How to preserve expressed breast milk


Due to our busy lifestyle, it is very common for newly born mothers to have to go to work or leave their baby in the care of people. It was always thought that for this reason children could not consume breast milk; however, it has been shown that thanks to the extraction and correct conservation this is possible.

How to preserve expressed breast milk

Although it seems a bit complicated, with practice everything will be easier and simpler. That's why at we tell you everything you need to know to learn how to preserve expressed breast milk.

How to express breast milk correctly

Many years ago, the extraction of milk was a more complicated process, but with the invention of electric or battery breast pumps all this procedure has been facilitated for the mother and the quality of the milk.

Although breast pumps have solved most of the work, it never hurts to know how to express milk manually for emergencies where you do not find yourself with the device at hand. If you want to know how to do it, here are the steps to do it properly:

  1. Wash your hands and the container you will use to store the milk very well.
  2. Perform a small and gentle massage on the breast to stimulate the flow of milk. If you do not succeed, you can put on a cloth moistened in warm water or think about your baby.
  3. Take your breast between your hands forming a C with them about 5 centimeters away from the nipple.
  4. Leaning forward, it begins to push very gently towards your chest and successively returning to the nipple but without touching it. Try to get the thumb to join the forefinger and repeat the movement.
  5. The milk will begin to drip and, as it comes out, change the position of your fingers to stimulate all the galactophore ducts, where the milk is contained.
  6. When the milk from that breast stops, go for the other.

If you want more information, you may be interested in this other article on How to Produce More Breast Milk.

Preservation of breast milk

The main and most important thing to keep breast milk in perfect condition is to have an adequate and specific container for food use; regardless of whether it is plastic or glass, it is necessary that it has a lid that closes perfectly.

You can opt for bags for this purpose, which are available in pharmacies, are quite economical and disposable; the only drawback in its fragility. Avoid metal containers, cans or those used for urine tests as much as possible, as these contain chemicals, such as ethylene oxide, due to sterilization.

The amount of milk that each container must contain is also important for proper preservation. Try to fill the bottles with a maximum capacity of 60-100 ml, this will help measure the doses needed for the baby and thus avoid thawing and refrigeration.

How long does breast milk last outside the fridge

The perfect shelf life of milk is very relative if it is kept out of the refrigerator, inside or frozen. It is best to keep it refrigerated for a maximum of 24 hours, a maximum of 8 hours if it is at room temperature and, in the case of freezing, a maximum of 3 to 5 days.

When it comes to consuming it, the best option is to leave it in a warm place so that it returns to its normal temperature and loses the cold of the refrigerator. In the event that you have frozen the milk, you can choose to do this 1 hour before giving it to the baby or place it under the tap of the water and temper it little by little.

How to heat breast milk

What you cannot do for anything in the world is to heat it inside the microwave, since it completely loses its vitamins, in the same way heat it in a bain-marie or directly pour it into a pot; keep in mind that direct heat will only damage the milk and take away the nutrients.

The best thing is that you let it lose the cold naturally, at room temperature, or by putting the milk under the tap, as we have commented in the previous section.

How to thaw breast milk

Once the milk is thawed with the methods mentioned above, it tends to separate and look as if it were cut. Do not be alarmed, you just have to mix it gently to put it back together and, with the help of a bottle, give it to the baby.

It is of the utmost importance that this milk is used in a period no longer than 12 hours and the rest discarded, since it cannot be re-frozen.

Now that you know how to preserve expressed breast milk, you may be interested in this other article on How Breastfeeding Benefits My Baby.


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