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Thread: Pumping, chilling, reheating?

  1. #1
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    Jan 2012
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    Default Pumping, chilling, reheating?

    So right now I'm pumping at work (Mon-Thursdays, every 3-4 hours). Whatever I pump goes into bottles for the next day when #3 stays with a babysitter or my husband. Pumped milk at work goes into a bag with ice packs, then into the fridge when I get home. Sitter/husband warms the milk to feed her. I usually put 4 oz in a bottle. She rarely takes all of it, but still only eats every 3 hours (except for in the evenings, when she likes to cluster feed).

    I've been reading conflicting things online about how long BM is good for. 10 hours after pumping at room temp, or should it be less? Can BM be heated, fed to baby, and whatever is left over be reused? Should it be chilled before reusing? Is it ok to heat it twice? How long is BM good for at room temp after it has been chilled and then reheated when baby was ready to eat? Sitter was telling me Monday and today that #3 is drinking all 4 oz each time, and seems to be eating more often, and she (sitter) thinks #3 needs more.

    Now, after reading, I think a full 6 oz will go to waste, esp since for husband yesterday she only took about 3 out of every 4 oz. It's just too much for her little belly. Can I tell babysitter to reuse whatever doesn't get eaten? I think I'm going to go back to the fridge and re-portioning the milk again. I don't want pum[ed milk to go to waste.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Aug 2011
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    Default Re: Pumping, chilling, reheating?

    The IBCLC that I see said she goes by "6-6-6" for BM storage - 6 hrs out, 6 days in the fridge, 6 mos in the freezer & it should be ok. She said that was kind of an average of the different time frames that you read/hear about. However, I think it is best to chill fresh pumped milk (that won't be fed to baby immediately) right away if you can. If you can't, it should be ok at room temp for at least a few hours. As far as the reheating, you're not really "supposed to", but I think usually it's fine to do within a few hours. I wouldn't save it for the next day or anything though. Not sure about chilling in between...

    How old is your baby? Breastfed babies usually take 1-1.5oz of milk for each hour of separation (this is true even for older/bigger babies). So if baby eats every 3 hrs, I wouldn't put more than 4.5oz in each bottle. My DD is 8 months old & we send (3) 4-4.5oz bottles for her while I'm at work (about 9 hrs). At the beginning she didn't finish them, but probably when she was about 4 mos old she started consistently finishing all of them. For smaller (younger) babies, smaller bottles (maybe 3oz-ish) more often sometimes works better than larger bottles less often. Maybe you could try that? With smaller bottles, your sitter/DH could always add more if baby is still hungry. 6oz every 3 hrs would be way too much though...she should not exceed the 1-1.5oz/hr...some breastfed babies will overeat from a bottle b/c it's so much less work than nursing! Just experiment a little, you'll find what works best for your baby!
    DD, 7-2-2011, "Little Owl" nursed for 21 months

    DS, 10-10-2013, "Mr. Man" EBF and going strong

  3. #3
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    Default Re: Pumping, chilling, reheating?

    If she usually takes 3 ounces at a time, why don't you just make 3 ounce bottles and keep an extra one or two ounce bottle in the fridge just in case? That way there is a little extra milk available in case she needs it, but you can either reuse it the next day or freeze it without worry if she ends up being satisfied with 3 ounce bottles you've left for the day.

    My son never took more than 3 ounces at a time until after his first birthday and he's super-chubby, so I wouldn't worry about the smaller bottles being inadequate.

  4. #4
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    Default Re: Pumping, chilling, reheating?

    You should only leave Breastmilk on the freezer for 3 months unless you have a deepfreeze separate. Then 6 months is ok. And it's up 8hours at room temperature. However BM that has been exposed to a childs mouth should NOT be stored for reuse as bacteria can colonize in the milk from exposure to salivia. If the child is eating a bottle it can be left out for 2-3 hours. Anything not consumed in that time frame should be tossed. I agree with PP. Store and serve in smaller increments. More can always be heated up. But then you don't risk losing or contaminating the milk.

    Way too lazy for formula

  5. #5
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    Default Re: Pumping, chilling, reheating?

    I pump and don't chill my milk until I get home, which means my 1st session of the day is at room temperature for 8-9 hours. Never had a problem. Some days when I am stuck on the train it has been over 10 hours. Fine fine fine.

    We don't feed warm bottles to our babies, never had. Room temperature. Or cold if they are very hungry and one is not ready. My DH takes milk from the fridge and sits it on the counter about an hour before feeding.

