Pumping at home
- Once you are at home, set up a regular pumping schedule.
- Find a comfortable place to pump.
- Try looking at pictures of your baby (it's been shown to help milk production), listening to music or watching TV to help you relax while pumping.
- Try relaxation exercises while you pump, as it may help you make more milk!
- Your partner or a relative can help by helping cleaning the pumping equipment, labeling the milk bottles, and bringing them to the hospital.
- For the middle of the night pumping, it may be easier to keep a container full of ice near where you pump, so you don't have to get up and go to the refrigerator until the morning. (You can wash the pump parts in the morning, too.)
Putting milk in storage containers
- Use the milk collection bottles the NICU will give you.
- If you are making lots of milk you may need to purchase milk storage containers for storing your milk at home in your freezer for later use.
- Label your containers with your baby's identification label and date and time you pumped.
- Combine milk from the left and right pump bottles if needed unless otherwise instructed.
- Fill them no more than 3/4 full (milk expands when frozen.)
- Put milk in the refrigerator if you plan to bring it to the NICU within 3 days (unless you are instructed to freeze all your milk.)
- Put milk in the freezer if it will be a more than 3 days before your next visit.
- Do not store your milk in the door of the fridge/freezer. The back of the fridge/freezer is colder.
Storing your milk
- Breast milk can be stored:
- Room temperature for 4 hours
- Refrigerator for 3 days
- Home freezer for 3 months
- Hospital (-20° C) freezer for 12 months
- After being thawed, frozen milk should be used in 24 hours.
- Don't ever throw milk away without checking with one of your baby's care providers - your milk is precious!
Bringing in your milk for your baby
- Keep all milk cold or frozen until you bring it into the NICU.
- Use an ice chest or cold gel pack to keep the milk cold while you travel to the hospital.
- Frozen milk should stay frozen until you bring it in.
- When you come into the unit, give the milk to your baby's nurse.
The Chester County Hospital Lactaction Consultants: 610.738.2582
Last Updated: 6/23/2011