Bottle feed breastmilk is to give your baby the best that you can, and because breastmilk is priceless, many mothers tend to be very careful when they handle and store bottle feed breastmilk.
I remember a few occasions when I spilled some breastmilk over the counter after a pumping session. I was reaching out for my storage bags so that I can bottle feed breastmilk later on, and in a hurry toppled the bottles of freshly pumped breastmilk.
I am sure that many mothers can empathise with me on this – we feel terribly guilty if we have wasted what could be used to bottle feed breastmilk!
Well, the good news is that there aren’t any special rules when it comes to handling and storing bottle feed breastmilk. Basic hygiene applies as when handling any other types of food. Perhaps for us mothers our greatest caution is NOT to spill the breastmilk!
Expressing to Bottle Feed Breastmilk
Wash your hands before expressing and handling the breastmilk!
You don’t need to purchase milk bottles to store to bottle feed breastmilk, although this will be very convenient – you simply need to warm the bottle of breastmilk, screw on the teat and bottle feed breastmilk! But it’s okay if you run out of milk bottles or milk storage bags. Any clean container is good enough as breastmilk is really stable and strong. Glass is the safest, but for a klutz like me plastics are usually a better idea. Use containers with a number 5 recycling symbol at the bottom, or the letters PP.
Always remember to put a date and name on the bag or the bottle before filling it up with breastmilk. I use stickers as I can always remove them and paste a new label. You will always want to bottle feed breastmilk which is expressed the earliest.
Storing to Bottle Feed Breastmilk
If you don’t think you’ll be using the freshly pumped breastmilk in the next few hours, refrigerate it to use best within 3-5 days. Or else pop it into the freezer!
After a while the cream tends to settle down, but don’t shake the milk. Instead swirl the bottle or bag gently to redistribute the cream to bottle feed breastmilk
It’s okay if you want to combine milk from several pumping sessions. Make sure they are of a similar temperature (eg: room temperate to room temperature, chill to chill)
Milk tends to expand on freezing so give some allowance in the container. Most bottles and bags have markings up to about 1 inch below the brim so make sure you don’t go beyond that!
If you wish to bottle feed breastmilk to your newborn baby, store your milk in small amounts such as 2 ounces (60ml).
If storing milk in bags, double-bag them or store the bags into another sealed container to avoid freezer burn. Most milk storage bags are thick enough and definitely suitable for freezing!
Thawing to Bottle Feed Breastmilk
Never microwave or boil breastmilk. If you need to use frozen milk, bring it down to the refrigerator half a day before to allow it to thaw. Otherwise you can put it under running water, or soaked in warm water.
Milk does not have to be perfectly warm. Some babies enjoy cold milk so it’s really okay. Breastmilk has loads of good stuff to protect your baby. For me it’s good enough once the milk has reached room temperature. I live in a tropical climate!
If you have some leftover thawed milk, put it back into the refrigerator for the next feeding, up to 24 hours.
So you see, handling and storing to bottle feed breastmilk doesn’t take a genius. With some common sense and personal hygiene methods, you can be sure that when you bottle feed breastmilk to your baby, you are giving him the best! Check out the best breast pump here.