How to extract and preserve breast milk

There are various reasons that can lead a mother to require Take your own milk to give to your baby through the bottle. This decision, whether taken by first-time mothers or already experienced, usually generates many doubts: from when can be done to how to do it. Therefore, here we respond to the main concerns about.

When can you express breast milk?

You have to choose well the time to express breast milk. As explained in KidsHealth, some experts believe that if you start to express milk to give it to the baby using a bottle too early, that is, before the child has become accustomed to breastfeeding, it is possible that the baby suffers a kind of "confusion" that leads him to "decide that the bottle is a faster and better option than the mother's breast".

This does not happen to all newborns and, in fact, other specialists opt for other recommendations: estart to express milk from the beginning with the objective of "stimulating and increasing its production". "The extracted milk can be given to the baby using a bottle or a device to aid breastfeeding in which milk circulates through a tube that attaches to the nipple," they comment in this specialized portal.

As the reincorporation to work is the main reason that leads mothers to take out the milk, experts recommend starting with this practice about two weeks before returning to work routine, as it is not always easy to get the body to respond to the breast pump and, in this way, you will have more time to practice. "You may have to resort to patience and need a little practice to produce milk without the help of your baby," they say from KidsHealth.

The milk extractors

Breast pumps usually draw less milk than the baby can get. By this mode, and in order to optimize the extraction, the experts of the Spanish Association of Pediatrics recommend using breast pumps "in which the suction force is of progressive increase"They also specify that it is important to make sure that the size of the bell is adequate.

As advice in case of difficulty, you can also try to perform massage on the chest before starting the extraction: "with two fingers you make circular movements all over the chest, then you do a massage towards the nipple and finally you shake the breast a little before the extraction", exemplify from this association, which also recommend as a method of help to use hot cloths on the chest before extraction.

Second hand breast pumps

Sometimes, use second-hand objects It is a good way to save. However, in the case of breast pumps experts are sharp: It is not advisable to use used milk extractors.

The reason is that inside it could have been retained viruses and bacteria from the former owner. "These Germs can be difficult to eliminate even cleaning and sterilizing the device repeatedly and conscientiously, which could be dangerous for the health of your baby ", warn KidsHealth that, however, they explain that there are breast pumps for hospital use that are designed to be used by multiple users, but in which each of the women will use their own set of accessories.

Storage of extracted milk

Breast milk has antibacterial properties that allow storage for extended periods of time but, as recalled from the Spanish Association of Pediatrics, it must be in certain conditions.

Milk at room temperature:

-15ºC: 24 hours.

-19-22 ºC: 10 hours.

-25 ºC: 4 to 6 hours.

-30-38ªC: 4 hours

Breast milk in the fridge: between 0 and 4 ºC: 8 days. The more stable the temperature, the better the milk will be conserved, so milk should not be put in the fridge door.

Frozen breast milk:

-In a freezer inside the same refrigerator: 2 weeks.

-In a freezer that is part of the refrigerator but with separate doors (combi type): 3-4 months (because the temperature varies when the door opens with some frequency).

-In a separate freezer, commercial type, with a constant temperature of -19ºC: 6 months or more.

However, experts warn that although the protective substances in breast milk prevent bacterial growth, "the more bacteria disappear, the more defenses are spent on milk, because, ideally cool the extracted milk quickly (in a container with cold water) and then freeze it as soon as possible"In this line, they explain that if the extraction is done at home and the milk is not going to be used that same day, it is best to freeze it."If the extraction is done outside the home, it should be kept in a portable cooler with frigolines and frozen as soon as it gets home," they say.

Containers to preserve breast milk

We already know how long breast milk can last, but where to store it? "Breast milk extracted must always be stored in containers intended for food use", explain the pediatricians, who add that the best containers for freezing are glass," since plastic can contain substances with adverse health effects. "They also comment that in the case of using plastic bags is necessary that they are stored well closed, inside a rigid container, inside the refrigerator, "to avoid punctures that would suppose losses or contamination".

These containers, before their use, they should be cleaned well with hot water and soap, taking care of their clarification and leaving them to dry in the air. "You can also use the dishwasher, but you do not need to sterilize them," they comment.

How to defrost and heat the extracted milk

To defrost milk, pediatricians advise submerge the container in another with hot water instead of heating it directly. "It is preferable not to use the microwave because the heating is irregular and can cause burns," they say, while pointing out that, once heated, it should be shaken before testing the temperature.

"The defrosted milk can be stored in the refrigerator 24 hours but it should not be frozen again ", remember the pediatricians, who assure that it is preferable to thaw small quantities, that is, those that are going to be used immediately, because this way we will avoid losses of nutrients and defense factors. to store the milk that the baby has already tasted.

Smell of milk in the extracted milk

Some mothers may notice that their milk has a stale smell when thawed. According to pediatricians, this is due to the action of a substance found in milk called lipase. "Rapid cooling and subsequent freezing prevents rancidity on many occasions", comment about it. If in spite of doing this the milk keeps the smell of milk, the pediatricians recommend blanching the milk, that is, "heat until they begin to form bubbles or a light foam on the edges of the container" and then let cool and freeze.

To conclude, these experts say that once you have a stale smell you can not do anything to eliminate it, but that This does not mean that the milk is bad or that it is harmful to the baby. Now, another thing is to reject it: most babies do it for its taste.

Angela R. Bonachera

Video: How to Store and Defrost Breastmilk! Helpful TIPS!

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