Breastmilk, the perfect food for your baby. But what if you’re unable to nurse? The milk is there, but because of circumstance or physiology, nursing isn’t an option. Perhaps your baby was premature and not able yet to latch, or in the NICU. Perhaps your baby has a cleft palate, or is tongue tied, maybe you have inverted nipples. For many women here in the US, the early return to the work place after giving birth precipitates early introduction of bottle feeding sometimes to the detriment of breastfeeding. There are a multitude of reasons why a mother may have to pump exclusively.  Our lactation consultants can help. In this post Daisy Eickhoff, IBCLC, provides these tips:

1. Top recommendation? A good electric breast pump

Pumping the breasts to give expressed milk to baby instead of breastfeeding requires a commitment of time and a GOOD double electric breast pump. (These can be bought or rented from the Desert Cradle).

2. Pumping routines should follow the baby’s feeding pattern

And in the first months requires mother to pump 8 – 10 times each day with no more then 5 hours between pumping sessions once each 24 hours.

3. How long can I store breast milk?

Milk can be stored in the fridge for up to 5 days but once baby has had some from the bottle it cannot be saved for a later feeding. Breast milk can also be stored in the freezing compartment of your refrigerator, thawed quickly and given to baby. It is best to freeze in small quantities of from 2 – 4 oz so it thaws quickly.

4. Label and date the breast milk

Always label the breast milk so you use the older milk first. Once the milk has been thawed it should be stored in the refrigerator and discarded 24 hours later if not used.

5. Can I warm the breast milk in the microwave?

Breast milk out of the refrigerator can be warmed by placing the bottle in a cup of hot water – NEVER warm in the microwave.

6. How can I keep the breast pump clean and sanitary?

Keep your breast pump kit parts clean and wash soon after each use. Breast milk is a protein and can dry on the plastic parts of the pump making it very difficult to get the pump clean. Clean with hot soaping water and rinse well letting dry in the air in a clean area. You may want to sterilize your pump parts occasionally; there are microwave bags for this if your pump kit parts cannot be placed in a dishwasher.

7. What if my milk supply declines?

There are occasions when milk supply declines sometimes due to stressors in mother’s life, illness, change in normal routines, or addition of birth control pills. Progesterone only birth control pills are less likely to affect milk supply. If you should experience a decrease in your milk supply, try the following things: Pump more frequently, keep yourself well hydrated, well nourished and perhaps decrease commitments that are stressing you. Take a day for yourself and baby and pump, pump, pump.

Tucson Medical Center  was awarded the International Board of Lactation Constultant Examiners and the International Lactation Consultant Association  Care Award, for the excellence demonstrated in staffing International Board Certified Lactation Consultants (IBCLCs) as part of your maternal-child health care team, and for breastfeeding activities  that demonstrate promotion, protection, and support of breastfeeding. Including dedicated care by IBCLCs provides premier breastfeeding support by highly skilled health professions for the families at TMC.  The project that assisted in our achieving this award was the Neonatal Intensive Care Breastfeeding Follow-Up Program.

Reposted from TMC for Children.