What’s the Best Way to Pump and Store Breast Milk?

As a parent, you already have a lot on your plate, so the process of pumping and storing breast milk is just one more thing to add to your never-ending to-do list. Understanding the best practices for expressing and storing this milk is key to ensuring your baby receives its nourishing benefits, even when you're apart. Whether you're returning to work, sharing feeding duties, or taking a well-deserved break, we've got you covered with expert advice and tips to make your experience as smooth and stress-free as possible.

Keep reading for helpful tips on how to do that. 

Best Practices for Pumping and Storing Breast Milk

Pumping your breast milk in advance is another way to nourish and feed your baby. In fact, stocking up is another way to ensure your baby gets liquid gold when you are away from them, such as when you're working or taking time for yourself. Some women also opt to exclusively pump as a way to feed their baby. Read on below for some helpful advice for pumping and storing expressed breast milk.

Best Practices for Pumping:

As the Office on Women’s Health recommends, thoroughly wash your hands before pumping and ensure that the area where you’re pumping as well as your pump parts and bottles are clean. This is especially important during this cold and flu season, to prevent the spread of germs, in addition to stopping dirt from contaminating your breast milk. It’s best to pump during the times when you would normally feed your baby.

In terms of how you pump, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) notes that you can express breast milk by hand or use a manual or electronic pump — whatever feels the most comfortable and works best for you. If you need additional help with expressing milk, the Office on Women’s Health suggests:

  • Applying a warm, moist cloth to your breasts
  • Gently massaging your breasts
  • Sitting in a relaxing setting

When expressing your milk with a manual or electronic pump, there will be collection bottles attached already for your breast milk.

Best Practices for Storing Breast Milk:

Refrigerate or freeze the breast milk in clean glass bottles or hard, BPA-free plastic bottles with tight-fitting lids immediately after pumping. The National Institute of Child Health and Human Development advises storing the milk in small batches of 2-4 ounces, which depends on how much milk you normally feed your baby. This is the shelf life that the Mayo Clinic shares for both refrigerated and frozen breast milk:

  1. Breast milk can be stored in the back of the refrigerator for up to four days in clean conditions, but it’s best to use it within three days.
  2. Breast milk can be stored in the back of a deep freezer for up to 12 months, but using it within six months is optimal.

Be sure to label the date that you expressed the breast milk on the container so that you know which one to feed your baby first. If you need to thaw breast milk, the CDC recommends doing the following:

  • Putting it in the refrigerator overnight
  • Setting in a container of warm or lukewarm water
  • Running it under lukewarm water

It’s all about finding a process that works best for you and your baby. For additional support on your breastfeeding journey, check out our teas at SOLMA to help provide you with the hydration you need!

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Listen to Daniela on the Back to HER Podcast

SOLMA co-founder Daniela was a guest on the Back to HER podcast!

Host Nelly and Daniela spoke about motherhood, the entrepreneurial journey, balancing life and kids, and so much more. Daniela also gave some insight behind the scenes of production in making SOLMA, as well as general tips for moms considering starting a business.

Listen to the episode now to learn about Daniela’s story.

Listen to the Episode →

Are you a new breastfeeding parent who is looking for a community who truly gets it? We’re here for you. Email us at any time with questions, comments, or concerns. Let SOLMA give you one less thing to worry about!

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