Whether you're pumping for daily use when you head back to work or pumping for breast milk recipes and date night out with dad, these five tips will help you store that liquid gold safely and efficiently for your baby.
1. Freeze it Flat
Freezing the bag upright is a rookie mistake. One I've made (see photo) for fear that the milk would leak all over my freezer. However, the double zip freezer bags are spill proof and after collecting a few bags of milk I had a tupperware container full of clunky cubes and was running out of room, and quick! Freezing the bags flat means your freezer can hold a whole lot more milk. Simply stack them so the oldest milk is on top for easy access.
2. Freeze it Separately
A Breast Milk bag may safely hold up to six ounces, but your baby will typically eat in 2- to- 4 oz quantities. It's best to freeze according to your child's appetite to minimize waste. It sucks to dump unused milk down the sink when you worked so hard to make it and pump it!
Also, If you've only pumped 1- to- 2 oz in one session don't add it to a previously frozen bag of milk. Use a fresh bag. When you add warm milk to frozen milk, it will partially defrost before refreezing. This increases the risk of your milk spoiling. The same goes for adding a new bag of milk to your storage area in the freezer. Freeze it in a separate spot in the freezer first and then stack it with the rest of your stash.
3. BPA Free Containers
If using plastic containers for storing milk short-term in the fridge. Check to make sure it's safe to handle the varying temperatures required when storing and reheating. Never use a container that contains the controversial chemical bisphenol A (BPA). Look for a number 3 or number 7 inside the recycle symbol. If you see those numbers then don't use it for milk (or any food) storage. It contains BPA.
4. Stand Containers in the Back of the Fridge or Freezer
The back of the fridge and freezer maintains a more consistent temperature. The opening and shutting of the door means that the front and door compartments of the fridge and freezer have more of a flux in temperature. The more consistent the temperature the more protected your milk is from spoiling.
5. Date All Stored Milk
Make sure each stored container has the date the milk was collected clearly marked on it. Use the oldest milk first. Follow this chart from La Leche League International for safe usage guidelines.
Bonnie Jean Feldkamp is a writer and mother of three. If you liked this posting please follow her on Twitter @writerbonnie or like her on Facebook at www.facebook.com/WriterBonnie for more great info on Raising Kids.