Like what we always see and hear on television and radio advertisements, breast milk is really the best for babies. What better food for a baby than that coming from the mother that gave birth to him? More than the nutrients that babies normally get from breast milk, they get unparalleled protection from it during the first three to four days of breastfeeding. This means that after giving birth, as soon as the mother is ready, she has to breastfeed her baby so he can get the fluid called colostrum. It is a thick, sticky, low fat fluid filled with vitamins, minerals, proteins and antibodies. Colostrum helps in building the immune system of a baby. It is recommended for mothers to continue on with breastfeeding until the baby is about two years of age. For busy moms, pumping and reheating breast milk are some of the additional things they do to make sure their babies drink natural, nutrient-filled milk.
Not all mothers however have the time to breastfeed their children regularly. Many mothers of today are working women who are out of the home the whole day. So what they do is invest in a breast pump so they can use it to prepare breast milk for their babies. Apart from having milk on hand, pumping breast milk can actually help in stimulating milk production. After pumping breast milk, it can be kept at room temperature for a period not longer than 10 hours. If it is to be stored in a cooler with ice packs, it can be kept up to 24 hours. If it is kept in the refrigerator, it can last for up to 8 days. Breast milk has amazing properties that allow it to be stored longer and still be protected from bacterial contamination.
To make the stored breast milk suitable for babies’ consumption, reheating it is necessary. If breast milk is warmed up but not consumed, it can still be reheated once. Just take note that the more it is reheated, the less nutrients it ends up having. So it is advisable to reheat a smaller amount and just add more if the baby wants to consume more breast milk.
When it comes to frozen milk, it should be first thawed by holding the container under running water. Heat water in a pan and immerse the container of the frozen milk in the hot water for it to warm. You may also use a bottle warmer. It takes about a minute or even less for the milk to be ready. Using the microwave or heating the breast milk directly on the stove is highly discouraged. After heating the milk, mix it slowly before checking its temperature. Breast milk doesn’t have to be too warm for it to be consumed, heating it until it reaches room temperature is enough. An indication that it has been warmed properly is when you don’t see any fat left sticking inside the bottle. The fat should have been melted and immersed into the breast milk.
Just take note that once a baby drinks from the bottle, some saliva mixes with the milk. So if it has been sitting for more than an hour already, it is not advisable to be consumed anymore.