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One of the most asked questions among mothers is how long can breast milk last? Especially for mothers who regularly pump breast milk and store them for future needs of the baby.
If you are a new mom and you are planning to breastfeed your baby, you have come to the right place!
Storing breast milk is an essential part in preserving breast milk for your baby. Plenty of mothers choose to store their breast milk for many reasons. These reasons are also reasonable and does not only benefit the baby, but you as a mother as well.
The reason a mother would store breast milk is to have an emergency supply for the baby. It is not impossible for a mother to get sick, be away for a while or go under certain medication that may affect the baby if she breastfeeds the baby.
Before you store milk, it is important to learn how to express milk through breast milk pumping. You will need to identify the best breast milk pump for yourself to pump for milk. It is also best to know how to use a breast pump properly – and, sanitize and store them as they must be.
How you store breast milk answers how long can breast milk last. The essentialities in storing breast milk are breast milk pumps, breast milk storage bags and breast milk storage bottles.
If you are worried about your milk supply in the first place, make sure you practice expressing breastmilk the natural way. There are natural ways that can help you increase your breast milk supply like breastfeeding your baby with the proper latching, eating healthy food and expressing milk when nursing as regularly as possible.
Are there differences of fresh breast milk and stored breast milk?
Breast milk that is frozen or freshly expressed are the same milk. It just so happens that one is expressed freshly and the other was stored to be preserved. You may mix the two in case you need to.
Before mixing the two, you have to make sure the frozen and stored milk is properly thawed. It is also best to check and assure the milk is not contaminated at all.
There will be a difference of texture and consistency between frozen breast milk and freshly expressed breast milk. If the flavor may be different for babies as well, there may be a tendency that the baby will not like the thawed frozen milk – heated or not.
How Long Can Breast Milk Last in a Breast Milk Storage Bag?
Normally, breast milk can last from four to six hours. Of course, there are some factors that may shorten the duration of the breast milk – even in the storage bag. The probability of contamination may be a huge factor in decreasing the duration of the breast milk – regardless if it is stored safely in the bag.
It is important to store the breast milk in the freezer after it has been sealed to make sure it can no longer be contaminated or exposed to the temperature it is in.
The most basic factor – and, also the important factor – to the duration of breast milk is the room temperature. The higher the temperature in a room is, the shorter the lifespan of the breast milk.
How Long Can Breast Milk Last in Cold Storage?
You can store the breast milk in the freezer for up to 6 months, and some may even suggest that 12 months is acceptable. For safer measures, let’s stick to six months just to make sure.
So, how long can breast milk last once it has been opened? It is best to remember that once you have opened the bag of breast milk, you cannot return it to the freezer. It is best to have it consumed within two hours of opening the breast milk storage bag. This is to assure the milk does not spoil while in the freezer and does not contaminate any further.
Generally, How Long Can Breast Milk Last Exposed?
Once the fresh breast milk is exposed, the duration before it gets spoiled or contaminated is 6 hours. Usually, this is for a room temperature surrounding. If the room is warmer, the breast milk can last for 2 to 4 hours.
Asking how long can breast milk last depends entirely on the factors and circumstances of the moment. Temperature of the room, the cleanliness and sanitation of the breast pumps and storage products, the hygiene of the mother and handling of the breast milk in the process.
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