There will come a time when you need to give your baby an occasional bottle or you have to go back to work. When this happens and you start pumping your milk for future use there are some good strategies to follow for safely storing breastmilk which is part one of this blog.
First you should know that freezing breastmilk kills the live cells so it will lose some of it immunity that fresh or refrigerated breastmilk would provide. This may not be a concern if your baby still receives most of her milk directly through nursing. If she isn’t nursing very much you may want to try and give her more freshly pumped or refrigerated milk from a bottle rather than all previously frozen milk. So instead of giving her your oldest frozen milk split it up and give her some fresh pumped milk or some from 1 to 3 days ago, and some frozen. Refrigerated milk will keep ideally for 72 hours at a refrigerator temperature of 39 degrees F or 4 degrees C. This would be best. It will however keep as long as 8 days in the refrigerator and still be okay for your baby to drink while staying in the guidelines for safely storing breastmilk.
It is best to store it in amounts of what she will drink in any one feeding. Most babies between the ages of 1 to 4 months take two to four ounces per feeding depending on their weight. Once you figure out how much she is drinking from a bottle there will be less waste. In addition to freezing it in the desired amount she drinks I usually recommend freezing some small increments of 1 or 2 ounces so your caregiver can give her a little more if needed without wasting any of your milk. Remember thawed breastmilk should be discarded after 24 hours. There are many milk storage guideline charts available which are based on temperatures of the room, refrigerator or the freezer available to you. A good chart I like is http://www.kellymom.com/store/freehandouts/milkstorage01.pdf . When storing in the refrigerator or freezer placing the milk in the back will keep them colder.
If you are ever unsure about whether your milk has spoiled, taste or smell it. Bad milk tastes and smells spoiled. If your baby is preterm, immune compromised or has some other illness, guidelines will differ and likely be shorter.