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Breastmilk: Pumping and Storing.

Breastmilk is an important source of nutrient for your baby but with the demand of today’s world, mommies are finding themselves having less and less time to spend with their babies and breastfeed them straight from the breast.

Food photo created by jcomp

Did you know that 39.2% of the current workforce in Malaysia consists of women?

That is equivalent to 6.18 million working women. According to the statistics reported by The Star, the numbers are increasing throughout the years as more and more young women starts their career pathways. Furthermore, 46% of that figure are mothers!

As you may be aware of, working mothers are famously known for their great ability to juggle hats between home and work.

Despite not having more time to spend with their growing children, being mothers, they definitely want only the best for their child. Hats off to you mommies!

Each working mother must have their own formula and planning when it comes to balancing their responsibilities. Most of them would tend to provide and prepare everything in advance. Even when it comes to breastfeeding.

Most pediatricians would recommend mothers to breastfeed their child up till 2 years old to get the best out of breastmilk nutrition.

Read more on what’s inside your breastmilk here:

As a result, you can expect a lot of working moms, those who are still nursing, to pump their breastmilk and store it for later.

Thanks to current technologies, pumping breastmilk has become much less a hassle so working moms are able provide best nutrition for their child while pursuing their dreams with ease.

Nowadays, a lot of babies are being sent to daycares or nanny centres because both parents are working. So, for babies and infants that are still feeding on breastmilk, their moms have provided their caretakers with storage bags full of it.

Note: Add your baby’s name when labelling your milk storage bags if you plan to give it to your baby’s caretakers.

If you are a new mother and plans to do the same once you have entered the workforce again after your postpartum period. Here are some information that is nice to know!

Pumping Breastmilk.

Pumping your breast can get the milk out for you to store. There is a myriad of breastpumps in the market, it is up to you to choose the one that works best for you. Among the types available, you can categorized them into two categories: manual or electric.

Manual Pump.

Manual breastpumps requires you to use your hand and energy to make the equipment work. You would need to use quite a lot of effort. Some may complaint about soreness in the hand and wrist after a session of pumping.

Even though it can be tiresome, manual pumping is a great way to empty your breast when you are away from your baby. You may consider this option if you are not away from your child a lot or if you think you are not required to pump frequently.

For your information, a handheld manual pumping device is much cheaper than an electric one if your budget is tight.

Manual pumps ranges from RM17 to RM200. Regardless, it gets the milk out and you will get a bit of an exercise!

Electric Pump.

Electric pump in the other hand works automatically with a press of a button. Nowadays electric pumps can be further categorized into two categories which is battery-powered or plugged-in.

Battery-powered breast pumps are portable unlike the plugged-in ones where you have to attached it to a electrical socket in order to get the motor working.

Some battery-powered breast pumps uses tubing to connect the motor and milk collector cups. Currently, rising in popularity are the wireless battery-powered breast pumps.

The wireless breast pumps are easier to use as you can just slip it onto your breast and pump away.

Electric pumps are much more convenient as they require little to no effort for milk expression but they cost more than manual breast pumps.

LacFree Wearable Breast Pump (1 Pcs)_0
Shapee’s handsfree breastpump. An example of wireless breast pump.

Hand Expression.

If by chance, you find yourself in a situation where you need to express milk but no breast pump is available to you at that moment, you can simply use your hand.

This may require a certain skill and practice but once you got a hang of it, it can work similarly to pumping.

Hand expression is basically using your hands to apply pressure to your breast to get the milk out. Make sure to wash your hands and clean your nipple are to prevent contaminating the breastmilk.

Steps on how to hand express:

  1. Place your thumb and index finger about 1 inch from each side of the nipple, making your fingers into a c-shape.
  2. Using the two fingers, push your breast back, compress it (pinch it) and then relax. Repeat doing so in a calm and steady manner.
  3. You may not get the milk out at first but if you continue doing it, you will start to see the droplets of milk coming out.

For better understanding, you can watch the video here to see how it is correctly done.

Video thumbnail for Hand Expression of Breastmilk

Tips on how to get the milk to start flowing:

1. Warm up your breast with a warm towel.

2. You can give your breast a little massage.

3. Rubbing your nipples gently.

4. Relax and try to visualize the milk flowing out.

Once you got the breastpump down, now to store the milk that you have collected.

For quick and easy use, you can use milk storage bags that are readily available online or in baby stores. These storage bags are designed specially for storing breastmilk.

Some are made with materials that allow it to be thawed and warmed together with the bag, so it is definitely easier for you.

If you are not into single-use milk storage bags, you can easily store your milk into clean storage cups.

Just transfer the milk from the milk collector cup into the storage cups for later use. There are several ways to store away your collected breastmilk.

Note: How long the breastmilk remains safe, and edible depends on which way you choose to store them.

On the table

At room temperature, your breastmilk can last up to 4 hours. However, it is not advised for Malaysian mums as the room temperature in Malaysia can exceed 30 degrees Celsius.

Unless your house is air-conditioned where the temperature is maintained at 25 degree Celsius and below, you may want to keep it the fridge instead.

In the fridge

Storing your breastmilk in the fridge can keep it usable up to 4 days.

Make sure to place the milk containers or storage bags at the back instead of the door of the fridge because the temperatures at the door area may fluctuate which may cause the milk to spoil.

In the freezer

If you are planning to keep your milk for a long time, you can freeze it in the freezer. The milk will remain edible up to 12 months but the milk quality may decrease over time.

Which means, the longer you keep it, the less nutrition it has. So, try to use it within 6 months.

Notes to remember:

  1. Throw out any leftover milk after feeding your baby.
  2. Do not keep it for later use or refreeze it.
  3. Do not fill the containers to the brim. Leave some space because the milk particle may expand when frozen.

We hope these tips and guides can help you prepare for your return to work.

Reference:
https://www.cdc.gov/breastfeeding/recommendations/handling_breastmilk.htm
https://www.laleche.org.uk/hand-expression-of-breastmilk/#:~:text=place%20for%20you.-,To%20express,milk%20forward%20towards%20your%20nipple

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