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Breast Milk Handling

Jun 24, 2008 - 0 comments

In the interest of saving time and being able to answer thoroughly, I am pasting my responses to pumping questions and breast milk questions into journal entries. If I fail to answer someone, please feel free to copy and paste this (or any of the other journal entries) into a thread. Thanks!

Someone asked how long milk is good for at room temp and in fridge.

I had my daughter in July. I found that during the summer, when it was warm in the house, my milk was good at room temp up to 5 hours. During the winter, when the house was cooler, it was good at room temp for up to 8 hours. But during the winter, overnight when the room temp was very cool, my milk was good for at least 10-12 hrs left out. This was a wonderful discovery when I was able to drop pumps. I would pump before bed, and have the bottle ready and waiting for whenever the baby woke during the night- no need to warm or pump.

every person's milk is different. Your best bet is to use the sniff test. Bad milk smells BAD, and your baby will not drink it. If your baby is willing to drink it, it is most likely good. After a while, you will become comfortable with how long your milk is good.

same goes for in the fridge- depends on the person. i personally never let it sit in the fridge more than 3 days. if i started to get too much in the fridge, then i would start freezing. if you are freezing, it's always a good idea to freeze milk that hasn't been in the fridge for too many days.

when deciding which milk to give, always try to give fresh first, then fridge milk, then frozen. Fresh (as in, at room temp- never been in the fridge) is the best. But even frozen milk is much more beneficial than formula, so don't feel bad giving that as well.

Here's what I would do-
After pumping I would measure out bottles. I left one or two out on the counter to use before it spoiled, and put the rest in the fridge. Technically, most guides say that once a baby drinks from a bottle, you cannot reuse it. My LC said that if the baby drinks fresh milk and doesn't finish it, you can put it in the fridge and use it for the next feed as long as you change the nipple before you put it in the fridge. This always worked for me. The milk only spoiled once, and that was when DH forgot to change the nipple before putting it in the fridge (bacteria from saliva stay on nipple). Again, always use the sniff test to make sure it's ok. Some people taste the milk before serving, but i never could. You cannot do this with milk that has already been refridgerated. The longer milk is in the fridge, and with each warming, some of the milk's antibiotic characteristics are lost.

If you have any more questions, need any more hints, let me know!

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