Plan Ahead: Emergency Stashes of Breast Milk.

Storing breast milk safely and cleanly is important to know, especially in case of an emergency. It’s easy.  This blog focuses on storing breast milk. When you, your family and caregivers review these guidelines, you’ll each help to keep providing breast milk for the baby. We’ve had plenty of emergencies in the past few years, so let’s plan ahead.

A most serious concern is clean water. Please note, if the water is contaminated, babies who are not getting breast milk should be given ready-made formula, the kind that is in a can. That is sterile formula that does not have to be mixed with questionable water.

Babies who are fed breast milk do not need water. Through breast milk, they are receiving enough liquids as well as immune factors, active macrophages and probiotics that are good for the belly and well being. This is helpful in times of stress, indeed. Keep up with breastfeeding and breast milk as long as possible.

Plan ahead to have a few gallons of water for cleaning bottles and pump parts (as well as for your family drinking water.) Cleaning equipment requires only soap, clean water and a clean cloth. Alternatively, clean hand wipes will do. You can air-dry the bottles and flanges (if the area is clean.)

Plan ahead to have a stash of breast milk in your freezer.

• Store your breast milk in the deepest, coldest part of the freezer (or back of refrigerator). Put a date on it and use the oldest milk first.

• Store milk in small quantities, two ounces at a time. You’re more likely to use all that. Once it has thawed, use it.

If the electricity goes out, keep the freezer or refrigerator closed unless really necessary; take out only what you need. You may be able to preserve a lot of your stash. Breast milk that still has ice crystals in it hasn’t completely thawed, so you can refreeze it when the power is back on.  It also works to keep milk cool in an insulated bag with a cool pack. Even if you don’t have freezer packs, your breast milk will be okay for a couple of hours, kept in a cool, shaded place.

Human breast milk does not have to be stored separately from other foods. “ Expressed human milk does not require special handling (such as universal precautions), as is required for other bodily fluids such as blood. It can be stored in a workplace refrigerator where other workers store food, although it should be labeled with name and date. “ ABM Protocol #8 Human Milk Storage for Full Term Infants

Storing breast milk is not the same as storing processed food. I’ve reposted the blog about this so you can review more details. It’s best to support the actual breastfeeding, parent and child together. That also has innumerable benefits.

May we all live calmly with minimal emergencies. And yet, stuff happens. I hope this makes it easier for you and your family to organize a few simple accommodations.