Feeding your baby is a wonderful time for bonding. It forces you to stop what you are doing and just focus on your little one. Regardless of how you decide to feed your baby, there are some very important and easy tips to follow to keep your baby safe. Formula and breast milk have a few different guidelines, so our Baby Box experts have broken them down separately in the lists below.
How To Pump Breast Milk Safely
- Wash your hands before pumping or handling breast milk.
- Use the right equipment to store breast milk. If you are storing in bottles, make sure they are clean and can be tightly sealed (with a screw cap). If you are using bags, only use bags that are designed to store breast milk. Do not use food storage bags like plastic Ziploc bags or baby bottle liners.
- Storage bottles can be reused but they must be cleaned in between each use with warm water and gentle soap.
- Never add fresh breast milk to frozen breast milk in a storage container—they should not be mixed.
- Label milk with the date you expressed it. Using a clear, easy-to-read permanent marker is the best way to avoid errors.
How To Bottlefeed With Breast Milk Safely
- Once the milk has been expressed or pumped it should be refrigerated within 4 hours.
- Storing breast milk in your freezer is a great way to stockpile for when you go back to work, or need to leave the baby. Frozen breast milk will stay good for 3-6 months, so make sure you are labeling everything clearly.
- Breast pumps should be cleaned after each use to keep bacteria from contaminating the milk.
- Breast milk cube trays are an easy way to store milk, but using the specified cube containers with lids is essential. Using trays without lids can allow for bacteria to get into the milk cubes.
Formula Bottle Safety Tips for new moms
- When mixing a formula bottle, use bottled water or other safe drinking water such as tap or well water. Municipal tap water should be boiled and cooled first to reduce the risk of contamination. Never use hot tap water.
- Once a formula bottle has been used, discard the remaining milk. Reusing a bottle and storing it for later consumption can allow bacteria from the baby’s mouth to contaminate the remaining milk.
- Heat a bottle by placing the filled bottle inside a cup or bowl of warm water. Never use a microwave to heat the milk as this can cause hot spots which could burn the baby’s mouth. However, babies are happy to drink their formula unwarmed, so don’t feel pressure to heat up their bottle every time– it can save new parents a lot of time and hassle!
- Mix the formula by following the directions on the container so you don’t add too much water or formula.
- New bottles and nipples should be properly sterilized before the first use. Place the new bottle and nipple into boiling water for 5 minutes. Remove from the water, and allow to cool and dry.
- When traveling, simply pre-measure the powdered formula and store in a clean, empty bottle, or in a container. You can bring along a bottle of water to mix when the baby is ready. Premixing far ahead of time is not advised.
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