Tuesday 24 June 2014

Breastmilk Donation, Use & Storage

I don't pump anymore, and I don't have any advice that I didn't already write about here, but I do have a little experience with breastmilk use and storage. We used formula to supplement B, but I was more prepared and clued up this time around, and I had also made a number of friends who were breastfeeding their babies, and so we were in the fortunate position to be able to source donor milk for M. We started to supplement her on day three and so for the first 11 days of her life she was exclusively breastmilk fed. After that we had to introduce some formula as our donors weren't able to keep up with M's growing needs. However, about 2.5 months ago we found a long term donor on HM4HB and since then every supplement feed M has had has been with expressed donor milk. It's had an amazing effect on her digestive system. She used to have trouble pooing and her wind was stinky!! But now she is so much happier - and her death pumps don't wake me up in the night!

So, here is my advice:

Milk Donation
  • Whether you're a milk donor or someone who needs donor milk for their child, honesty is the best policy. Donors - be open about diet, medical history, drinking habit; receivers - say what you need in a donor, ask questions.
  • Trust your gut - if something about donor/receiver feels wrong to you, don't worry about saying no.
  • Make sure you know the guidelines for breastmilk storage, so that you are keeping your own milk safe for whoever you're donating to, or so you can keep donated milk safe once in your posession.
  • Check out HM4HB's FAQs and Eats On Feets's Pillars of Milk Sharing for more information.

Breastmilk Storage
  • Kellymom's site has one of the best guides to handling and storage of expressed milk:
  • My addition to this advice regards breastmilk storage bags. These I have a lot of experience with! The hubby and I tried - and failed - to remember all the different brands we have tried. We buy bags for our donor, so we've tried a fair few. From what we can recall - don't judge us: those memories are clouded by the fog of the newborn baby!:
    • Supermarket own brand ones - ok, but not brilliant. The measurements weren't greatly accurate and there were a few leaks.
    • Medela - sturdy, stand up independently and never leak, but they are difficult to pour from. I often lose some milk either through spillage. 
    • Lansinoh - great pourers, but I have to say that nearly every single bag has leaked when thawing the milk. The hubby prefers the Lansinoh bags, and we tend to thaw milk upside down in another bag to catch leaks.
Using Expressed Milk
  • Breastmilk separates when cooled. Don't panic when you see it looking a bit weird. 
  • When thawed from frozen, some of the fat clumps. Again, this is normal and once the milk is warmed the fat will disperse.
  • Swirl it to mix - don't shake.
  • Unlike formula, unfinished feeds don't have to be discarded. They can be returned to the fridge and used later on. I tend to work on the 24 hours from thawing guideline, but do your own research and go with your gut.
  • Unfinished milk doesn't need to be poured down the sink. If you don't want to feed it to baby, then add it to bathwater for lovely soft skin.
  • Learn what fresh expressed milk smells and tastes like, so that you'll know when it's not fresh. It might weird you out to taste your own/someone else's breastmilk, but if it's good enough to go into your baby, then it can't be that bad!

You've found the Scavenger Hunt logo! Now enter the giveaway below:

Now visit one of the Scavenger Hunt sponsors:

ARDO Medical are a WHO Code compliant breastpump company.

They're offering a Calypso Double Breastpump for the Grand Prize.

And check out some of the other bloggers involved in the Hunt:


  1. My top tip for pumping is use an electric pump and have the bottle top ready next to you so you don't spill any even if you intend to pour it into a bag to freeze.. I remember crying after i knocked a bottle as i took the pump apart and my efforts were wasted on the floor!

  2. No tips as I haven't been able to pump since the very early days of oversupply.

  3. Buy a good electric pump, you don't want to go through the pain of carpal tunnel as I did due to using a manual pump in the early days x

    (Pia S)

  4. I found I got more milk when I wasn't thinking about what I was doing

  5. Amazon next day delivery ;) (when you need a pump/bags fast :) )

  6. Stay hydrated and don't stress

  7. USe an electric pump. I struggled with a manual, I even struggled with electric, but got on better that way

  8. i never used a breast pump but would have been great for hubby to help with night feeds.

  9. find a pump that's easy and comfortable to use

  10. Pump from the opposite side to where baby is feeding, your hormones will kick in and you'll get milk much easier!

  11. invest in a good pump. i had a manual one last time and my hand kept cramping

  12. Sarah Strickland27 June 2014 at 22:27

    Keep trying until you find the right pump for you.

  13. Lynsey Buchanan28 June 2014 at 14:41

    Tilt forward slightly and relax

  14. Build it into your daily routine.

  15. Use a good quality pump, I have tried two and there was a clear difference in how effective they were.

  16. Invest in a good electric pump as so much easier