The 5 Most Important Reasons to Breastfeed

Breastfeeding can be challenging. While it’s a natural process, that doesn’t make it an easy one. Many new moms struggle with getting the hang of it, and it can be frustrating and disappointing. Although a rough start to breastfeeding can lead many moms to throw in the towel, remember that there are very good reasons to push forward. You are making an excellent choice for your baby as well as for yourself. Check out this list if you need a reminder of why it’s worth every minute of the struggle.

1. Building Baby’s Immune System

Formula can’t give your baby the antibodies needed to stay healthy in the first few months of life. Until around 3 months old, your baby’s body isn’t yet capable of producing its own antibodies, so breast milk is the only source. Even beyond the first months, the incredible combination of nutrients found only in breast milk will continue to strengthen your baby’s immune system. This means fewer colds, infections and other illnesses to make your baby (and you) miserable. It also means that those illnesses your baby does contract will likely be over faster and less severe, as your baby’s body is better able to fight it off.

2. Protecting Baby’s Future Health

Breastfeeding has been connected with a lower risk of a number of conditions later in life. Breastfed babies are less likely to obese, and less likely to be diagnosed with diabetes. They have a lower incidence of asthma, allergies and other respiratory issues. Breast milk has also been connected with a lower risk of childhood leukemia.

3. Providing Your Baby with the Perfect Nutrition

Breast milk is not just the perfect baby food; it’s the perfect food for your baby. Every woman produces breast milk that is designed specifically for her own baby’s needs. The balance of nutrition and composition changes over time, meeting the ever-changing needs of your baby’s growing body. This is something formula just isn’t capable of doing. While formula is one size fits all, breast milk is tailored perfectly for the baby it is being made to feed.

4. Protecting Your Health

The newest research indicates that breastfeeding isn’t only beneficial to the baby. Mothers who breastfeed have a lower chance of both breast and ovarian cancer. It also encourages postpartum weight loss, and research shows that not only do breastfeeding mothers lose more weight; they also keep it off better than non-breastfeeding mothers. Despite previous concerns about calcium being leached from the bones of breastfeeding mothers, the newest evidence suggests that breastfeeding actually strengthens bones and results in a lower chance of osteoporosis later in life.

5. Keeping Your Budget in Check

Have you looked at the price of formula recently? It’s expensive, and it adds up fast. Not only does breast milk save you a lot of money on formula, but also on bottles, nipples, washing and sterilizing equipment and probably on laundry too – formula spit up tends to stain while breast milk spit up doesn’t.

Whenever you feel like breastfeeding is just too hard, remember all of these important reasons to carry on. You are doing something incredible for your baby and for yourself, and you will see the benefits for many years to come. Although there may be hurdles to overcome as you settle in to breastfeeding, they will soon be a thing of the past. These benefits however, will last a lifetime.

Breastfeeding for Working Moms

Returning to work can be a difficult challenge for moms who would like to continue breastfeeding their baby. In addition to fitting work and family time into your busy schedule, you must now add pumping and cleaning of bottles and pump parts. But if you can manage to find a way, continuing to breastfeed your baby after returning to work is a healthy choice for your little one.

Continued Health Benefits and Immunity

Unless you are one of the lucky few who have a family member able to watch your baby, or can afford a nanny in your home, odds are your baby will be going to daycare when you go back to work. This means baby will be exposed to a lot more germs than at home with you. The antibodies and nutrients a baby receives from breast milk mean a stronger immune system, which could keep your baby from getting sick. While it does take extra time to pump and provide breast milk for your baby, it’s nothing compared to the time you will lose from work if you have to be at home with a sick infant.

In addition to keeping baby’s immune system strong, the longer you breastfeed, the more of the other health benefits your baby will receive. Especially if you are going back to work fairly soon after baby is born, continued breastfeeding until at least 4 months of age will give your baby a good start on the path to health.

Pumping at Work

One of the biggest challenges working moms face is finding both a time and place to pump at work. If you don’t have a private office and don’t want to use the restroom, ask your boss if there is a meeting room or other private space where you can close the door and pump. Some moms also use their car to pump, which might be difficult depending on what your parking space is like.

If you don’t have access to a refrigerator at work in which to store the pumped milk, keep a cooler filled with ice in the trunk of your car. You can safely store your milk there until you get it home. A small cooler bag with an ice pack or two kept near your desk works great too. Cleaning up the pump parts after use can be difficult if all you have access to is a restroom sink. There are convenient wipes you can use to clean the parts quickly, and give them a wash at home – or, keep the parts cold along with the milk until you get home.

