If you are a mother, you already know that breast milk is essential for your baby and their growth. According to modern science and medical research, it is super healthy and contains leukocytes—absent in baby formulas—that are needed to fight infections. That is why breast milk is better than formula milk. However, here is the catch: one of the most common dilemmas of moms is how to store breast milk in diaper bags for them to use it later.
When you go out, you will naturally need milk to feed the baby whenever they are hungry. It is definitely more convenient to have breast milk stored in a bottle ready to be given to the baby than breastfeeding in public. You must remember though that breast milk is food and like all kinds of food, you have to be cautious about how you store it so that it does not spoil.
How to Store Breast Milk in Diaper Bags
Having breast milk available in your diaper bag can be a great thing as your baby will be fed on time and there will be less of a hassle for you. The process of storing breast milk in a diaper bag is not as difficult as it seems. You only need to follow the listed guidelines below.
Things You Will Need
Before you can store breast milk in a diaper bag, you need to check if you have all the things that you need. First, you need a breast pump to help you produce more milk. Yes, some women may not even need a pump to express their milk, but a good pump can make the process simple and fast.
You would also need a high-quality feeding bottle with a screw cap that can securely hold the milk. That’s because you have to be extra careful as milk is liquid, and if it spills, it can ruin the entire content of the bag and leave you with a lot of cleaning to do.
Another thing that you would need to invest in is a heavy-duty diaper bag. Most of the time, there is already an intended space or pocket for the feeding bottle. Likewise, you can also find diaper bags that have thermal compartments or pouches customized for bottles. These are highly recommended as they can maintain the temperature of the milk.
Storing Breast Milk for a Day Out
To ensure the safety of your child, make sure that the breast pump and bottle is clean and sanitized. You can do this by simply washing them with warm water. For the breast pump, it is better to check the user manual to determine the proper way of cleaning it. For the bottles, you can also place them in a bottle sterilizer. In addition, you should also ensure that your hands are clean.
The next step is to, of course, pump out the milk from your breast and fill the bottle with just the right amount of milk. Not too full to avoid spillage, and not too little so that you won’t be carrying a lot of bottles. Try to estimate how much your baby would need. After which, place the lid of the bottle and make sure that you close it tightly. Once done, place the bottles in the designated area in the diaper bag.
Storing Breast Milk for Air Travel
Storing breast milk for air travel is almost similar as above, but for this, you might need several bottles depending on the duration of your travel. For air travels, most of us already know that taking liquids onboard is a little complicated. Fortunately, for baby milk, the rules are a little relaxed.
Nonetheless, you should still carry only as much breast milk as you would need for the travel duration. Also, keep the milk on top of the diaper bag because you might need to show it to the security officers. In addition, bottles that have more than three ounces might need to be tested.
In general, milk is a complicated beverage that needs proper handling, especially when the drink is intended for a baby, toddler, or child. Any mistake might cause health problems like gastrointestinal issues. With that in mind, you must remember the following:
Milk tends to become stale at high temperatures, and breast milk is no exception. For some perspective, milk can only be stored for 10 hours if the temperature range is between 66 and 72 degrees Fahrenheit. Take note that this allowable time decreases as the temperature increases. Hence, you have to take into account the temperature of the day. Also, keep in mind that the temperature is higher inside the diaper bag.
If the weather is too hot or you will be out for long, you can put some ice cubes in a lunch bag or ziplock and place the bottle with milk inside before placing it in the diaper bag. You can also just place an ice pack inside the insulated area before putting the bottle. This ought to keep it cold and fresh for more prolonged use. With ice packs, breast milk can potentially stay fresh for up 24 hours. For your ease, you can label the bottles with the time milk was placed inside when you pack them so that you would know how long they will stay consumable
Warming the Breast Milk
Even though breast milk needs to be cooled to make sure it stays fresh for long, you cannot really feed the baby with cold milk. Ideally, you should warm it a bit before giving it to the baby. Now, when you are on the go and have the bottle in the diaper bag, how do you warm it? It is not that difficult provided you have a warm water outlet nearby. If there is, go to the bathroom or kitchen sink, and run the water until it is warm.
Now, put the bottle under the tap and run some water over the bottom of the bottle. Do this for about a minute or two, until the bottle is a little less cold than before. Shake the bottle well and test the milk temperature by putting a few drops in your hand. If it is at room temperature or a little warmer, you are good to go. Make sure you do not keep the bottle under hot water for a long time as too hot milk is not suited for babies as well.
It is also advisable that you place a small thermos inside the diaper bag that you can use to warm your baby’s milk. It should have a removable cover where you can transfer hot water. Then, just place the bottle in it for a while, then shake it, and check the temp as above.
Now that you know how to store breast milk in diaper bags, you can do so efficiently whenever you are about to go out or travel. Again, be very careful about the time and temperature because your baby only deserves the best nutrition. Having breast milk pumped and stored in a bottle can be very convenient in a lot of situations, and that is why many moms actually prefer doing that.