Have you ever noticed that your pump bottles show you’ve pumped a certain amount of milk, but your storage bags tell a different story?
We hear this a lot from donors, so we made this visual example. Shown in the photo are equal volumes of breast milk (exactly 3 ounces). In these 4 different containers, it looks like 4 different volumes! Milk storage bags in particular are misleading since the bottoms are soft and flexible and can over-report the milk volume.
Collecting expressed breast milk is definitely challenging, but there are simple things you can do to make your pumping and storing milk experience much more seamless!
- Store your milk in any sterile container with a lid.
- Leave .5 to 1” at the top of the container for the milk to expand as it freezes.
- Label your milk! Write your pump date on each container with permanent marker before putting it in the fridge or freezer.
- You can mix breast milk from different pump sessions if you refrigerate new milk first before combining it.
- Seal the bag or bottle immediately after filling it.
- It is safe for the milk to stay in the fridge up to 4 days after pumping. But the sooner you freeze it the better since freezing is the best way to protect the good components of your breast milk and keep bacteria from multiplying.
- For donation purposes, keep a daily record of any medications, herbs, or supplements you take. Mark your milk with a big red X if you pumped in the first 6 hours after having an alcoholic drink, or 12 hours after two servings of alcohol.