An insight

Breast milk banksis indicative of commitment on mother's part and ideal nourishment from baby's perspective. The inherent immune properties of mother's milk protect the Feeding babies milk as well as keeps bacteria and antigens from flourishing while it is stored in refrigerators.

Containers for storing milk :

The precious mother's milk should be storage of human milk in containers that preserve the milk well with all its valuable ingredients and provide absolute convenience for caregivers to transport properly. Soft containers like plastic bags and hard containers made of glass or plastic are ideal choices.

Leukocytes, the live cells in milk responsible for transferring immunity from mother to baby clings to glass containers' sides resulting in loss of antibodies and milk fat. This ratio is higher in plastic bags. So, care is to be exercised and two thin plastic bags should be used to protect against freezer burn or breakage and bags are to be twisted tied.

Sturdy plastic bags specially designed for preserving milk's components and freezing expressed mother's milk should be used. They have self closures that make them easy to label and seal and can be attached directly to pumps. Hard sided plastic containers devoid of cloudy appearance are best for protecting inherent nutrients and immunities of human milk.

Safe storage of milk :

Bags carrying Feeding babies milk should be stored inside another protective container while kept in freezer which also facilitates easy handling. The package should not be allowed to lay down in freezer container to avoid quick thawing. They should be well sealed to avoid leakages. All hard containers should be placed together in a larger plastic container inside freezer.

Human milk can be safely stored in refrigerator for maximum eight days without compromising on nutrient content. Eight days old milk has lower bacterial levels compared to freshly expressed milk. Baby is to be given oldest content on priority basis to keep the supply in rotation. Thawed milk should never be frozen back.

Safe transportation of human milk banking :

Bacteria do not readily flourish and proliferate in human milk and as such the milk can be safely kept at room temperature for up to six hours or more. Inability to rush the human milk immediately after expressing to the refrigerator is not a cause of worry. The milk however should be refrigerated as quickly as possible to keep it cool while transporting to home or caregiver's place. An insulated container that has reusable carry ice can be used instead.

Milk that have exceeded a period of eight days being kept in refrigerator should be transferred to storage of human milk banking in the freezer or discarded. Apart from being vulnerable to bacteria, the milk picks up odors from the environment. Thawed milk loses most of its immune properties that prevents bacterial growth.

Availability of refrigerator space at workplace may come in handy as milk can be stored there until the work hours get over and then it can be safely transported back home.

The milk's essential nutrients can be preserved for long by adhering to above methods.

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