For breastfeeding or pumping moms, the question about how best to store breast milk is often top of mind.
Its not a surprise though, there are so many numbers to remember, and nobody wants their hard work pumping liquid gold to go to waste or worse yet feed bad milk to their baby. So it was with a loud cheer netizens welcomed the updated info on the AAP website last September.
The guideline pointed out that it was okay for mothers to mix freshly pumped milk with chilled milk and it was a welcome news indeed as it eliminated an extra step in the already laborious task of pumping. More info on that updated can be read on this mother.ly post here.
Unfortunately, checking the AAP website today in 2022, that recommendation is now gone.
It used to state that pooling milk from 24 hours together in one container is safe—and even recommended—to ensure that all milk has a mix of beneficial nutrients. Depending on the length of the pumping session or time of day, the nutrient mix of fat and sugars in expressed breast milk can be highly varied.
But as at today, it states
- Containers. Mothers should aim for cleanliness but realize milk is a biologic substance and full of probiotic and commensal bacteria. Hand washing, using clean or new containers, minimizing milk transfers (which waste fat and calories), and pumping directly into storage containers are recommended. Plastic or glass containers are fine, no evidence supports one over the other.
- Cold storage. Milk has biology that leads it to maintain its nutrient value and discourage bacterial growth when kept at room temperature or in the refrigerator. Raw milk likely has better biology than frozen with intact milk fat globules and maternal cells. After 4 hours at room temp or 4 days in the refrigerator it may be best to freeze milk for long term storage. Milk is generally considered safe for feeding for up to 12 months of freezer storage. The colder the freezer temperature the better and the less exposure to high temperatures the better. A deep freezer is better than the door of a standard freezer.
There is now no mention of if it is okay to mix freshly pumped milk to already chilled milk. But the CDC website still recommends that we SHOULD NOT.
It states "that Mixing freshly expressed breast milk with already cooled or frozen milk is not advised because it can rewarm the older stored milk. It is best to cool freshly expressed milk before combining it with older, previously cooled or frozen milk. It is also important to consider storage duration guidelines for breast milk. For example, if combining cooled milk pumped on different days, the duration of storage should be based on when the older milk was first stored."
Well now what do we do? it is our recommendation to NOT MIX the milk, even though you feel mixing MAY BE okay,
The pitcher method - which is simply collecting all of a day's expressed breast milk in one container in the fridge, out of which you feed your little one the next day and freeze any excess, is still the best way to simplify your routine.
The Cradle Plus breastmilk bottle comes in a pack of 3 (shaped like a milk carton - how cute) which means you can have both bottles in the fridge, one as storage pitcher and the other as chilling pitcher, while the last bottle is a spare storage pitcher for if we produce more than 17oz.
How to do the Pitcher method:
first pump - Pour in storage pitcher
2nd Pump - Pour in chilling pitcher
3rd pump - Empty chilling pitcher into storage pitcher, and pour fresh milk into chilling pitcher
4th pump repeat 3rd pump.
Benefits of the Pitcher Method:
-Simplify your pump routine
-Even out the variability in milk nutrients due to pumping time or breast emptying.
-Save refrigerator space
-Reduce number of bottles to wash.
-Reduce milk fat loss, which can happen when transferring milk from bottle to bottle.
If you are an exclusive pumping mom, or simply one with an over supply, the pitcher method is indeed a game changer.
Featured Cradle Plus Product: