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Health Information For Parents
Whether you’re a new mom or a seasoned parenting pro, breastfeeding often comes with its fair share of questions. Here are answers to some common queries that mothers — new and veteran — may have.
You can freeze and/or refrigerate your pumped (or expressed) breast milk. Store it in clean bottles with screw caps, hard plastic cups that have tight caps, or nursing bags (pre-sterilized bags meant for breast milk).
It’s helpful to label each container with the date when the milk was pumped (and your baby’s name if the milk is going to childcare providers). You can add fresh cooled milk to milk that is already frozen, but add no more than is already in the container. For example, if you have 2 ounces of frozen milk, then you can add up to 2 more ounces of cooled milk.
For healthy full-term infants:
To thaw frozen milk, you can move it to the refrigerator (it takes 24 hours to thaw), then warm by running warm water over the bag or bottle of milk and use it within the next 24 hours. If you need it immediately, then remove it from the freezer and run warm water over it until it’s at room temperature. Do not refreeze it. Once your baby has started to drink from the bottle, you should use it within 1 hour.
You may find that different resources provide different variations on the amount of time you can store breast milk at room temperature, in the refrigerator, and in the freezer. Talk to your doctor if you have any concerns or questions.
Although some women may choose to pump large volumes to be frozen, it’s a good idea to actually store the breast milk in 2- to 4-ounce (59.1 to 118.2 milliliters) portions so as not to waste any. Label the bottles, cups, or bags with the date, then freeze them.
You also could pour the milk into ice cube trays that have been thoroughly cleaned in hot water, let them freeze until hard, store them in freezer bags, then count up the amount of cubes needed to make a full bottle.
Breast milk that’s been frozen or refrigerated may look a little different from fresh breast milk, but that doesn’t mean it’s gone bad. It’s normal for early breast milk to look kind of orange and the mature milk to look slightly blue, yellow, or brown when refrigerated or frozen. And it may separate into a creamy looking layer and a lighter, more milk-like layer. If this happens, just swirl it gently to mix it up again.
Thawed milk may smell or taste soapy due to the breakdown of fats in the milk. The milk is still safe to drink, and most babies won’t have a problem with it. If your baby doesn’t like it, the milk can be heated to scalding (bubbles around the edges) right after it is pumped or expressed and then quickly cooled and frozen. This switches off the enzyme that breaks down the milk fats.
Before their first use, wash and then sterilize the nipples, bottles, and washable breast pump supplies (for example, the breast shields and any other part that touches your breasts or your milk) by boiling them for 5 to 10 minutes. Check the manufacturer’s recommendations for the length of time to boil the parts.
You also can sterilize the parts with a countertop or microwaveable sterilizer, but boiling works just as well and costs nothing. After that, wash the bottles, nipples, and pump supplies in hot, soapy water (or run them through the dishwasher) after every use. They can transmit bacteria if not cleaned properly.
The microwave can create dangerous “hot spots” in bottles of formula or breast milk, so you should never microwave them. Instead, you can run the bottle or freezer bag under warm water for a little bit, swirl the bag or bottle around in a bowl of warm water, or thaw the milk in the refrigerator.
You also can put your baby’s bottles in a pan of warm water (away from the heat of the stove) and then test the temperature by squirting a drop or two on the inside of your wrist before feeding your baby. And bottle warmers are available for use at home or in the car.
Here’s a quick guide to an important part of feeding a baby – burping.
If you’re a new mom, breastfeeding your baby can feel like a challenge. Check out this article for information on common nursing positions, proper latching-on techniques, and how to know if your baby is getting enough to eat.
Is your baby is ready for solid foods? Learn how and when to get started.
At this age, babies start to explore table foods.
Here are answers to some common questions about what breastfeeding mothers should and shouldn’t eat and drink.
Here are answers to some common questions about going out in public as a breastfeeding mom – from how to do it discreetly to taming sneaky leaks.
Here are answers to some common questions about pumping your breast milk – from buying a pump to making the process a little easier.
Here are answers to some common supplemental feeding questions – from when to introduce solids to offering breastfed babies formula.
Here are answers to some questions about common breastfeeding concerns – from biting to spitting up.
Here are answers to some common questions about your milk supply – from having too much to having too little.
Here are answers to some common questions about breastfed babies and sleep – from where they should snooze to when they’ll finally start sleeping through the night.
Bonding, the intense attachment that develops between you and your baby, is completely natural. And it’s probably one of the most pleasurable aspects of infant care.
Here are answers to common questions about getting started with breastfeeding.
Here are answers to some common questions about preventing and reducing breastfeeding discomfort, such as nipple and breast pain.
Here’s info about how often to breastfeed your baby, how long it takes to nurse, and much more.
Making a decision to breastfeed or formula feed your baby is a personal one. There are some points to consider to help you decide which option is best for you and your baby.
Note: All information is for educational purposes only. For specific medical advice, diagnoses, and treatment, consult your doctor.
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