When you begin breastfeeding your baby, you may or may not be thinking about storing breast milk for later. If you are planning to return to work after maternity leave, you will want to begin building a freezer stash. Even if you are planning to remain at home and breastfeed on demand, there may be times when your breasts are engorged and you need relief.
Instead of wasting this extra milk, you can use a quality breast pump or hand express the milk and store it for later. While storing in the refrigerator for a few hours to days is common, most moms pump and freeze milk for future use. Use these tips for storing breast milk safely and easily in your freezer.
7 Best Tips For Storing Breast Milk In The Freezer
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Use appropriate containers. A traditional freezer bag is not okay for storing breast milk. You want to make sure you are using approved BPA-free storage bags. You can also use plastic or glass jars (mason jars are common) for freezer storage of breast milk if you prefer.
Remove all air from bags. One of the biggest reasons things get freezer burn is air in the container. Using a food storage vacuum product can help you get excess air out of jars, and many breast milk bags are adaptable to these tools as well. If not, do your best to squeeze as much air out as possible.
Label bags well. The most important part of storing breast milk is labeling the milk so you know when it was pumped and stored. Breastmilk is good in the freezer for up to three months, so it is vital to make sure you are labeling the bags with the date so you know when you need to use it so it won't go to waste. We love the handy breast milk storage guidelines at KellyMom for more information on how long to keep frozen milk.
Put bags into freezer containers. I am a huge advocate for double bagging anything I put into my freezer. It helps keep smells and flavors out of what you are storing and creates an added layer of protection. If you are storing breast milk in bags, I recommend putting those bags into larger freezer storage bags or containers. It also makes it easy to grab and pull out what you need easily.
Invest in proper storage shelves or bins. There are a ton of simple little bins, trays and shelves to put into your freezer to organize items, and this is a great tip when it comes to storing breast milk. A nice shelf or tray makes it easy to put your breast milk bags in order of date. This makes it simple to put the older bags in front to use first.
Rotate stock frequently. This is so important when you are storing breast milk in the freezer. You want to make sure you are rotating the oldest to the front and new milk goes in the back. This makes it easier for you to grab the first bag and use it knowing it is the oldest and should be used first.
Thaw safely in the refrigerator. Your baby is the greatest responsibility you have, so making sure you store and thaw extra breast milk safely is a priority. To thaw, place in your refrigerator overnight.
If you are able and choosing to breastfeed your child, storing breast milk in the freezer will most likely become a part of your regular routine. Follow these tips to make sure it is safe for your baby and easy for you to manage.
Check out our other helpful tips for breastfeeding moms:
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