Pumping and Storing Breast Milk

You really want to breastfeed and you don’t want to rely on formula milk at any time. But life is not that easy all the time and it’s full of commitments and times when you will not be able to be with your child to provide him with breast milk when needed.


In this article, we will explain to you in a simple way how to pump and store breast milk so your child can benefit from optimal nutrition even when you are away and they are left in the loving care of trusted others.

Basics of milk expression

  • When using the pump, milk production starts usually with drops, then flow increases gradually. It comes in forms during pumping, starting with more fluidity followed by increased nutritional concentration.
  • The amount of expressed milk is not the same all the time, morning quantities seem to be higher than evening quantities. You may see a layer of fat on the top of expressed milk.
  • The container should be sealed directly after milk expression and should be labeled with the date and time, therefore the milk expressed first should be used first.
  • Keep quantities of expressed milk of each meal in separate containers.
  • Recurrent warming should be avoided and the remaining milk should be used for 2 hours after feeding or discarded thereafter.
  • In order to maintain sufficient supply try to express breast milk every 2-3 hours.

Criteria selecting the right pump

A good breast pump is the one that effectively activates the production of breast milk and empties the breast from milk.

Please note that the most effective breast pump isn’t necessarily the most expensive. It should be easy to use, comfortable and harmless to the mother and all its parts should be easy to clean.

As we stated earlier, before using the pump, start by putting warm compresses on the breast along with breast massage stimulating the nipples to promote milk flow.

Breast pumping may seem hard at first but most working moms say it improves with time, and the benefits are definitely worth the effort.

Breast milk storage

Breast milk is sterile and it contains several types of antimicrobial agents, so it can be stored at room temperature for longer periods of time than formula milk. It can be stored for 6-8 hours at room temperature of 24C or less.

It can also be stored in the refrigerator for up to 5-6 days but should not be placed in the refrigerator door. You can also store milk in the freezer for a period of 6-12 months. If the milk is cool when taken out of the fridge, leave it to warm up to room temperature, and stir with a spoon first to mix the fatty components of the milk.

Thawing breast milk

Use warm running water or put the milk in a pot of warm water.

Remember! Milk should not be warmed in boiling water or in water that is close to boiling. Do not use the microwave to thaw milk. Gently shake the milk after it’s thawed to mix milk components without affecting its effectiveness. You can re-cool the thawed milk in the refrigerator for up to 24 hours. Thawed milk should be used within 10 hours if left at room temperature.

Also, proper storage in the freezer should be ensured to avoid taking out greater quantities of milk than is needed.

How much milk does a child need during the day

The amount of milk needed for your baby is directly proportional to age and inversely proportional to complementary solid food given after the age of six months:

  • Before 6 months of age, your baby needs about 940 ml per day,
  • From 7 to 10 months your baby needs 875 ml per day (93% of the calorie requirement).
  • From 11 to 16 months, your baby needs  550 ml per day (50% of the daily requirement of calories).

How can you maintain a sufficient milk supply?

  • Milk production can be better stimulated by frequent breastfeeding for longer periods of time, by increasing the frequency of milk expression, and by giving a bottle of expressed milk as little as possible by using smaller size nipples, less milk quantities, in order to give the baby a chance to leave the bottle. Also avoid using the bottle to calm your baby.


  • To ensure the continuity of the milk production, you need to keep in mind the basic components of the milk while taking your own nutritious food, which are water, protein and fat as well as some foods and herbs that stimulate milk production, and avoid those which reduce milk production.


  • Effectively express milk and send only the quantity that has been expressed the previous day with your baby, as feeding on the small amounts during the day makes the baby suckle large quantities during the following night. On the other hand if additional amounts of stock are used, your baby will suckle less, and this will induce a drop in milk production.


  • Avoid factors that reduce milk production such as anti-congestion medications, compound contraceptive pills, illness, and psychological tension and pressure.


  • Co-sleeping at night leads to increased duration of sleep as well as increased breastfeeding at night which reduces the baby’s needs for the breast in the next day, especially for working mothers who cannot express the required amount of milk during working hours.


  • Express breast milk immediately after each feed.


  • Remember not to give your baby an amount of milk that is greater than the amount you express at a time

Did you find this helpful?

5 people found this helpful

Want to share your opinion?

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *