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How safe is stored breastmilk?

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By Gardy Chacha | April 14th 2021
Bottles and frozen breast milk storage bags [Courtesy]

According to Dr Njogu, as long as breastmilk is properly handled and stored, it does not lose any nutrients.

Before expressing, the doctor says, a mother should wash hands with soap and running water. The breast should also be cleaned before and after expression.

Expressing breast milk can be done using electric pumps or a manual pump. Using her own hands, the woman can also massage the breast in a milking motion to let off into the container.

The container being used should be clean and sterilised. The milk is then transferred into special storage bags which can be bought in baby shops.

The bag should be labeled with the date and time when the milk was collected. He says the milk should be stored in the freezer. At usage, the older breastmilk is used first.

“In the freezer, the milk can stay for 6 months without going bad. In the fridge, it can stay 2 - 3 days. On the table it can stay for 6 – 8 hours,” Dr Njogu says.

Frozen milk, Kwamboka says, is warmed indirectly by placing the bag in warm water, and under no circumstance should it be heated directly or warmed in a microwave oven.

Frozen breast milk, however, is only for single-use, says Dr Njogu.

“The baby has to drink all of it. Any leftover has to be discarded. It cannot be restored or kept longer for later use,” he says.

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