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come conservare (e surgelare) il latte materno

How to store breast milk (and freeze it)

Once the milk is extracted with the electric breast pump, it is important to carry out proper storage and preparation of breast milk..
By following the recommended storage and preparation techniques it is possible to preserve the safety and quality of the extracted breast milk for the health of the child.
Below are some general guidelines for storing breast milk at different temperatures.

Various factors affect the duration of safe storage of breast milk.
Such factors include the volume of milk, the room temperature in which milk is extracted, temperature fluctuations in the refrigerator and freezer, and the cleanliness of the environment.

table for storage of breast milk

Safe storage of squeezed breast milk

Before extracting or handling breast milk is important:

  • Wash your hands thoroughly with soap and water.
    If soap and water are not available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol. Mothers can extract breast milk by hand or with a manual or electric breast pump.
  • If you are using a pump, inspect the pump kit and hoses to make sure they are clean. Immediately remove and replace the mouldy tube.
  • If you are using a shared pump, clean the pump dials, the power switch and the worktop with a disinfectant wipe.

How to store breast milk after extraction

After extraction, how is breast milk stored?

  • Breast milk storage bags or clean food containers may be used to store extracted breast milk. Make sure the containers are made of glass or plastic and have tight lids.
  • Avoid bottles with recycling symbol number 7, which indicates that the container can be made of plastic containing BPA.
  • Never store breast milk in disposable bottle covers or plastic bags not intended for storing breast milk.
  • Freshly squeezed or pumped milk can be stored:
    – at room temperature (25 ºC or colder) for a maximum of four hours
    – in the refrigerator for up to four days,
    – in the freezer for about 6 months is better but up to 12 months is acceptable
  • Although freezing keeps food safe almost indefinitely, it is important to follow the recommended storage times to achieve the best quality.

Tips for storing breast milk

To store and store the best breast milk, here are some tricks to take:

  • Clearly label breast milk with the date it was extracted.
  • Do not store breast milk in the refrigerator or freezer door: this will help protect breast milk from temperature changes due to opening and closing the door.
  • If you do not plan to use breast milk freshly squeezed within 4 days, ice it immediately to preserve its quality.
  • When you decide to freeze your breast milk keep small amounts to avoid wasting milk that may not be finished and leave about an inch of space at the top of the container because the breast milk expands when it freezes.
  • Breast milk can be stored in a refrigerator bag with frozen ice packs (siberini) for up to 24 hours when traveling.
    At your destination, immediately use the milk, keep it in the refrigerator or ice cream.

How to safely defrost breast milk

Always remember to thaw the oldest breast milk first: the first to enter, the first to leave. Over time, the quality of breast milk may decrease.
There are several ways to defrost breast milk:

  • In the refrigerator for one night
  • Place in a container of lukewarm or lukewarm water
  • Under warm running water.

Warning: never thaw or heat breast milk in the microwave.
Why? The microwave can destroy nutrients in breast milk and create hot spots, which can burn the baby’s mouth.

If you defrost breast milk in the refrigerator, use it within 24 hours.
Start counting the 24 hours when breast milk is completely thawed, not from the moment you took it out of the freezer.
Once breast milk is brought to room temperature or heated, use it within 2 hours.
Never re-freeze breast milk after it thaws.

Final tips for taking breast milk extracted with an electric breast pump

In principle, breast milk does not need to be heated: it can be served at room or cold temperature.
However, if you decide to heat breast milk, here are some suggestions:

  • Keep the container sealed
  • Put the sealed container in a bowl full of warm water or keep it under warm running water, but not hot, for a few minutes
  • Test the temperature of the milk before giving it to your baby by placing a few drops on the wrist.
  • Do not heat breast milk directly on the stove or in the microwave.
  • Shake the breast milk to mix the fat, which may have separated.

If your baby has not finished the bottle, use the advanced milk within 2 hours after he has finished eating.
After 2 hours, the remaining breast milk should be discarded.


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