Can You Heat Expressed Breastmilk?

Breastfeeding is the best way to feed your baby, and you should breastfeed your baby as much as possible. But, if you are a working mom, or if you have to leave your baby with friends or family when you are running errands, you may not be available at home with the baby to feed on demand. However, being fully aware of the benefits of breast milk for your baby, you may want to continue providing your baby with breast milk. This is when a breast pump may come in handy. A breast pump is an effective way to maintain a good milk supply for your baby. Sometimes, when your baby is unable to latch or feed directly from the breast also a breast pump can be of help.

To just get the hang of it, you can try practising pumping breast milk a few weeks before you actually need to rely on expressed breast milk, so that your baby is well accommodated to using the bottle. One advantage about using breast pump is that you don't have to be on call for every feed and a family member or your partner or a caretaker can feed your baby milk from the bottle.

how to warm breast milk

1. How Long Can The Expressed Milk Be Stored?
2. Step-by-step Guide On Reheating Frozen Breast Milk
3. What Is The Ideal Breast Milk Temperature?
4. Few Points To Note When Using Expressed Breast Milk For Babies

How Long Can The Expressed Milk Be Stored?

The expressed breast milk can be stored in a feeding bottle made of glass or plastic, with a secure cap to keep it fresh. Most breast pumps come with storage containers. You can also use a plastic bag that is specifically meant for storing milk. Ensure that the container is three-quarters full before it goes into the refrigerator.

Once your breast milk leaves your body, there is a certain duration within which you should feed the baby with the milk.

The breast milk, if kept at room temperature, will remain fresh for six to eight hours. However, it is best to refrigerate it immediately. Fresh, refrigerated milk can be offered to your baby within five days (if stored in the main part of the refrigerator).

Another option is to freeze breast milk (storing in the freezer compartment). In such a case, it can be frozen for until two weeks. If your freezer compartment comes with a separate door, it can be stored there for three months, and in a deep freezer (-4 degrees Fahrenheit), it will remain good for six months.

While some health professionals recommend throwing any milk that remains in your baby's bottle after a feed, others suggest that it is fine to save the partially used breast milk, provided, it is refrigerated right away and used within next four hours.

Step-by-step Guide On Reheating Frozen Breast Milk

The guidelines mentioned here for thawing and warming up breast milk are for healthy, full-term infants and children. In case you have a premature baby or a baby with a compromised immune system, you should talk to your healthcare provider for more information on how to collect, store and use your breast milk.

1. You can defrost your frozen breast milk by placing it in the refrigerator (from the freezer compartment to the main part) for a few hours or place it in a bowl of warm water. However, do not use the microwave or do not place breast milk in a pot of boiling water on the stove, as breast milk may get too hot and get spoiled.

2. Once the breast milk is defrosted, you can warm it up to room temperature or body temperature. In case you choose to warm your breast milk, place it in a bowl of warm water for a few minutes. Another option is to hold it under warm running water.

3. When storing the milk, your breast milk can separate into layers. So once you defrost and warm your breast milk, just gently swirl or shake the container to mix the layers before feeding your baby.

4. It is necessary to always check the temperature of the breast milk before feeding your child. This can be done by just squirting few drops on the inside of your wrist. You should be able to feel it lukewarm or at room temperature. This means to say that the milk should not be too hot or too cold.

What Is The Ideal Breast Milk Temperature?

The point to note here is that while the breast milk is warmed, its complete nutritional value should be preserved. Therefore, overheating should be avoided at all costs. You should aim to warm breast milk to almost or a little below 98.6°F (37°C), which is actually like lukewarm water, and not hot.

Few Points To Note When Using Expressed Breast Milk For Babies

1. The method in which you wish to warm the breast milk (whether using a warm water or bottle warmer), the information should also be shared with your child's caregivers, and you should specifically explain that the milk should be 'warmed' and not 'heated'.

2. Whenever you can, allow the milk to thaw by moving a bottle of milk that you wish to feed your baby with, from the freezer compartment to the refrigerator, allowing it to defrost on its own. However, if you need to make a bottle for immediate use, and you only have a frozen bottle in the store, then the best option available is to place it in warm water and wait.

3. Wash your hands before you begin expressing. Follow the directions mentioned by the pump manufacturer for cleaning the pump and pump set. Good hygiene is mandatory when you wish to give your expressed milk to your baby. All parts of the breast pump and the containers that you use to store and collect your milk need to be cleaned and disinfected before use.

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    Read more about: breast milk
    Story first published: Tuesday, August 14, 2018, 17:45 [IST]
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