    Unused milk does not need to thrown out-keep at room temperature and feed at next feeding.

    Agree with PP-make smaller bottles, especially if your baby is consisntently drinking less than 4oz.
    Full time working Mom to 3, DH is my hero as a SAHD:
    DS July'09, nursed for 12 weeks
    DD1 & DD2 April'11, tandem nursed for 16 months

  6. #6
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    Default Re: Pumping, chilling, reheating?

    Quote Originally Posted by @llli*toddlerandtwins View Post
    Unused milk does not need to thrown out-keep at room temperature and feed at next feeding.
    Where are you getting this information? And for how long are you suggesting that milk can be kept at room temperature and then fed if it's touched a childs mouth?

    Way too lazy for formula

  7. #7
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    Default Re: Pumping, chilling, reheating?

    On here.
    I used to toss milk left in the bottle with my son. I thought the same guidelines applied as to formula (use within 1 hour or toss).
    I don't have time to search for links, but I have seen here on many threads about not tossing extra milk and to use at the next feeding. It's what I do (or did since my girls drink everything) and will do again.
    Full time working Mom to 3, DH is my hero as a SAHD:
    DS July'09, nursed for 12 weeks
    DD1 & DD2 April'11, tandem nursed for 16 months

  8. #8
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    Default Re: Pumping, chilling, reheating?

    Other posts (not mine) that say the same thing:
    I wouldn't let them toss it, but instead ask if they can offer it at the next snack time.
    Maybe just one sippy cup with 4oz. What he doesn't finish, they can put back in the fridge. I can't believe they've been throwing it out!!
    Instruct the caregiver to feed on demand and do not toss out the milk! Save it for next feeding or send it home.

    If we are incorrect then I hope a LLleader stops in to set the record straight.
    Full time working Mom to 3, DH is my hero as a SAHD:
    DS July'09, nursed for 12 weeks
    DD1 & DD2 April'11, tandem nursed for 16 months

  9. #9
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    Default Re: Pumping, chilling, reheating?

    It is my understanding (and I could very well be wrong, so please correct me if that is the case) that technically milk left over from a feeding should be thrown out. However, if your baby has a healthy immune system then it is extremely unlikely that using that milk for the next feeding will actually cause any kind of problem. This makes sense in that the bacteria that are culturing in the milk are part of the baby's normal mouth flora and are unlikely to cause disease except in some extraordinary circumstances. That said, I would probably refrigerate such milk as cold temperatures can inhibit or at least slow reproduction in many bacteria species. I also probably wouldn't reuse milk for a newborn younger than 6 weeks (of course I have no evidenced based reasoning for that, but because the immune system and normal flora is fairly underdeveloped at this time it seems like the safe thing to do).

    I still think making smaller bottles and keeping one or two "just in case" bottles (I used to use a couple of those little two ounce sized bottles filled with between 1-2 ounces of milk) is a better way to go than re-feeding milk aside from any of the above because you can always freeze the "just in case" bottles to add to your freezer stash if they don't get used and there is less worry about potential overfeeding.

    ETA: I just wanted to note that I noticed you were asking for an LLL leader to clarify, which I'm not - so I'm sorry for the intrusion. I do have a reasonable background in bacterial ecology and evolution, but most of my knowledge involves bacterial communities isolated from marine sediments. So please don't think that any of what I've said is definitive in any way shape or form - it's just what I've gleaned from what I've read regarding milk storage guideline paired with my limited background knowledge.
    Last edited by @llli*phi; March 15th, 2012 at 01:47 PM.

  10. #10
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    Default Re: Pumping, chilling, reheating?

    in one of the LLL publications, i saw the advice to simply treat breastmilk as food - which it is! - and that we should just use our common sense on safe food handling practices. suddenly all the conflicting times made sense to me - different people will vary in their approach to food handling as well, and it seems (as phi says above) that if your baby has a healthy immune system, it's unlikely that pushing the envelope a little will hurt.

    that publication (is it womanly art? I think so; either that or Dr Sears) also said that theoretically you could pile all the storage maximums on top of each other: 6 hours out, then 6 days in the fridge, then 6 months in a deep freeze - although that seems to be pushing your luck to me. it generally advised that you can cut some corners but not to pile too many cut-corners on top of each other.

    my DH (primary caregiver during the day) just tastes the milk; he can tell right off if it's bad. he can refrigerate and re-heat fresh milk, but if it's been frozen, thawed, heated, it will sour on re-heat.

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