Storing Breast Milk
Because what is in your breast milk changes as your baby develops, it is best to use milk as soon as possible after pumping or expressing it. Also, the antioxidant and other protective properties are most important and beneficial to your baby when breast milk is fresh. The protective components of breast milk decrease with refrigeration and freezing.1 But stored breast milk is the next best thing to fresh breast milk as a complete and nutritious food source for your baby. Stored breast milk is still better for your baby than formula.
Breast milk can be stored and then used in the following ways:2
Safe storage tips
Follow these tips when you prepare breast milk for storage.
There is very little research about how safe it is to refrigerate and reuse breast milk left over from a previous feeding. But many experts say it is best to throw away any breast milk left in the bottle after a feeding.
Some people are concerned about bisphenol A (BPA), a chemical in some plastic (polycarbonate) bottles. A group of experts concluded that BPA may have some effect on the behavior, brain, and prostate gland of a developing baby (fetus) or young child.3 If you are concerned about BPA, don't use bottles marked with the number 7 or the letters "PC" near the recycle symbol. You can use glass or BPA-free plastic bottles instead. For more information about BPA, see the website www.hhs.gov/safety/bpa.
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