If you are breastfeeding or exclusively pumping and have to return to work, most likely you have no other choice but to pump at work and store them right after.

Expressed milk should be stored according to the recommended storage rules or guidelines.

Not being able to do so would pose high risks of milk contamination to your child.

The following article will highlight the top 7 mistakes most parents or child givers are doing when storing, freezing, or thawing the breast milk.

#1 Mistake: Pump with dirty hands.

Do you wash your hands before you touch your breast pump kits? If you don’t, then you should start with a good personal hygiene habit.

Your hands may look clean but the truth is you are transferring a lot of germs to your breast pump kits and milk storage parts.

This poses a high risk of milk contamination to your child.

Correct Method

  • Always wash hand or use hand sanitizer prior to pumping

#2 Mistake: Wash breast pump parts at sink used for other dishes cleaning.

It is important not to soak your breast pump parts in a sharing kitchen sink used to wash other dirty dishes.

U.S public health official reported a case of a preterm infant who developed severe meningitis and serious brain tissue injuries after being fed milk from a contaminated breast pump.

The doctor had confirmed that she had Cronobacter sakazakii growing in her spinal fluid.

What more devastating was, same bacteria have been found in the mother’s home kitchen sink drain and milk sample pumped using a contaminated breast pump.

Correct Method

  • Wash or soak breast pump parts in clean separate basin or bowl.
  • Sanitize your breast pump parts using boiling or sterilization method.

#3 Mistake: Microwave frozen or refrigerated breast milk.

This is a big no-no! Never try to put the frozen or refrigerated breast milk into a microwave.

Your intention to get the milk thawed or warmed in a split of second will turn to the worst nightmare because it will create several hot spots inside the milk and potentially burn your child’s mouth! Not only that, but you will also be destroying all the essential nutrients, too!

Correct Method

  • Follow this recommend breast milk storage guidelines:
Conditions Room Temperature (25°C / 77°For colder) Refrigerator (4°C / 40°F) Freezer ( -18°C/ 0°F or colder)
Freshly pumped max 4 hours max 4 days 6 months, up to 12 months is acceptable
Thawed previously max 2 hours max 24 hours never refreeze
Leftover from unfinished feeding Within 2 hours after baby finished feeding
  • Follow the following method to thaw frozen breast milk:
Method 1 Thaw overnight in refrigerator
Method 2 Put in container with lukewarm water
Method 3 Put under running tap water
  • Follow the following method to warm refrigerated breast milk.
Method 1 Use Milk Warmer with temperature 40 °C or below
Method 2 Put in container with lukewarm water
Method 3 Put under running tap water
  • Tips: Once thawed, swirl gently to mix separated fat contents inside the breast milk. Do not shake vigorously.

#4 Mistake: Store pumped milk inside non-food grade storage material.

Storing your pumped milk in a non-food grade plastic container or liner is definitely not a correct way of doing it.

These non-food grade storage material especially with recycle symbol no 7, indicate that they could be made of BPA material, which is totally harmful to you and your child.

Correct Method

  • Only use non-BPA food-grade breast milk storage bottle or plastic zipper bag.
  • Tips: If you are using a plastic zipper bag, make sure to pick the one with a double zipper lock feature to avoid spillage.

#5 Mistake: Place pumped milk near to the refrigerator’s front door.

The temperature near to your refrigerator’s door changes rapidly every time you open and close it.

So, if you’re placing your pumped breast milk near to the fridge’s door, it will be exposed to temperature change and might shorten your breastmilk’s lifespan.

Correct Method

  • Always place pumped breast milk at the back of your refrigerator or freezer. Tips: Do not place close to other food to prevent bad odours and contamination.

#6 Mistake: Fully fill up milk storage bottle or milk storage bag.

Breast milk will expand a little bit as it freezes. If you use a lower quality breastmilk storage bottle or plastic bag, it will prone to damage as it expands rapidly.

Correct Method

  • Ensure to leave at least an inch of a gap in between, whenever you store your milk inside any breastmilk storage bottle of plastic bag.

#7 Mistake: Store milk more than the amount needed per feeding.

Some of us may not aware that storing a big capacity of pumped milk, such as 7oz per bottle would be wasteful if your baby does not finish it.

Correct Method

  • Depending on your child’s age, it is advisable to store in a smaller amount such as 2 to 4 ounces per bottle or best if according to your child’s usual feeding amount.

Last Words

Every nursing mothers who pump their milk should have the optimum awareness of ensuring the safety and quality of their pumped milk. No innocent child should be the victim of breast milk contamination caused by the negligence of their parents or caregivers.

Hopefully, after reading this article, you will have some peace of minds on how to effectively pump, store, and thaw your milk without compromising the safety and quality of your milk.

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