Expressing breast milk helps mothers to keep babies on exclusive breastfeeding for the first six months. That is why many career mums normally express breast milk for their babies to feed on when they are away from home.
There are many questions that arise from this. How long should the expressed milk be kept before it is discarded? Should the milk be kept in a deep freezer? If frozen, how should it be warmed? Should plastic bags be used to store the milk?
An electric vis a vis a manual pump, which is preferred? And are steam electric sterilisers better than boiling when sterilising feeding bottles?
Manual pumps are more reliable and preferred to electric breast pumps, especially with unreliable electricity. Buy a breast milk pump brand that also has available bottles that fit well on the pump, so that after pumping the milk is just stored directly. It is wrong to store breast milk in plastic or polythene bags. The milk should be kept in the feeding bottle, covered nicely, then the bottle is put inside a plastic bag (any clean bag like the transparent ones they pack onions or tomatoes in the market); then put in a refrigerator. The milk should not be kept in the freezer or chiller. The covering plastic bag prevents direct contact of milk bottle with other fridge contents. Keep the milk for a maximum of 24 hours. When time comes to feed the baby, put the milk bottle in a jug or bowel containing boiled water, to warm the milk indirectly. Once warm, wash your hands, and open the cover of the bottle (nipple side), press out some drops over the back surface of your hand, to see if the milk is warm enough. When it has warmed, feed it to the baby. Never touch the nipple of the bottle when feeding the baby. Never warm the milk directly on a saucepan on fire and do not microwave the milk. After the feeding, the bottle should be washed in warm boiled water and soap.
Once clean, put into cold water on a large enough sauce pan then boil for about 15 minutes.
Cool it ready for the next use. Boiling is better and more reliable than using a steam steriliser.