Breastmilk New Storage and Handling Guidelines

Recent changes to the breastmilk storage guidelines set forth this year 2021. Is it ok to mix milks of varying temperatures? Should you pool 24 hours worth of pumped milk together? All of these topics and more discussed with regards to safety, storage and handling of breastmilk

Episode Transcript

Okay, welcome back. I’m Bev Garrison with first breast and first steps. And today joining me is Jodi Heiser. She is a long time lactation consultant that I’ve worked with for many, many years. And we thought today that’d be super pertinent to talk about the new guidelines on breast milk storage that have just recently come out. I was trying to research this topic, Jodi, and wasn’t really sure when it came into effect, but I did notice in the section of the frequently asked questions on the American Academy of Pediatrics website, that those were last updated in February of 2021. But I feel like I’m just hearing about this now in August, September. It’s funny you say that because I feel the same way. We really usually get kind of updates when something like this big comes out. But, I was just hearing, about this, this week through moms who had found it on the website. So it’s, it is, it’s just out there now. It seems like.

Yeah. So I think probably the major thing that I noticed is that they are no longer concerned about mixing varying temperatures of milk. So mixing warm milk that has been freshly pumped to milk that’s maybe sitting in the refrigerator and a little bit cooler. They had no concerns about that. Right. Where it used to be. That was the big no-no you only added a frozen milk and refrigerated milk. Or you let the milk cool, before you added, it always had to be the same temperature when you were mixing milk. Right.

The second point that I thought was super interesting in these new guidelines was they are actually recommending that you’re gathering or pooling all the milk from a 24 hour period. Saying that it may kind of help even out the nutritional content. Right. So all those fats and sugars and proteins, and it does make sense because your body’s producing what the baby needs. So if we’re kind of collecting that milk from that day, It’s probably better for the baby. Right. I’ve also read,, in the data and in some of the research that the length of your pumping session, as well as the time of day can play a role in the varying amount of fat and sugars that are expressed into the milk. And so that the thought process was mixing all that milk within a 24 hour period would help to even those out. And maybe come up with a more balanced nutritionally -content of that milk.

Yeah, that’s really important. And you know what, it also balances out the amount of fat, the amount of proteins in the milk, which often when you’re pumping can be a little disturbed. Right. And it is noted to be safe. I think. Previously, we were always like, oh, something that’s warm shouldn’t necessarily be added to something that is cooler.

But, you know, if you’ve ever nursed or you’ve been pumping or fed a baby and you’re managing milk, maybe when you’re away or at work. It’s really hard. It’s a really big balancing game to know how much did you pump? What time did you pump it? Has this one been refrigerated, has this not been refrigerated and trying to keep things separate? So I think that really makes it a lot easier for those that are pumping and feeding on the go. Oh, definitely. I think that’s very true.

One of the other things they noted is less transfers better. So in other one thing that we always talk about is whenever you are pouring milk, and you’ll notice this when you’re pouring it out of a bottle or into a bottle,

There’ll be a residue on the inside of the bottle. And that’s actually some of the fatty components sticking to the bottle. So if you’re continuing to transfer that back and forth, You’re actually losing some of those important factors. Right. So just kind of reducing the fat content. Exactly.

When working, I was always saying, there’s a very certain time in your life where we say the fat is good. This is actually one of those times. Yeah, right. It actually helps for better nerve conduction helps to insulate your nerves. It’s why when kids are transferring to whole milk or transferring to cows milk that we say do whole milk because of the fat content for sure. But I’ve had a lot of moms tell me. Yeah. I noticed that when I pour out from one container to the next, I can never quite get everything off or there’s some sort of waxy kind of waxy substance on the side. And that makes sense that the fat isn’t going too.

Absolutely. In fact, I think it’s so important that. One of the recommendations is to go from one large container and using a spatula, remove that collected fat on the sides so that you’re getting all that good stuff. Yes. Yes. For sure.

I think also some of the things that they had pointed out that maybe not necessarily new guidelines, but just good reminders for breast milk and storage and handling for that matter.

Always starting with, washing and clean hands, but remember milk is a biologic substance and it’s full of probiotics and helpful bacteria. It’s not a sterile, Process. You do want to wash your hands, obviously use clean containers that you’re pumping into or transferring milk into, but you really want to minimize the amount of transference just like Jodi had mentioned previously, just because of losing that ever so important fat content, right.

For sure. You know, and one of the other things that we finding is that, , people are always questioning this is glass better, is plastic better? There really is not a difference. It’s what works for you. So those are the two things just safe plastic or glass, right. I know nowadays, even with pumps, there are a lot of pumps that have adaptations where you can pump directly into storage containers so that you’re not having to move this milk around sometimes directly into storage bags.

Exactly. Some of the wearable pumps. , you can pump right into a bag that you could. Potentially just toss right in the freezer. Exactly. So I think that, pumping directly into a storage container or something that you’re going to feed from is a good idea. Just keeping that fat content in mind and that you’re trying to preserve that. Right.

I think one of the things that I’d want to point out is when we talk about pumping into a container, just making sure it’s specific for breastfeeding. So, you know, any type of baby bottles are fine. When you’re freezing it in bags, make sure that those bags are specific for storing breast milk. Yes, I do always throw in when you’re looking at bags for storing breast milk.

Way back in the day. Of course, uh, you know, my babies are 21, 19 and 17, so it’s been a while, but they used to have bags where you could feed twist ties. Through to kind of seal them off. I never recommend those because they’re so cumbersome and really hard to balance. I always like the ones with a zip type closure.

Remember not to fill the bag all the way. Tip, take yourself back to physics. Things that look like three ounces. Once they’re frozen kind of expand about five ounces. So you don’t want to be breaking through those bags. We want to keep that seal safe. Yes, for sure.

So in summary, probably the biggest guideline changes that we are hearing about on breast milk is that you can combine varying temperatures of milk, and it is recommended to pool 24 hours worth of milk together to help even out nutritional content.

And lastly is just transferring less, trying to move that move around. Less and less, just so that you are preserving as much fat inside that precious liquid. Absolutely. All right until next time be well, if you guys are interested in the information set forth on this podcast, you can click the link down below to get some quick notes from Jodi and I’s discussion. You can also contact me at FB 2F If you’re interested in having me help coach you from first breasts to first steps.