During these steamy summer months, most of us are digging in our freezers to grab a frosty treat – you know the favorites like ice cream, popsicles, and… breast milk?
Now is an important time to know how to care for your preciously pumped ounces. We’ve compiled a guide to address all of your questions and solve your issues, so that you don’t find yourself crying over spoiled milk.
Step 1: Create freezer space. That’s the no brainer. But breastmilk storage can be a bigger challenge.
Step 2: Whether you choose a store brand like Target’s Up & Up or a brand name like Medela milk storage bags, it’s important not to overfill them. Be mindful of their volume capacity. Once filled, we encourage you to note on your bag the day that you pumped as well as the volume (sometimes it’s hard to gauge the actual amount). Then, place your bag flat in the freezer or within a freezer storage system like this one from Amazon.
Step 3: When you’re ready to use your stash, snag the oldest bag first.
Pumping on the Go:
Summer pumpin’, had me a blast… summer pumpin’, needed AC gusting so fast… Chances are high that summer will mean trips and vacations for your family, which means you’ll need an easy pumping solution while you’re on the go.
Once you’ve settled on your favorite pump, make a car adapter your next purchase. When you’re juggling outdoor activities without immediate access to an outlet, you’re going to need to retreat to your car interiors and blast your air conditioning. Keep loose layers on, so that you aren’t overheating, and you have easy access to your pump parts. Relax, listen to a podcast, and let the liquid gold flow.
After pumping in your car, you’ll want to transfer your milk into a cooler, as soon as possible. Some timelines to remember:
– While milk is good at room temperature for 6-8 hours, the summer heat quickly eats away at that time. – Instead, keep a softpack cooler and ice packs handy. Milk can stay in a cooler for upwards of 2 hours (but if the temperature is running over 90 degrees, plan to half that time). Note: that an insulated cooler and significant ice packs can keep your breast milk safe for nearly a full day, but again, as temperatures rise, that timeline shortens quickly.- Freshly pumped milk can stay in your refrigerator for 3-5 days before being transferred to the freezer, but if you know you’ll be freezing it anyway, follow a 3 day rule.- Once your milk has found its home on the icy shelves of your freezer, plan to use it within 6 months for the highest quality.
Note: if you have milk that’s older than 6 months, don’t toss it! It’s perfect to add to a baby’s bath for softer skin or to help ease diaper rash discomfort. Plus, breast milk has other amazing uses for pink eye, rashes, bites, hand, foot & mouth, and more! Summer may bring its share of adventures and trips, but your breastmilk will be a perfect companion when you follow these tips!