Breast milk storage bags are one of the most popular ways to store mother’s milk. They’re cheap, lightweight, convenient and time-saving too. There’s no need to sterilize before using and no need to wash after.
Of course, in order to maximize the benefits these bags can give you, you need to choose well and use them properly. Here are some tips:
1. Go for quality breast milk storage bags. BPA-free breast milk bags may be pricier than others, but knowing that they don’t contain bisphenol A (BPA) more than makes up for the added cost. Research shows that this substance can affect babiesbehavior, their brains and hormones as well.
Another great thing about these bags is that I can write down the date and time when I store my milk. This way, I don’t get confused which bag to get when my baby needs milk. Not to mention, the storage bags don’t take up too much space in my freezer.
2. Cleanliness is key. The bags themselves are clean and sterile, but what about the milk that you are going to put in it? That’s why you have to make sure that your hands and nipples are very clean. Likewise, sterilise everything you use for collecting your breast milk (breast pump parts that come into contact with your breasts and milk, collecting bottles, etc). This is especially important when you have a very young baby because his immune system is not yet fully developed. Thus, he might get sick from microorganisms that may be present in tap water, breast pump or bottles. I use microwave steam bags when I’m in a hurry or when we need to travel. It steams everything I need in just 3 minutes!
3. Do not let expressed milk stay too long at room temperature. Remember that your breast milk is still a body fluid, so it can decompose under room temperature, no matter how sterile your bottles or bags are. Freeze expressed milk as soon as possible.
4. Freeze in the farthest area of your freezer. According to hsahealth.org, freezing breast milk requires 0°C. If you have a single-door refrigerator and freezer, you’ll have to store breast milk storage bags in the farthest area so that there will be no risk of thawing each time the door is opened or closed.
Some mummies ask me if they can store breast milk for longer periods of time (a month or more). The answer is yes. High quality breast milk storage containers are strong enough to ward off other liquids that may contaminate the milk. You can even store breast milk up to six months. But as a safety precaution, experts recommend that you store the bags in tight-fitting containers.
5. Just thaw what you need. It is important that you thaw only the milk that you need for one feeding. Don’t thaw it at room temperature. Submerge the bag in a half-full bowl of water. Don’t microwave it, because doing so can destroy some of breast milk’s nutritional properties.
These are just some tips for choosing and using breast milk storage bags. What containers do you use? Kindly share your experiences with us in the comments box below. Thanks!