Compromises are Ok

If you are really struggling to provide enough breast milk for your baby while working, don’t let it become a source of major stress for you. It’s ok to supplement with formula. Breastfeeding isn’t an all or nothing proposition. Whatever amount of breast milk your baby receives will help. If you choose to use formula during the day and nurse in the evenings, that is ok! You have a lot to deal with, so don’t feel bad if you have to make compromises.

Every bit of breast milk your baby receives will help, so do your best to continue some level of breastfeeding when you return to work, if you can. There is no doubt that it is a challenge that requires some effort and ingenuity, but the benefits to your baby are well worth it.

Dealing with Pain and Engorgement

Especially in the early weeks of breastfeeding, you may experience swelling and tenderness of the breasts. As your milk comes in, your breasts will become engorged and full of milk, and it will take a little while for your body to regulate milk production so this doesn’t happen all the time.

Breastfeeding is supply and demand – the more your baby nurses, the more milk your body produces. In the first weeks, your body needs to figure out how much milk it needs to make in order to meet your baby’s needs. This process usually begins with a lot of milk being produced, but soon the production will settle down to the right level. In the meantime, there are some steps you can take to ease the discomfort.

Relieving Engorgement

The quickest way to relieve engorgement is to let the baby nurse. If baby is sleeping or not hungry, you can express a small amount of milk to take some of the pressure off, but use caution. Expressing too much will tell the body that the baby needs more, setting off higher levels of milk production and making the engorgement worse! The best way to express only a small amount of milk is to do it by hand, avoiding the breast pump. Try taking a warm shower and gently massaging the breasts until the milk lets down. Just the warm water and massage will ease the pain, even if no milk is released. However, if you can get a small amount of milk to come out this way, it will also take off some of the pressure.

Use warm compresses prior to nursing and cold compresses in between feedings to bring down the swelling. Using a cold compress prior to nursing will make it difficult for the milk to let down for baby. A great way to make a cold compress is to put some water in a newborn size diaper and put it in the freezer. Then, simply slip one into each side of your bra for soothing relief. Some women also use cabbage leaves as compresses to relieve engorgement.

Other Sources of Pain

Not all pain during nursing is caused by engorgement. Your nipples may become painful, red and crack or even bleed, especially as they get used to nursing. Lanolin ointments can help to relieve the dryness and cracking. Cold compresses will also help with pain. Make sure to gently clean nipples after nursing and allow them to dry before putting your bra back on to help prevent further problems.

Mastitis, a painful infection of the milk ducts, can occur anytime during breastfeeding, but is most common in the early months. It happens when a milk duct becomes clogged and it is not relieved quickly. Avoid mastitis by making sure to empty the breast completely, nursing baby on both sides equally, and dealing with any sign of a blocked duct quickly. If you notice a tender spot on the breast, a hard area where engorgement is not relieved in spite of nursing, or a general feeling of pain in the breast, you may have a blocked duct. Massage the area gently, apple heat, and allow the baby to nurse regularly to free the blockage. If you notice redness, swelling, or the pain does not go away within a few days, contact your doctor.

Some pain and discomfort during the early stages of breastfeeding is normal, and should resolve within a couple of months. With careful treatment and precautions, you can avoid most breastfeeding pain. However, don’t hesitate to call your doctor if you have continuing problems.

Getting Started with Breastfeeding

Breastfeeding is the best thing you can possibly do for your baby to promote good health and nutrition. If you want to give it a try, you are making a great choice for your infant’s health, but it can be a bit daunting at first. It seems as though breastfeeding should be the most natural thing in the world, and many new moms are surprised and disappointed when it is difficult or challenging. Hang in there – with time, practice, and a little help, you will soon be a breastfeeding pro.

The First Feedings

If you have a normal, vaginal delivery you will likely be able to put your newborn to the breast right away, but don’t expect too much. Your baby will be very tired from the birth process and may fall asleep rather than putting too much effort into eating. Full-term babies are born with the sucking reflex, which allows them to eat whether from breast or bottle. Your baby does have the ability to suck at the breast, but may take a little time to figure out how to latch on properly.

