Collecting and Storing Breastmilk

To defrost frozen milk, place it in the fridge the night before you're going to use it. This takes about twelve hours. If you need to thaw it quickly, run it under warm water that is gradually warmed, or place it in a bowl of water that is gradually warmed. Don't use hot water, and NEVER heat it in a microwave. This can destroy the live antibodies in the milk, and may also create "hot spots" than can burn your baby's mouth, even though the container may not feel hot to the touch.

Many babies don't care if the milk is served cold right out of the fridge. It won't upset their stomach, and will save you or your caregiver a minute or two, which can be really important if your baby is frantically hungry. If you want to try cold milk, be sure to run the nipple under warm water if it has been refrigerated. Most babies dislike cold nipples more than they dislike cold milk.

How Much Milk to Leave for Your Baby
Average intake by age:
birth to two months: 2-5 ounces per feeding
two to four months: 4-6 ounces per feeding
four to six months: 5-7 ounces per feeding

Average intake by weight: The average baby who isn't eating anything but milk needs about two and a half ounces per pound of weight. Some babies need more, some need less in order to gain weight adequately. A ten-pound baby needs about 25 ounces in twenty-four hours (round up an ounce or two to be on the safe side - say 27 ounces) which means that if he eats eight times in 24 hours, he would need a little over three ounces at each feeding. You'll get a feel for how much he will eat at each feeding as he begins to take bottles on a regular basis.

FYI: Human milk is not considered a bio-hazardous body fluid like blood or saliva, and OSHA and the CDC agree that it does not have to be treated as such. For more details on handling breastmilk in a work or day care setting, see the article on "Returning to Work or School". The article "The Caregiver's Guide to the Breastfed Baby" gives concise information on handling human milk that you can share with your baby's care provider.

Anne SmithAnne Smith, IBCLC has breastfed a total of six children (three boys, three girls). She feel that her first hand experience plus her more than twenty years experience of counseling nursing mothers are among her most important credentials. Anne has been a La Leche Leader since 1978 and IBCLC since 1990. As a nursing mother, LLL Leader, and IBCLC, Anne has worked in many areas over the years. She has led support group meetings, taught breastfeeding classes, trained breastfeeding peer counselors to work with low income mothers, worked one-on-one with mothers to solve breastfeeding problems, helped thousands of mothers with breastfeeding questions over the phone, held workshops for health professionals on various breastfeeding topics, taught OB, Pediatric, and Family Practice Residents breastfeeding at Bowman Gray School of Medicine, and run a breast pump rental station with over 100 pumps, scales, and nursing bras for the past eleven years. We invite you to visit Anne's website.

Copyright © Anne Smith. Permission to publish granted to Pregnancy.org, LLC.