Pumping/Collection/Handling Breast Milk
- Wash hands thoroughly with soap and warm water before handling milk collection equipment.
- Assemble milk collection equipment and attach to breast pump. Plan to double pump (both breasts at once).
- Place the breast shield over the breast so that the nipple is
centered in the shield cup. Hold the breast shield with your hands to
secure the seal to your breast. If you have questions about a proper
breast shield fit, call the Lactation Consultants at (319) 369-8944.
- With suction set on low and cycling setting on high, start the
pump. Gradually increase the suction as comfort allows and decrease
cycling setting to or down halfway as your milk begins to flow.
- Express milk for 15 minutes or until milk droplets have ceased flowing for two minutes.
- Once breast milk is obtained, pour milk into sterile specimen
container. Be careful not to touch the inside of the container.
- Use a separate container for each pumping time. Do not add warm milk to refrigerated or frozen milk.
- Label your breast milk containers with your name, date and the time you pumped.
- Wash milk collection equipment thoroughly with soap and hot
water. Rinse and shake off excess water droplets. Place on a clean
paper towel to dry.
- Place breast milk in a refrigerator as soon as possible. Bring your breast milk to the NICU each time you visit baby.
Storing breast milk
It is normal for pumped milk to vary in color and consistency
depending on your diet. Stored milk will separate into layers and the
cream will rise to the top. Gently swirl (don't shake) the bottle to mix
the milk layers.
Avoid adding freshly pumped milk to already cooled milk. You can add
small amounts of cooled breast milk to the same refrigerated container
throughout the day.
Pumped milk may be added to frozen milk provided it is first chilled and the quantity is less than what is frozen.
Store your milk in breast milk collection bottles or in storage bags specifically designed for breast milk.
Freeze milk in two to four ounce portions. Small amounts thaw more
quickly. You will waste less milk this way. Be sure to leave some extra
room at the top of the container so the bottle or bag will not overflow
when freezing or thawing.
Seal containers tightly. Write the date on a piece of tape and place on the bag or bottle. Use the oldest milk first.
Rarely, some mothers notice their defrosted breast milk has a soapy
taste or odor. This is due to lipase, an enzyme, which helps to digest
the fat content of the breast milk. If this occurs, scale the breast
milk (do not bring to a boil) on a stove until tiny bubbles appear along
the sides of the pan; do this before freezing. The scalding process
will neutralize the enzyme, preventing the soapy taste or smell.
If you do no plan to use the milk within a few days, freeze it right away in the coldest section of your freezer.
Freshly expressed breast milk storage guidelines
| Room Temperature
||Cooler with three frozen ice packs
Thawed Breast Milk
| 4-6 hours at 66-78 ºF
|24 hours at 59 ºF
|3-8 days at 39 ºF or lower
|6-12 months 0-4 ºF
(-18 - -20 ºC)
|use within 24 hours
Thaw milk overnight in the refrigerator, or hold the bottle under
warm running water until thawed. You can also place the sealed container
in a bowl of warm water for 20 minutes to bring it to body temperature.
Do not let the water reach the level of the container cap.
Thawed milk is safe in the refrigerator for up to 24 hours.
Never microwave breast milk. Microwaving can cause sever burns to
baby's mouth from hot spots that develop in the milk during
microwaving. Microwaving can also change the composition of breast