Nursing/pumping mamas, please, I implore you: have a good breastmilk storage system. Losing even one ounce of that liquid gold is like… just devastating. I may or may not have almost murdered my husband for incorrectly storing my breastmilk one time.
If you’re not planning on using your pumped milk within 4 hours, you should put it in the refrigerator (in the bottle is fine). If you’re not planning on using it within 4 days, you need to freeze it. In the freezer, it will stay good for a maximum of 6 months. *You may not want to pump too far ahead because the composition of your milk – and your baby’s needs – will change over time.
Four hours (out/at room temperature); four days (in the fridge); 6 months (in the freezer).
How do you store it, you ask? You can store your milk in containers, but the go-to for most pumping mothers is breastmilk storage bags, which are more convenient and take up less space. This is one arena in which there is room for product development, IMO, as there is still not very much on the market that’s super impressive… but for now the leading favorite remains the Lansinoh storage bags.
Especially given all the new breast pump technology in the 21st century, it drives me bonkers that there aren’t better breastmilk storage solutions for pumping moms. To be frank, there isn’t a whole heck of a lot to be that excited about… However, many pump makers are starting to manufacture their own storage bags, so check if your particular pump offers those, because you can often pump directly into them, which is nice.
Milkies Milk Trays allow moms to freeze expressed breast milk in 1 oz servings (note — there is no 1 oz. line indicator on the tray, so the measuring is imperfect). Each tray freezes eight ~1-oz milk sticks, and the design is specific so that each one can fit into bottle openings (this is why you can’t just use a regular ice tray — well, you could, it would just be super annoying). Some people love this option, but others find it prone to “loss” given the pouring and transport. You may want to put the covered tray inside a big freezer ziploc, too, for a better seal around the whole thing. *Made in the U.S.A.
Kiinde also makes the Twist breastmilk storage system, and I have to say it’s pretty darn cool. With the Twist, you can pump, store (freeze), organize, re-heat, and feed — all without having to transfer the milk. Best of all, there is only one little piece (the nipple) to clean. People are gaga over this one (even though he went to MIT and I went to Tech — the real Tech, that is — we can still be friends). One thing to consider with the Kiinde Twist bags are that they take up more freezer space (because they don’t lie flat) compared to the Lansinoh bags, or something similar.
Check out the video here shot at the 2015 ABC Baby Show:
Yes, I highly recommend the Kiinde system for pumping mothers.
I also suggest getting the milk storage organizer by The First Years [below] to organize your milk by date.
If you plan to be pumping at work at any point, check here for a few other basic supplies…
That’s it for feeding, folks! Next up is our baby clothing guide, which features baby clothes that are comfortable.