If you are looking forwards to breastfeeding your newborn child, this is the right article for you. In this article, you will learn about breast milk pump and storage.
It is simple to understand the different type of breast milk pump and ways for proper storage of breast milk. It is essential for the moms-to-be to read this before you head on to purchase them.
Breast milk is no doubt , the best food for your baby as it provides the right balanced nutrients for your baby’s growth and strengthen his/her immunity. It is not an easy journey for breastfeeding moms. It requires mommies full strength, energy, full attention, sacrifices and changes in your lifestyles just to make breastfeeding a successful one.
Introduction of breastfeeding
Breastfeeding is most of the mommies’ dream because it is the best gift to our little ones since birth. It is the known fact that breast milk has all the nutrients our baby need to thrive and it is the most economic way of providing the best food to our newborn.
If you are looking forwards to breastfeeding your child, get yourself ready for at least 2 years or more (if you have more than one child), both mentally and physically, for this commitment:
- you need to be always available for your baby
- you need support from family members. Pressure from the family who do not support breastfeeding will end up feeding the baby with formula as they might claim that you are not producing enough for baby.
- you might have to breastfeed in public if you feed your baby on demand
- you have to bring sets of breast pumps everywhere you go even when you are at work
- risk of getting block duct, breast engorgement and other medical issues related to the mother if delay feeding/pumping.
- problem with baby latching on properly
- nipple pain
- physical exhaustion such as lack of sleep, tiredness, body ache, loose of concentration
If you are not comfortable to the idea of direct breastfeeding due to the reason that you will not be always with your baby at all time, pumping out of breast milk from your breast is the best solution. Therefore, a good breast pump is all you need to get the job done.
If using a breast pump you need to learn how to use it and it could be the hardest things you face in the early stage of motherhood.
The breast milk pump is designed to cater for various need. Before you decide which breast milk pump to choose from, ask yourself a few questions below:
- How often you need to pump? one month, 6 months, 1-2 years or more.
- Will you be away from your child at work everyday?
- Do you need to travel for work and spend few days away from your baby?
- What is the price range that you can afford?
- You want more yield and shorter pumping time?
- You want just to collect the let down while baby latching on the other side?
Maybe it is also hard for the new moms to answer them immediately before the child birth. I suggest you only purchase it after your baby is born and you will see the need of a breast milk pump that suit you.
Purchase breast milk pump only after child birth. You will only see the need of breast pump after baby is born to avoid under utilization.
There are basically 4 ways of extracting the breast milk from your breast.
NO.1 Direct latching from the nursing baby
This is the most nature way of breastfeeding. Most efficient way of expressing milk from the breast is from the nursing child. If you have problem with baby latching on the breast properly, or you have to be away from your child in intensive care (for example), hand expression or breast milk pump are the only way you can use to extract out the breast milk.
NO.2 Hand expression
This is also called hand-on pumping technique. This method requires you to learn the technique to activate the milk production. It needs some practice and you will learn and master it once you have managed the technique well.
You may access to this link to learn how to hand express milk efficiently.
NO.3 Manual pump
Usually manual pump is small in size, comes with a flange at one end and a handle on the other end. The flange is placed on your breast and the handle at the other end is for you to squeeze to get the milk to flow out. The act of squeezing the handle repeatedly is to mimic the baby suction.
If you are a stay home moms and most of the time you are direct breastfeeding your baby, hand expression or a manual hand pump will be sufficient to release milk from the engorged breast or to stimulate the milk flow.
NO.4 Electric pump
An electric pump is usually bigger and heavier in size than a manual hand pump and it has more parts to be put together before it can be used.
It is usually battery operated, or has to be plugged into a power supply to get it operated. Electric pump is powerful and you just let it do the pumping job by pressing a few buttons once it is connected to your breast.
It is usually more expensive than a manual one but it does safe you from the pumping time. It can be in a single or double electric pump. Some comes with massage mode which mimic a nursing child to stimulate the milk flow.
For those mothers who are always on-the-go and having tight working schedule, it is best to invest an electric pump to have the ability to pump both breast at once and reducing your pumping time by half.
I have written an article before about breastfeeding pumps. To read further, click here to access it.
Breast milk storage
Now, it is about storing your breast milk after pumping. Your baby may not consume immediately the breast milk that you have just pumped. Therefore, you need to store it immediately to avoid contamination for your child to drink it later.
Here are the few things you need to know:
- What kind of container you will use to store your breast milk to avoid contamination?
- How long can you leave it in room temperature before you let your child consumes it?
- How to freeze your breast milk for your future baby consumption?
- How to thaw the milk?
- How long you can keep your breast milk in the freezer and refrigerator?
- How to store your breast milk efficiently and make used of the current space that you have?
- How do you label it?
Breast milk can be stored in glass container, hard plastic bottle/container with lid, and plastic storage bag designed for breast milk.
For glass containers or hard plastic bottles with lid, they need to be sterilized or at least rinsed with hot water before you store the breast milk. Always store the enough amount of breast milk for each feeding to avoid wastage. I am sure you do not wish to reuse the amount leftover from the previous feed to feed your baby again.
Try using the plastic bag for breast milk as it is more compacted and will safe a lot of spacing issues in your refrigerator and freezer.
Once you have done expressing milk into the container, cover it and label the date and time you expressed. Make sure you do not overfill it, as breast milk will expand when keep in the refrigerator.
How long can you keep breast milk?
Freshly expressed breast milk can last for 6-8 hours in room temperature about 25 degree Celsius. If you keep the expressed milk container in a insulated cooler bag with ice pack, you can keep it up to 24 hours.
Expressed milk can last for 5 days if stored in a refrigerator and up to 12 months if they are kept in deep freezer.
It is best to give your baby freshly expressed milk as some studies have shown that Vitamin C is lost if breast milk is stored longer. It is important to understand that breast milk composition will be different in every stage after birth. The longer you store the breast milk, it may not be able to meet your child’s nutrient need after a couple of months later.
How to proper thaw breast milk from freezer?
If using frozen milk, use the oldest one to thaw first and you may put it in the refrigerator a night before. When it is feeding time, you may thaw the milk by simply placing the container in a warm water and gently swirling around. Do not shake it vigorously as it will create air bubbles.
It is not recommended to warm the breast milk in a microwave or on the stove as it will affect the breast milk’s antibodies.
Thawed milk can only last for about 24 hours, discard it if it exceeds more than 24 hours.
Breast milk is the super food for our babies. Every single thing you have done to produce enough breast milk for your child is a wonderful job. For all the nursing mother out there, you are such an amazing mother for your child.
Do share about your breastfeeding experience with us in the comment box below. We shall learn from each other’s experience to ensure our breastfeeding journey will be a successful one.