Yesterday, we were peppered with questions about the recent study from the Nationwide Children't Hospital about the likelihood of breast milk purchased over the internet being contaminated. While this has garnered a lot of media attention, it might also be leaving potential Milk Bank Donors wondering how to safely collect and store breast milk.
Here are some tips:
- Wash your hands. Wash your pumping parts. Wash anything that comes into contact with your breasts. Wash them after each pumping session with warm soapy water, dry them with a paper towel and sterilize them once a day. We know washing all those parts is such a hassle but trust us here. Washing works!
- Pump and store your precious breast milk in a clean container designed for breast milk. Milk storage bags or bottles work best. Did you know IMMB can provide bags. For Free!
- I BEG you. Please do not overfill milk storage bags. If the bag says it can hold 5 ounces, only put 5 ounces or less in it. Breast milk expands as it freezes and if the storage bag is over filled the seams can burst and because the milk is stored frozen, we won't know until it's thawed.
- Label it. Make sure to write the date the milk was pumped. This ensure that your freezer stash gets donated and/or used (hooray!) before it expires. Milk stored in a side-by-side or top freezer can be donated 6 months from the date it was pumped. Milk stored in a chest or deep freezer can be donated 8 months from the pump date.
- If you are sick, tell us! If you have to be on a medication, call us! If someone in your family who would be near you while pumping is ill, send us an email! Not that your milk will automatically be contaminated but knowing what's going on will help us ensure that the teeny tiny babies we serve stay well.
Donating breast milk is an act of love and we know that our generous donors would never what to harm a child and in most cases are using the milk they pump for their own child. If you have a question, please feel free to join in on the conversation on Twitteror Facebook.