Over the first few days of life, you will spend a lot of time practicing latching on with baby. A proper latch is the key to successful breastfeeding, so if you are experiencing trouble with it such as pain or baby coming off the breast repeatedly, ask for help. The best time to get help with early stages of breastfeeding is while you are still in the hospital. The nurses in the maternity ward can offer you a great deal of knowledge and experience. There should also be a specialist in the area of breastfeeding, called a lactation consultant, who can provide help and support if getting started is tough.

During the early feedings, baby won’t be getting large amounts of milk, but the first milk that your breasts produce is vital to baby’s good health. Colostrum, the early milk, is filled with nutrients and antibodies that will protect your baby. Although it has become common to offer a newborn formula as a supplement to the small amounts of colostrum, it isn’t really necessary. Your baby doesn’t need to eat that much in the first 24-48 hours, and the weight loss that can scare some new parents into adding formula is actually normal for newborns. So don’t worry – your baby is getting enough to eat.

Dealing with Engorgement and Pain

It will take a while for your milk supply to truly come in, probably a few days. When it does, you might experience an uncomfortable feeling of fullness in the breasts, known as engorgement. This will settle down as the baby establishes breastfeeding and your body adjusts to the amount of milk needed. There are a few ways to deal with engorgement. Some women use warm compresses to soothe the breasts. You can also express some of the milk, either with a breast pump or even by hand to release the pressure. Remember though that the more milk you express, the more your body will think is needed for the baby, so it could perpetuate engorgement.

Early on, you might experience pain, redness and even cracking of the nipples. Some of this is normal; your body is adjusting to the new process. But continued pain is not normal and often is a sign that baby is not latching on properly. If you can’t seem to get the right latch, make an appointment to see a lactation consultant, who can help you get it figured out. In the meantime, apply lanolin to soothe the nipples and make sure you dry them thoroughly after a feeding.

Breastfeeding is not always easy, but it is well worth sticking out the first weeks for the long-term health of your baby. Most women won’t have problems once it is established, but if you do, talk to your doctor and get some help.

Proper Handling of Breast Milk and Formula

Because your baby’s system is very delicate, caution should be used when handling and preparing bottles of both breast milk and formula for your baby. Cleanliness and attention to temperature are vitally important steps in feeding your baby a safe, healthy bottle.

Handling Breast Milk

When pumping breast milk, be sure to wash everything thoroughly, including your hands before handling pump parts and bottles. Pumped breast milk can be left out at room temperature for some time, from four hours to up to 8 hours. Fresh breast milk contains the highest level of nutrition, as some compounds can be damaged by cold temperatures. If your baby will be feeding soon, it’s best to leave it out. If you aren’t planning to use pumped breast milk soon however, you should get it into the fridge immediately, or freeze it for later use. Breast milk can be kept in the fridge for up to 5 days.

While it’s normal to shake up a bottle of formula to dissolve powder into water, you should never shake breast milk. Shaking can damage the delicate molecules and affect the composition of breast milk. You will notice that the fat separates and sits on top of the milk when it is refrigerated. This is normal. The best way to recombine the fat into the milk is to wait until the milk is warmed and then gently swirl it around. This will provide enough agitation to get the fat back into the milk without damaging it.

Once you have thawed breast milk that has been frozen, you should not refreeze it. Frozen breast milk is good for about 3 months in the freezer section of your fridge, and 6 months in a deep freezer.

Handling Formula

Formula is a little different from breast milk. As long as it remains unmixed, powdered formula is good for quite a while. Check the expiration date on the can to know how long it will be ok unopened – an open can is good for about a month. Once mixed, however, formula has a shorter shelf life. A bottle of mixed formula should not be left out at room temperature for longer than an hour, and should be discarded after 48 hours in the fridge.

Always mix formula according to the manufacturers directions. Formula should not be diluted with extra water. The best choice for mixing formula is water that has been boiled and then cooled.

Tips for Bottle Feeding

Whether the bottle contains formula or breast milk, you should always discard what is left in the bottle after feeding. Bacteria can get into the bottle from baby’s mouth and cause the leftover liquid to go bad, so don’t save it for a later feeding.

Bottles should be warmed carefully using a bottle warmer or warm water. Never microwave a bottle as it can create dangerous hot spots in the liquid and lead to burns. Microwaving breast milk can also damage its composition. Don’t forget to test the temperature of the liquid inside the bottle – feeling the outside of the bottle is not an accurate measure of how hot the breast milk or formula inside might be.

Make sure that the bottles and nipples are clean and sterile before adding the breast milk or formula, and wash everything in clean soapy water after use. If you dump the leftovers immediately after a feeding, the likelihood of it being fed to baby by accident will be lessened. Also, you can wash the bottle immediately before the contents can start to go bad.

