It is crazy to go back to work after maternity leaves. Like, the last time your coworkers saw you, you had a happy baby bump,but now, you’re all flat out, dark circles and all. We feel you fellow mommas, we know what it is leave your baby and fight off the guilt that is steadily creeping up your throat. One major worrying factor for all new moms returning to work is – How Do I Store my Breast Milk? After all, your little cherub needs it and it is the best gift you can give your child.
Now, the women who want/need to work, take a minute to bless science, because science has given you this wondrous, wow worthy thing called the breast pump. These little gifts from technology lets mothers pump their milk out and store it for their baby’s care takers to feed the little one whenever necessary.
One such new mom Veena is returning to work and she came running to us to ask us how she should store her breast milk and our unfailing SOS moms have come to our rescue.
Anisha Rodrigues Pinto hurried in to help Veena, “Well if you are starting work you can always start combining breast and bottle milk ( i.e. more times breast milks and fewer times bottle milk( supplement). But as you mentioned you want to know about breast milk, which is the best to give your baby. Here is what I know. Well, expressing of breast milk can be done in three ways: 1) hand, 2) using a hand pump (available on firstcry.com), 3) using an electrical pump (available on firstcry.com). If you get heavy milk supply it will be quite easy for you to express by hand specially in the morning. However if you find it difficult ask help from doctor or experienced people to teach you or show you in either of the above 3 ways mentioned. At times expressing by hand can also take a long time in this case the pumps are helpful. You must express your milk in sterilised bottles (available on firstcry.com), which can then be capped and stored in the fridge. Don’t keep it longer than 24 hours. See that it’s frozen as soon as possible. Melt frozen milk and use at once. Never refreeze. You can also keep it in fridge for 5 to 6 hours (in case u get a break and can rush home and get back to work).”
Sonal Maner shared her experience of returning to work when her daughter was just three months old, “Use an electric breast pump to extract milk and store in special sterilised bags in d freezer. Use Medela breast pump and bags, they are the best. You can store milk in the freezer for up to 3 moths after extracting, remove from freezer 45 mins before feed time and keep the bag/bottle in hot water so it can warm up. Do not open d bag/bottle until the baby is ready to be fed. I joined work wen my daughter was just 3 months and used to feed her extracted breast milk until she was 1.5 yrs.” Medela Breast Pumps on FirstCry.com are available here.”
Neha Gaurav puts in her useful tips, “You can use manual breast pump instead of electric one. After extracting milk you can keep it at room temp (27 degrees) for 4 to 6 hours in the refrigerator (towards the corner of tray) for 24 hrs in sterilised bottles only. After taking out the milk from refrigerator , keep the bottle in a pan of warm water for few minutes so that it comes to room temp. But make sure u do not bring the milk in direct contact of heat (gas flame)”.
Noopur Agarwal also reminded us to instruct the care taker, “With an automatic breast pump you can extract all the milk in morning before going to office, then store the milk in sterilised baby bottles and refrigerate them. Tell the person who will be feeding the baby to take out the bottle half an hour before feeding the baby”.
Radhika Varun Soni also reiterated the best method to store breast milk, “You can use breast pump of your choice n refrigerate the milk in sterilized bottle and warm the bottle in hot water just minutes before he is to be fed.”
A lot of advice comes in the way of new moms, but the best ones are from peers who have been mothers themselves. Being a working mom can bring whole host of challenges, but it is also a really satisfying role to play.
We would also like to extend our thanks to the moms who came to Veena’s rescue:
Sonal Maner, Noopur Agarwal, Radhika Varun Soni and Neha Gaurav.
Mum Hema Canchi Jauhari wrote: ‘I am facing a problem with my 3-year old. He does not like eating any solids. He drinks milk only in the night. Can you help me with some ideas to make him eat?’
Mum Sonal Pandey wrote: ‘My baby is 09 months old. Initially he took daal ka pani or mashed fruits, but these days he is not eating, not even taking water. He is only taking breast milk. I am really worried, could you suggest something please?’
Dad Dev Shukla wrote: ‘Please suggest me how to deal with my 10month old baby. She does not eat anything, she only picks up food to make a mess of it. I really don’t know what to do!’
Mum Farah Fairy wrote: ‘My baby is 10 months old. Since the last 4 months I am trying to give her formula milk but she always rejects it. She never sucks the nipple. I have tried giving her fresh milk but she rejects that too. I give her milk when she feels hungry, but she still won’t take the bottle. Please help.’ This was another problem faced in the SOS Mom forum and you may find this article helpful.
We shared these parent problems in our SOS Mom forum and here’s what most of the parents had to say from real experiences:
- Divert their mind through games, stories and immediately put the spoon of food inside the mouth. Don’t give big bites as baby may tend to choke if not interested in eating.
- Try some variations in food. If they are not interested in solids, go for healthy liquid options like soups, dal, or even variations in solids like idli mixed with paalak (spinach) puree, aaloo parantha, mixed vegetable parantha, paneer parantha, and other variations that include some ingredient that your baby likes to eat. Giving ghee and sugar paranthas is also a healthy way to get babies to eat and provide instant energy.
- Take some spinach, tomato, daal, rice and capsicum. Boil everything in a pressure cooker. Grind and add little salt. Give as a soup and you can even use this water to add to other dishes.
- Dip a badaam in a cup of water and keep overnight. Drain the water in the morning and crush the badaam to make a paste. Add a teaspoon of honey to the paste and give baby.
- Babies’ taste buds keep changing and developing. If they are not showing interest in a particular food, dont give up. Give it again next week and keep trying.
- Sometimes, changing the environment can be fun. Pack baby’s meal in a tiffin box and take baby out to the garden. You can try and make baby eat while playing and taking a walk.
- Mixed soups like carrot-potato-apple or bottlegourd-potato-onion are delicious and healthy. Try some variations too.
- Try giving meals in attractive cups and bowls with favourite characters. Play-act with food, make a spoon a play aeroplane with foodie passengers on them that baby will eat!
- Sometimes, its okay to take the help of favourite television shows and let baby eat while being distracted. However, make sure you’re not making this a practice as it may create problems later.
- Do not force feed baby. Yes, mommy knows best, but sometimes, babies do know when they are not able to take anymore.
- Its a great idea to have a common meal-time. Watching others eat, especially other kids, is a great way for making baby eat up too.
- Let others in the family make baby eat too. Sometimes, its good to bring a change in face. So let papa, grandparents, aunts, uncles take to the baby bowl too.
- Do not bribe to eat food.
- Talk to your kids while you make them eat. If they are younger, talk about things that interest them. If they are school-going, talk about what they did at school and other activities that interest them. Talk about daily routine and things that baby sees – like birds, animals, people etc.
- Letting baby eat from your own plate is a great way of encouraging your little one to eat and feel like a grown up.
- Start giving baby bites from the family pot. Avoid too much spice, but start on same meals as the family, after baby has crossed a certain age and doctor has advised it’s okay to start eating with others.
Parents who sent their valuable suggestions:
Komal Goenka, Neha Kulkarni-Chavan, Preeti Vyas Parashar, Alka Tayal, Shruthi Aasoori, Divya Sundaram, Ridhi Ashish Abrol, Jayashree Vijay Kumar, Dhanashree Ranade, Nisha SharmaDurbakula Lakshmi Sakuntala, Namrata Samel Dixit, N Mukesh Vyas, Minal Chatterjee, Rachita Yogesh, Poorva Ranjan