of frozen milk under a stream of water or a bowl of water, and gradually increase its temperature. It is better not to defrost breast milk in a microwave or in a water bath. It takes less time, but the temperature of the liquid is difficult to control, the rate is easily exceeded, and then many useful substances will be destroyed. And besides for a water bath only bottles that can withstand boiling and do not contain bisphenol-A are suitable.
It is ideal to use a bottle warmer for defrosting. But it must be compatible with the container.Memo to my mother
- After thawing, breast milk can not be re-frozen and reheated.
- If the baby has not coped with a portion of defrosted and warmed milk, keep the remaining at room temperature no longer than the required time. Offer the baby to the next feeding, if not, pour out after the expiry date, that is, after 6-8 hours.
- Pasteurizing your own milk is not required. Such a measure is only applied in maternity hospitals if the mother has found viruses transmitted with milk, as well as in the only bank of donor breast milk in the country at the Scientific Center for Children's Health. In this institution, donor milk is subject to obligatory pasteurization according to Holder's method, which inactivates viruses and pathogenic bacteria, but retains the maximum of useful substances.
- The freezer can break down and will not keep the desired temperature, the milk will be unsuitable, although its shelf life has not yet expired. Therefore, when determining the suitability of chilled milk, first of all it is necessary to be guided by common sense.
- In a home refrigerator or freezer store the milk at the back wall, where the temperature is more stable. Milk, longer than the recommended time left in the refrigerator, if not sour, it is most likely safe, but many useful components in it have already been destroyed and the properties are lost.
- Expressed milk can look very thin, but it is not. Just the fats of breast milk are not at all like cow's in quality, and in appearance.
- The color of breast milk (bluish, grayish, loose) does not say anything about its qualities - fatness, nutrition and utility for the child.
- Spoiled breast milk has a very specific sour smell and taste.
- Fresh expressed breast milk is divided into milk and cream. They accumulate at the top of the container or settle on its walls. During freezing, defrosting and warming, this structure is preserved. Gently mix the preheated milk before offering it to the baby.