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Breastfeeding Basics

Content by: Erin (Nugent) Bern, RD

New moms have so much to look forward to... and learn! Read more on the basics and a few guidelines for breastmilk, pumping and milk storage.

💡 Features: Mother, Baby, Nursing, Feeding, Bottle, Do's and Don'ts of Pumping and Handling Breast Milk
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Breastfeeding Basics


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Maintaining proper sanitation and care of breastmilk is important to the baby. Read a few basics for breastfeeding, breastmilk, storage and thawing.

Learn to Use Your Pump!
✅ Breast pumps are an important tool to maintain your milk supply while separated from your baby. Pumping assures that you can continue providing valuable breastmilk to your baby when away.
✅ There are various types of pumps: manual, electric and battery options.
✅ Be sure to read the user manual of your pump before returning to work and get additional information by seeking out instructional videos either on your pump’s website.

Basic of pumping steps:
1. After assembling the pump, check your flange (also called a breast shield) size. It should create a seal around the nipple and areola.
2. The pump will begin with a rapid suction cycle to help stimulate a letdown.
3. Once milk is flowing freely into your milk collection container, most pumps have a letdown button to press that changes from the stimulation phase to the expression phase.
4. Choose the setting that is most comfortable for you. Remember, increasing the suction level does not equate to greater milk output.
5. Most pump parts need to be changed out on a regular basis. NOTE: Review your user manual for cleaning instructions and expiration dates on your parts!

When using thawed breastmilk:
1. Hold at room temperature for no more than 2 hours.
2. Store in refrigerator for no more than 24 hours.
3. When pumping at work, place expressed milk in the refrigerator immediately after pumping or place it in an insulated bag/cooler with an ice pack.
4. Label milk with the date it was pumped before placing in the freezer.
5. Pay attention to dates when unthawing milk. Practice first in first out.
6. Safely thaw frozen milk by placing it in a bowl of warm water or refrigerate overnight.
6. Gently swirl milk after thawing to mix in the fatty parts that have separated.
7. Never microwave milk! Microwaving can create hot pockets that potentially burn your baby’s mouth. Microwaving also breaks down nutrients in the milk.

Quick Tip!

❓Did you know the back of the refrigerator offers improved consistency of cooling temperature?

❗️ To make sure your breastmilk remains at a more constant temperature, store at the back of a refrigerator.

Storage Guidelines:
Take care of your baby...even at work!
💞 Store breastmilk at room temperature only for a maximum of 4 hours.
💞 Store breastmilk in the refrigerator for up to 4 days.
💞 Store breastmilk in the freezer (with its own door) for up to 6 months

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