Health Tip: Storing Breast Milk
If you want to store breast milk for when you're not available to breast-feed, the Nemours Foundation offers these suggestions for doing it safely:
- Breast milk can be refrigerated for about two or three days, as long as the temperature is between 32 and 39 degrees Fahrenheit (0 C to 3.9 C).
- Breast milk can be frozen for three to four months in many freezers, as long as the temperature is 0 F (-18 C). But lengths may vary based on the type of freezer.
- Breast milk can be kept at room temperature for four to eight hours, as long as the room is kept at 77 F (25 C) or cooler.
- Always store breast milk in sterile bottles that have a screw cap, a sterilized nursing bag, or tightly-capped hard plastic cups. Always label the bottles with the date that the milk was pumped.
- You can let milk thaw in a refrigerator for up to 24 hours, but never refreeze milk that has been thawed.
Health Tip: Wean Your Child From Breast-Feeding
When you feel the time is right to wean your baby from breast milk, the Nemours Foundation offers these suggestions to help make the process easier:
- Substitute a bottle or cup at nursing time. Slightly older children can have a healthy snack or a cup as a substitute.
- At the typical times that you'd nurse, schedule a special and fun activity instead.
- Don't wear the same nursing clothes, and change rooms for the substitute activity.
- Schedule the weaning for a time when your baby isn't dealing with other major changes, such as starting day care or teething.
- Don't discourage your child if he or she begins a substitute habit -- such as sucking the thumb or carrying a stuffed animal. It's just your child's way of dealing with the change.