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Breast Milk for NICU Babies

Collecting, storing, and transporting breast milk for NICU after your discharge (and before the baby's):

  • Sterilize all equipment for 20 minutes, once a day. You can do this by boiling the pump or putting it in the in dishwasher on the sanitation cycle.
  • After each pumping session, wash all parts that have come in contact with the milk in hot, soapy water and let them air dry on a clean paper towel. Another paper towel can be placed on top of them while they dry.
  • If you have well water, and it has not been tested recently, boil the water before washing pump parts in it.
  • Before pumping, wash your hands thoroughly with soap and water.
  • When placing the pump flange on the breast, take care not to touch the inside of the flange.
  • Daily showering or bathing is all that is necessary to clean the breasts.
  • The nursery will provide you with milk collection containers, lids and labels.
  • Use a separate container each time you pump and label it with the baby's name, date, and the time you pumped.
  • Refrigerate your milk as soon as possible after pumping. Freshly pumped milk can be kept for up to two hours at room temperature.
  • Breast milk can be kept in the refrigerator for 48 hours.
  • Store the milk in the amounts your baby is taking at a feeding. Ask your baby's nurse for approximate amounts.
  • If you will be bringing pumped milk to the hospital every day, refrigerate it. Transport it to the hospital in a cooler, if possible.
  • If you are unable to come to the hospital every day, put the pumped milk in the freezer and transport it in a cooler.
  • To establish your milk supply pump 10 to 12 times in 24 hours. This is about every 2 hours during the day and once in the middle of the night.
  • Once you are pumping 25 to 30 ounces in 24 hours, you may be able to maintain this volume with fewer pumpings each day. You may get to this amount in 7 to 10 days.


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