Breast milk is a really valuable and nutritious source of nutrients for babies, especially during the early stages of life. It gives babies antibodies, hormones, enzymes and other stuff which help keep them safe from illnesses and help them grow and develop. So it’s important to store breast milk properly to make sure it stays safe and of good quality.
One of the common questions that breastfeeding mothers may have is whether they can store breast milk in bottles with nipples attached. The answer is no, and here are some reasons why:
- Bottles with nipples are not airtight. Air can enter the bottle through the nipple hole and cause oxidation of the breast milk. Oxidation can degrade some of the beneficial components of breast milk, such as vitamin C, fatty acids and antioxidants. Oxidation can also change the taste and smell of breast milk, making it less appealing to the baby.
- Cleaning and sterilizing bottles with nipples can be tricky. There’s all sorts of nooks and crannies where bacteria and mold can hide and contaminate the breast milk. That could give your little one an infection, like vomiting, diarrhea, or thrush. To avoid that, make sure to wash the bottles with hot water and soap after every use, and sterilize them before. But, let’s be real — it’s really time consuming and inconvenient for a mama who is always on the go!
- Bottles with nipples can cause nipple confusion or preference in the baby. Nipple confusion or preference is when the baby prefers the artificial nipple over the mother’s nipple, or has difficulty switching between them. This can affect the baby’s latch, suckling and swallowing skills, and reduce the mother’s milk supply. To avoid this, it is recommended to avoid introducing artificial nipples to the baby until breastfeeding is well established, usually after 4 to 6 weeks of age.
It’s definitely a good idea to use containers specifically designed for breast milk, like glass or plastic bottles with screw caps or breast milk storage bags. These containers are great since they’re airtight, easy to clean and sterilize, and won’t interfere with breastfeeding. Make sure to label the containers with the date and time of pumping, and store them in the fridge or freezer according to health authority guidelines.
Storing breast milk properly can help ensure that your baby gets the best nutrition and protection from your milk. If you have any questions or concerns about storing breast milk, you can consult your doctor, lactation consultant or local breastfeeding support group.