All lactating Mummies agree that breastmilk is as precious as gold. Not only is it universally agreed to be the best food for babies, breastmilk is something that no mother will take for granted.
Whether the supply is bountiful or limited, every drop is precious, as healthy breastmilk is the product of hours of Mummy making sure that she has had enough water to drink and the right supplements are taken and adhering to a nutritious (sometimes strict) diet. Many women who breastfeed are probably also giving up on their favourite spicy foods, indulgent tipples, coffee and for some whose babies are sensitive and allergic, products with egg or dairy.
When it comes to managing and handling expressed breastmilk, Mums would want to be extra careful to ensure safe storage and that not a drop of this liquid gold is wasted.
Here are five things all lactating Mummies should note about storing and handling breastmilk safely.
Wash your hands … and smartphone
What seems like it should be common sense in theory became the subject of a national – no actually make that global – campaign in these COVID19 times. Yet, definitely the first rule of handling breastmilk safely is to make sure you’ve washed your hands thoroughly.
If you’re going to be handling your mobile phone whilst pumping (as most multitasking Mama’s do), make sure that it has been sterilised with an alcohol wipe. You might also want to stop the habit of bringing your phone into the loo. Mobile phones are notorious for being filthier than a toilet seat, so it should not come anywhere near your sterilised breast pumping equipment to avoid contamination.
Minimise spillage and wastage from container to container
While breastmilk storage bags may be handy and disposable, they are not exactly eco-friendly and may inadvertently cause spillage (and thus wastage) during transfer from bag to bottle.
Instead, look for a solution that does double duty, like the Hegen PCTO™ 150ml/5oz Breast Milk Storage Container PPSU. By attaching a Hegen PCTO™ Manual Breast Pump Module and/or Hegen PCTO™ Standard / Wide Neck Adapter to express into the storage container, then swapping the pump with a Hegen PCTO™ Breast Milk Storage Lid, you can instantly convert it into an air-tight and secure storage container.
To feed, simply reheat to desired temperature and change the lid to a feeding lid for convenience and zero transfer of milk. Everything happens within a single container, minimising wastage and making every drop count.
Have sufficient and suitable storage space
You wouldn’t want your baby’s food to be stored just beside the minced meat and frozen fish in the freezer do you? What more if you’re pumping at work and having to store your milk in the shared pantry fridge that may have your colleague’s forgotten leftovers.
If you can’t afford the space for a separate freezer or mini fridge at home for breastmilk storage, at least designate a rack space in your main freezer compartment just for it. Keep raw food and other frozen stuff on other tiers.
At the office, store your breastmilk in bottles or bags that seal tightly like Hegen’s containers with a secure closure. For added safety, place these in a Ziploc bag or plastic container so that your stored breastmilk won’t come into direct contact with other people’s things (or hands).
Optimise your breastmilk storage
The worst thing that can happen is if your breastmilk bags burst or leak in storage or if you’re unable to maximise space in your freezer compartment due to odd shaped breastmilk containers.
With Hegen’s square shaped storage container-cum-feeding bottles, you can organise smartly by stacking them and snapping on the interconnecting buttons for enhanced stability, making use of every inch of your freezer space.
Food safety from the freezer to the fire
Make sure that your storage and breastmilk feeding bottles are safe to use in the freezer, bottle warmer, microwave, dishwasher and steriliser. If you’re using boiling water to soak and sterilise your containers, also make sure that it is safe to do so.
Not all plastics are created equal; some plastic containers leach a toxic chemical known as BPA, especially when subjected to heat. So check that your containers are not only BPA safe but can tolerate changes in temperature.
Hegen bottles are made of FDA compliant food-contact grade and NSF certified medical grade material. PPSU is widely used in the manufacturing of medical appliances due to its superior toughness and high temperature resistance. It combines the advantages of both glass and plastic materials; BPA-free and lightweight.