How Breastfeeding Benefits Mom and Baby

In recent years, study after study has come out revealing a huge number of reasons why breastfeeding is the best choice for a newborn baby. Not only does it have many health benefits for the baby, new research is now proving it’s healthy for the mom as well. Making the choice to breastfeed your baby is without a doubt the best thing you can do for both of you.

Breastfeeding and Nutrition

Breast milk is a complex liquid; it comprises an incredible number of vitamins, minerals, and antibodies that your baby simply can’t get anywhere else. In spite of improvements to formula over the years, it is still light years away from matching what nature has created for your baby.

In addition to providing compounds that can’t be replicated, breast milk is created by the body to meet the specific needs of your baby. Studies have shown that the composition of breast milk changes over time as your baby’s nutritional needs change with growth. The body even adjusts the content of the breast milk to meet the needs of a baby born prematurely. Thus, your particular breast milk is the best possible baby food for your particular baby.

Benefits for the Baby

The benefits to breastfeeding your baby are numerous, and more are being discovered all the time. Breast milk is the only source of antibodies in the first months of life, when baby’s body isn’t yet able to produce them. This means that a breastfed baby will have greater protection against illness. Even when baby’s body does start to produce antibodies, the breast milk will continue to provide immune support. Breastfed babies suffer fewer colds and other common childhood illnesses than babies who are formula fed.

Breastfed babies are also less likely to develop a number of health problems later in life, including obesity, respiratory problems including asthma, allergies, leukemia, diabetes and many more. Studies have also indicated that breastfeeding reduces the chances of SIDS.

Breast milk is easier for a baby’s delicate digestive system to handle, so it may also reduce problems with gas, constipation and reflux.

Benefits for the Mother

New research shows that mothers who breastfeed have lower incidences of postpartum depression. They are also at a lower risk of both breast and ovarian cancer. In addition to these major health benefits, breastfeeding can help a new mother to lose the extra baby weight faster, as the production of breast milk burns calories.

The benefits aren’t just health ones either. Breastfeeding saves a large amount of money over having to purchase formula, which can be very expensive. You also won’t have to purchase bottles, nipples, or sterilizing products – nor will you have to spend time on the process of sterilization. This can be a huge benefit in the middle of the night, when you can simply feed baby without having to go make a bottle and get it to the right temperature.

One of the biggest benefits of breastfeeding for both mom and baby is the special bond that it creates. The time spent nursing your baby will become a special quiet time that you will cherish. Studies have shown that the skin-on-skin contact is beneficial to baby’s growth and development as well. For this reason, a system of skin contact known as “kangaroo care” has been implemented in hospitals with premature babies who are not yet able to nurse. Premature babies who get kangaroo care tend to do better than those who do not. Your baby can get the same benefits from time spent breastfeeding.

Feeding Your Baby Breast Milk in a Bottle

For many women who choose to breastfeed, there will come a time when you might want to give baby a bottle of pumped breast milk, or have someone else take over a feeding that way. There is nothing wrong with giving your breastfed baby a bottle either occasionally or even regularly. Breast milk is the same no matter what the source. You might find, however, that your baby is resistant to the bottle, so take it slowly and follow these tips.

Breast Milk in a Bottle – Pick Your Timing

Most breastfeeding experts recommend against giving a breastfed baby a bottle in the first few weeks of life. During this time, baby and you are establishing breastfeeding, both learning the necessary skills and also getting your milk supply regulated.

Because sucking from a bottle requires a different mechanism of the baby’s mouth to extract milk than does nursing, babies who are given bottles in the first weeks of life may have more difficulty learning to latch on to the breast properly, or may prefer the bottle because it is easier to get milk from. Giving a bottle too early can be detrimental to the long-term success of breastfeeding.

Although you may have heard that giving the baby a bottle earlier will make it more likely to be accepted, it isn’t worth the risk of damaging the process of establishing proper nursing.

Choosing the Right Bottle

When selecting bottles for breast milk, look for a wide mouth bottle with a larger nipple. These wider nipples are designed to feel more like the breast to the baby, making it more likely that your baby will accept the bottle. You might also want to consider choosing bottles that attach directly to your breast pump for convenience, but these are often not the wide mouth type. Some pumps do have a converter that allows you to use the wide mouth bottles on the pump.

