Expressing milk refers to squeezing milk out of the breast for storage to feed babies later.

Expressing milk may be needed if:

  • Situations where the mother will be away from your baby, for example, at work or the baby, requires special care.
  • Mom’s breasts feel engorged or uncomfortably full.
  • Trouble making your baby latch or suck well, but you still want to give them breast milk
  • You have others to help with feeding your baby
  • Boosting your milk supply

How long does expressed breast milk keep?

Expressed breast milk can safely be stored depending on the storage method. These general guidelines for healthy infants should be considered:

  • Room temperature. Freshly expressed breast milk stored at room temperature for up to six hours. But it can adequately hold the breast milk within four hours, especially if the room is warm.
  • Insulated cooler; can store freshly expressed breast milk in an insulated cooler with ice packs for a day.
  • The refrigerator. can store Freshly expressed breast milk in the back of the clean fridge for up to four days. However, it’s essential to use or freeze the milk within three days.
  • Deep freezer. Express breast milk stored in the back of a deep freezer for up to 12 months. Use the frozen milk within six months.

Keep in mind that research confirms that the longer you store breast milk — either in the refrigerator or the freezer — the higher the loss of vitamin C in the milk.

It’s also essential to note that breast milk changes to meet the baby’s needs. For instance, expressed breast milk for a newborn baby won’t fully meet the same baby’s needs when older. Also, storage guidelines vary for preterm, sick, or hospitalized infants.

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Liyana Parker

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