Milk Safety and Care
Breastfeeding is the best way to nourish a baby, but many mothers, especially working mothers, may not be able to breastfeed all day. Expressing milk with a breast pump allows these mothers to continue offering their babies breast milk once they go back to work.
However, care must be taken to ensure that expressed breast milk is free from contamination.
Here are some tips to help you ensure that your breast milk is always safe for your baby to drink:
Keep your breast pump clean
- After washing, rinse all parts with hot water until all soap residues are removed.
- Use hot water and a mild soap or detergent to wash all parts that are exposed to breast milk after every use.
- Air dry the freshly cleaned parts on a clean towel or a drying rack.
- Wash your hands with soap and warm water before and after handling your breast pump.
Pick the right milk containers
- Store expressed milk in a clean, capped glass or hard plastic container.
- You can also use special plastic bags designed for collecting and storing breast milk. However, they should not be used for long-term storage as they may leak, spill or become contaminated more easily than hard-sided containers.
- Leak-proof and comes with an easy-to-twist lid.
- 100% BPA-free.
Label and store milk properly
- Label all milk containers or sterilised bags clearly with the date of expression.
- If your baby is cared by a caregiver who also looks after other children, include your baby’s name clearly on the label.
- You can store breast milk in the refrigerator (2-4°C) for up to 8 days, or up to 2 weeks in the freezer compartment
Thaw breast milk properly before serving
- Always use the oldest stored milk first.
- Place the milk container in a bowl of warm water to thaw quickly.
- Do not use a microwave, as milk heated this way can scald your baby’s mouth.
- Once thawed, you can keep the breast milk up to 24 hours in the fridge.
- Discard any leftover milk.
When on the go, bottle warmers can be used to defrost and warm milk containers and milk bags.
Consider appearance and smell
- Sometimes breast milk can have different colours such as red and green. Often, this is due to traces of food from your meals that end up in your breast milk. Such breast milk is usually safe to drink. If you have doubts, consult a doctor or a lactation specialist.
- Breast milk with “soapy” appearance is usually due to the presence of fat globules in the milk. It is safe to drink. Just shake to clear the “soapy” appearance before serving.
- Breast milk that smells rancid or tastes sour may likely be contaminated or spoiled. You should discard such milk..
If you have a caregiver to help you with storing and feeding expressed breast milk to your baby, it is important that she is aware of how to do all this properly. Take time to discuss this matter thoroughly with your baby’s caregiver, and give her clear instructions if she is unsure about the proper steps she needs to take.
Sterilise to remove germs
- Place breast pump and containers in hot water 80-100°C for 5-10 minutes.
- For convenience, you can also use a 3-in-1 electric steam steriliser.
The 3-in-1 electric steam steriliser advantage
- Adjustable size
- 6-minute cycle with automatic shut-off
- Kills 99.9% of harmful germs