When you return to work after having your baby, or if you simply prefer to pump your breast milk and feed your baby from a bottle, it’s important to learn how to pump and store the milk. By knowing how to care for the milk, you can ensure that your baby receives the best benefits from the breast milk and that the process is as simple as possible for you. The goal of this article is to help you explore the best ways to pump and store your breast milk.
Purchase necessary supplies. Purchase a breast pump if you don’t already have one. With the electric breast pumps, it is often easier to pump, and with the double pumps, you can pump both breasts in the time it would normally take you to pump only one. Medela is the most popular brand of breast pumps. You will also need plastic containers in which to store your breast milk. You should be able to write on the containers so you can add the date the breast milk was pumped. Learn more at Babycenter.com. See “Additional Resources” for link.
Pump as often as needed. You should pump as often as your baby normally feeds. In most cases, this is approximately every few hours. A great way to increase your milk supply is to pump as soon as your baby has finished breastfeeding. This will increase the demand for breast milk and your body will naturally make more milk. This is good, because the amount your baby wants will vary from time to time, especially during a growth spurt.
Pump as long as needed. Pumping the breast milk should take about as long as your baby normally feeds. For most mothers, this is about 15 minutes on each breast. As your baby grows, this time may increase, so you will want to pump more. If you’re still trying to increase your milk output, pump until you’re unable to obtain anymore breast milk from the breast and then pump the other breast the same way.
Properly store the breast milk. You will want to place the breast milk in plastic or glass containers with lids in order to store it. If your baby will be using the milk the same day you pump it, you can simply place it in the refrigerator. However, if your baby will not be using it for some time, you can freeze it. Do not leave your breast milk out at room temperature for more than an hour or two at a time or the milk could go sour. The milk can stay in the refrigerator for about three to eight days and in the freezer for about three months.
Thaw and use stored breast milk. To thaw your breast milk, simply place it in the refrigerator the day before your baby will use it. You can also place it out on the counter in order to help it thaw faster. Try running lukewarm water over the container of breast milk. Never heat the breast milk in the microwave, as it can kill the nutritious minerals and vitamins. It can also scald your baby’s mouth and injure him.