Feeding Breast Milk in a Bottle for the First Time

Don’t be surprised if baby refuses the bottle the first time you try. Remember that this is a new experience, and your baby has no idea what a bottle is! Keep it familiar by feeding baby in the same position in which you normally nurse, slightly modified. If you use a nursing pillow, you should also use it for bottle feeding. Try to warm the bottle to a temperature very close to breast milk from the body – you can estimate this better if you test freshly pumped breast milk to know how it feels. You may have more success if you attempt bottle feeding when the baby is very hungry and searching for food, but beware that this might also cause frustration for the baby who is looking for the breast and instead finds the bottle.

Odds are that once baby discovers that the bottle contains the same milk as the breast, you won’t have much trouble with feeding your baby breast milk in a bottle. To encourage this, try putting some breast milk on the outside of the nipple so that when you touch it to baby’s lips, the taste and smell of breast milk make the bottle more appetizing.

Most babies will have no difficulty switching back and forth between the breast and bottle if you time it right and go slowly at the beginning. You may find though, that baby does show a preference for one or the other. Just like anyone else, babies will have opinions and preferences! In most cases though, this won’t lead to refusal of either the breast or the bottle in the long term.

Does Breast Size Affect Ability to Breastfeed?

Many women worry that the size of their breasts will impact the amount of milk they are able to provide for baby. Fortunately, there is no correlation between breast size and milk production. No matter what the size of your breasts, you can still successfully breastfeed your baby.

Breast Size and Milk Production

The only difference between larger breasts and smaller breasts is their capacity to store milk. Larger breasts will be able to hold more milk, and thus a woman with larger breasts may be able to go longer between feedings without feeling engorged. A woman with smaller breasts will likely feel full sooner and need to relieve the pressure either through feeding or pumping. Many women find their breasts grow even larger post-partum than during pregnancy. You may be several cup sizes above where you started when you found out you were pregnant. When your milk comes in, your size will likely peak, and then subside a bit later in the breastfeeding process.

The storage capacity of your breasts does not mean you can’t make the same amount of milk! It just means less milk is being held in the breast at any given time. Your body can quickly and easily replace the milk as the baby feeds. You can produce just as much milk with small breasts as with larger ones.

Women with very large or very small breasts may have some issues with getting baby latched on. It will take a bit of practice to figure out what works best. You can try different ways of holding the baby, or use pillows under baby’s head to get it in the right position. With some trial and error you will soon find the right placement.

What Does Affect Milk Supply?

The production of milk is a supply and demand process. Every time your baby feeds, the body kicks into gear to replace the milk that was used. The more often your baby feeds, the more milk your body will produce to keep the supply up to the need. If you have to go a long time between feedings, such as if you are at work all day, pumping during the day will keep your body producing milk. It doesn’t take long for milk production to slow down or to pick up based on the demand. If you find your milk seems a bit low, add a pumping or feeding session and it should come back up quickly.

Other factors will affect your milk production as well. Poor diet, dehydration, illness, fatigue and stress can all cause milk production to slow down. Make sure that you are eating a healthy, balanced diet and drinking plenty of fluids to support your body’s ability to make milk. It might be hard to get a good night’s sleep with a baby in the house, but rest whenever you can – even a catnap during the day can help. Taking good care of your body will keep your milk supply strong.

There are certain medications that can inhibit milk supply. Talk to your doctor before taking any medication, whether over the counter or prescription while you are breastfeeding. Even some medications deemed safe for the baby can be detrimental to your milk supply.

Women have the natural ability to produce the perfect baby food for their babies. No matter what your breast size, your baby will get the best nutrition possible from breast milk, and will be able to get enough to grow and thrive as long as you take good care of yourself.

The Proper Method of Warming Baby Bottle

Whether you are warming a bottle of breast milk or of formula, you need to take special precautions to make sure that you don’t overheat the contents, or destroy precious nutrients. There are a couple of safe options for warming baby bottle.

A Word on the Microwave

The microwave oven has become a staple of the modern kitchen because of its fast cooking and convenience. As wonderful is your microwave might be for warming up leftovers, you should never use it to warm a bottle of formula or breast milk. Microwaves can create hot spots in the liquid that might not go away even with careful stirring or shaking. This can cause serious burns to your baby. Microwaves can also damage the nutritional makeup of breast milk. So though it might be tempting, skip the microwave when warming baby bottle.

