LivingHow to make your own breast milk bank at...

How to make your own breast milk bank at home

According to the Breastfeeding Committee of the Spanish Association of Paediatrics, six months after the birth of the baby, only 28.5% of Spanish mothers maintain exclusive breastfeeding. The main reason for abandoning breastfeeding is the difficulty of reconciling work and family when mothers have to return to work.

In order for the mother to know how to express her own milk, store it and be able to prolong breastfeeding for as long as she wishes, Medela explains the best way to store breast milk to create a milk bank at home.

Why have a breast milk bank at home?

A homemade milk bank allows milk to be kept in the freezer for up to six months, a period during which all its properties are maintained . In this way, the mother can provide the baby with the best possible food for a longer time.

Among the properties of breast milk are its contribution of proteins, nutrients, hormones and beneficial bacteria, which not only provide multiple benefits in the first months of the baby’s life, but also establish the pillars of a person’s health throughout the life of the baby. of their life.

Before you start: hygiene measures

The expression of milk must be carried out in a hygienic environment. The mother should wash her hands with soap and water, or disinfect them with an alcohol-based hand sanitizer, and if a pump or breast pump is used, it is advisable to thoroughly wash or sterilize all parts of the pump and dry them properly before and after each use.

Although it is not necessary to wash the breasts before extraction, it is advisable to pass a soft, damp cloth over them to facilitate adherence during suction. In addition, before storing the milk, we must verify that the environment in which it is going to be stored, both the freezer and the containers, are kept clean.

Breast milk lasts up to two hours at room temperature or 24 hours in the refrigerator.

How to store and freeze milk

Freshly expressed breast milk lasts four hours at room temperature (between 16 and 25º C). If it is not going to be consumed in that time, it is best to store it in the fridge or freezer as soon as possible, and in both cases, it is advisable to write down the date of extraction and use the oldest first.

If it freezes, it is advisable to fill the containers only up to three quarters of their capacity to prevent the liquid from breaking when it freezes and expands. In addition, if the milk is stored in bags, these must be made of materials designed for freezing and food grade.

To facilitate defrosting and waste as little milk as possible, it is more efficient to store it in small amounts, under 60 milliliters in each container or bag.

It should be noted that a baby can consume between 54 and 234 milliliters in each feeding, so as the mother becomes familiar with the volume of intake, smaller portions can be made that combine the total that the baby usually consumes in every take. If necessary, these small portions can be combined after defrosting.

milk thawing

The process of thawing breast milk is very similar to that of thawing other foods: it should not be done at room temperature, or in the microwave, or with a saucepan or in a bain-marie, as this would damage its properties.

Instead, it is recommended to do it in the refrigerator , where it usually takes about 12 hours to completely thaw, or by putting the container under running water at a maximum of 37ºC . Once thawed, breast milk lasts up to two hours at room temperature or 24 hours in the refrigerator, and for hygiene reasons, you should never refreeze thawed milk or milk left over from a feed, as bacteria may have accumulated .

Once thawed, the milk may have a different odor. As long as all hygiene recommendations have been followed, this should not be a problem: the change in smell is due to the action of an enzyme called lipase, which breaks down fats and releases fatty acids, a process that helps prevent proliferation of harmful bacteria.

You should never refreeze thawed milk or milk left over from a feeding.

How to warm breast milk

Babies can drink milk at room temperature or warmed to body temperature (about 37°C), but not hotter as the baby is more likely to drink the milk if it is close to body temperature.

To heat the milk, you can use a bottle warmer or submerge the container in lukewarm water, without exceeding 37ºC. As in the defrosting step, it should not be heated in the microwave or in a saucepan.

As a general rule, it is not recommended to mix liquids of different temperatures to consume. If you want to add expressed milk to already frozen milk, it must have been previously chilled. For the same reason, milk at body temperature should also not be added to already frozen milk.

Breastfeeding in children older than one year: breastfeeding from 12 months is not spoiling

The first thing that caused me doubt when writing the post was the title. I have often heard the terms prolonged breastfeeding to refer to children older than 12 months who are still nursing. Or breastfeeding in older children. And yet, I get the impression that these terms refer to something that is not normal, as if breastfeeding had to have a short duration or children beyond the age of 2 years were considered too old to breastfeed.

Breast cancer during breastfeeding: a difficult diagnosis to face

Breast cancer is the most common cancer in women in Spain. So far this year, 35,000 new cases have been diagnosed in our country according to the Spanish Association Against Cancer (AECC), and it is estimated that one in eight women will have breast cancer at some point in her life. However, it has a high survival rate: more than 90 percent overcome it or it becomes chronic, achieving a great quality of life.

My baby is very distracted while breastfeeding: why it happens and how to get...

During the first weeks of life, breastfed babies often only want to be at their mother's breast. The shots are long (practically one with another), the baby's movements are slow and calm, and the exchange of glances between mother and child is constant.

Mixed breastfeeding in twins: how to organize to feed two babies

The WHO recommends that babies under six months be exclusively breastfed. Mothers who have twins or fraternal twins are capable of producing milk for both of them, since we know that the greater the stimulation, the greater the production of milk; women in these cases can produce... up to 2 liters of milk a day!

Does your baby "tune in" to the nipple while nursing? Why does it do...

Does your baby play and touch the nipple that is free while he is sucking on the other one? This is a behavior popularly known as "tuning" (the child moves the nipple as if tuning a radio), and although it is completely normal and natural, it can be uncomfortable for some mothers.