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