Baby Milk Bottle Warmers

There are a number of devices on the market specifically designed for warming up a baby’s bottle. The two main types both use water to warm baby bottle, but while one actually heats up the water that the bottle is sitting in, the other flash heats the water to create steam, which heats the liquid in the bottle. Both are effective, but the steam type tends to be faster.

The main problem with either of these baby milk bottle warmer designs is that it can be difficult to get just the right level of heat. Most of them have an alarm that tells you when the bottle is done, but that doesn’t necessarily mean it’s at the right temperature. The amount of milk or formula in the bottle, the type of bottle, and the amount of water in the machine can all affect the end temperature. You might find your baby waiting impatiently while an over heated bottle cools – not a good thing in the middle of the night.

Some baby milk bottle warmers also have a cooler section to keep milk cold, allowing you to store bottles in baby’s room or your room overnight instead of heading to the kitchen to get one from the fridge when baby is hungry.

The Old-fashioned Way

Many people still prefer the pre-bottle warmer method of heating a bottle. Simply place the bottle in a larger vessel filled with hot tap water, and wait. You will have to check it repeatedly, and may have to replace the tap water with hotter water to continue warming baby bottle. This method may take longer than the baby milk bottle warmer, but it is less likely to cause overheating.

Because the water in the surrounding vessel is slowly cooling, at some point it will have heated the bottle as much as it possibly can, and heating will stop. Baby milk bottle warmers, on the other hand, often continue to apply heat, causing the bottle to overheat.

The other advantage of the old-fashioned method is that it doesn’t cost a thing, unlike baby milk bottle warmers which can be expensive.

No matter which method you choose, always test the temperature of the milk or formula on the inside of your wrist for appropriate temperature before feeding it to baby. It should not be much more than lukewarm, and definitely not hot. Grown ups may enjoy a steaming cup of coffee, but your baby’s sensitive tongue can’t handle that kind of heat. When warming a bottle of breast milk or formula, be sure to gently swirl the contents of the bottle around.

baby milk bottle warmer

Safe Storage of Breast Milk

If you are using a breast pump to express milk and don’t plan to feed the milk to your baby immediately, you should know how to store breast milk safely it in order to avoid spoiling. While breast milk can actually stay out at room temperature safely for several hours, if you aren’t planning to use it it’s best to get it into the fridge right away.

Breast Milk Storage Containers

If you are storing breast milk for use within a few days, you can simply store breast milk in the same bottles you plan to feed the baby from. Just make sure the baby bottle has a cap that seals securely. This will make warming the baby bottle easier as well, as you won’t have to transfer it to a new container.

If you plan to freeze your breast milk, you should use breast milk storage containers designed specifically for the purpose. The easiest to use are breast milk storage bags, as they take up less room in the freezer and can be disposed off after use. There are also plastic bottles available that you can use to store breast milk securely. When filling your breast milk storage containers, leave space for the expansion that will occur upon freezing. Bags will be easy to stack if you freeze them lying flat. Make sure to date every breast milk storage container you freeze.

How Long to Store Breast Milk

Unlike formula, which can only be left out at room temperature for an hour before it has to be thrown away, breast milk is ok at room temperature for 4 hours or more. If your house is hot or you have had the milk sitting out in the sun, this time is much shorter. Just like with regular milk, you can always smell it to see if it shows signs of spoiling. When in doubt, throw it out. Milk kept in the fridge may separate. Gently swirl it around to mix it back together.

Breast milk can be stored in the freezer section of your refrigerator for up to three months. A chest freezer, which has lower temperatures, will allow you to store breast milk for up to six months.

Thawing Breast Milk

The best way to thaw breast milk is in the fridge overnight. Alternatively, you can set the frozen bag in a bowl of warm water to thaw more quickly. When removing bags of milk from the freezer, be sure to use the oldest frozen milk first, as you have more time to use the newer milk. After thawing, transfer the milk to a bottle. Never use the microwave to thaw or warm breast milk. It can create hot spots and can also kill nutrients in the milk.

If You Have Excess Breast Milk

If you find that you are freezing more milk than your baby will ever need, or it will go bad before you will use it, there is an alternative to throwing it out. Milk banks across the country accept donations of breast milk to be provided to babies whose own mothers are unable to provide it, and who can not tolerate formula for a variety of reasons. There is a screening process for donors to ensure the safety of the milk supply. Although it may take a little of your time, it is well worth the chance to save the life of a baby. Contact the hospital where you had your baby or your doctor to find out where to donate breast milk.

Page 1 of 3123