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Using a Bottle Warmer for EBM

  1. #1
    mommybee is offline Registered User
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    Using a Bottle Warmer for EBM

    I have been wondering whether reheating the expressed breast milk overnight via a bottle warmer will change the quality of the milk? My helper likes to take out the expressed breast milk from the fridge before she goes to bed and put it in the bottle warmer, so that when my little one wakes up in the middle of the night, she can feed him the warmed milk right away. But if the milk doesn't get finished, she puts it back into the warmer and keep it until he's hungry again. I don't know if this prolong exposure of the warm temperature will alter the quality of the breast milk?

    Appreciate any advice anyone has on this.


  2. #2
    LLL_Sarah is offline Registered User
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    Keeping the milk for a long time at body temperature is not advised as this is a perfect temperature for bacteria to grow. Breast milk at this temperature will have fewer bacteria in it than formula milk because there are anti-bacterial agents in the breast milk.

    The usually published guidelines for storing breast milk never discuss keeping the milk at such high temperatures as the safe storage time is quite short.

    Human milk can be stored:
    • at room temperature (66-72F, 19-22C) for up to 10 hours
    • in a refrigerator (32-39F, 0-4C) for up to 8 days
    • in a freezer compartment inside a refrigerator (variable temperature due to the door opening frequently) for up to 2 weeks
    • in a freezer compartment with a separate door (variable temperature due to the door opening frequently) for up to 3 to 4 months.
    • in a separate deep freeze (0F, -19C) for up to 6 months or longer.

    It is also not a good idea to reheat breast milk, especially if some of the milk has been drunk as this introduces the bacteria. In the home environment it is probably ok to reheat the milk a second time if the baby didn’t drink from it the first time.

    p.s.
    You don’t say how old your baby is - it isn’t advised to pump during the day and miss feeds at night on a regular basis or before the baby is about six weeks old.

    Your body is expecting to be fed from at least every three hours day and night during the early weeks. This sets up your prolactin receptors and thus ensures your long term milk supply.
    Last edited by LLL_Sarah; 12-29-2007 at 11:28 AM.

  3. #3
    mommybee is offline Registered User
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    Thanks Sarah! My baby is actually only 3 weeks old right now. I tried getting up at night to give him feeds but I got really tired and several people advised that I pump the excess milk I have during the day (which I have alot of because the baby couldn't drink all the milk my breast holds and it hurts somewhat if I don't pump out the excess). Does my pumping excess actually induces the body to produce more milk when they're not needed by the baby at this stage?

  4. #4
    LLL_Sarah is offline Registered User
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    Long term breastfeeding works most easily if you directly feed your baby for about the first six weeks, without pumping. It is unlikely that you will take the same amount of milk as the baby does when pumping.

    The baby is generally (if not ill or premature) able to get the milk more efficiently than a pump can. This will lead to a reduced supply if you pump too often.

    If you pump out more milk than the baby would have taken this leads to an over supply. Often over supply is worse than under supply with the baby crying, chocking or fussing at the breast, and the mother being much more likely to get plugged ducts, mastitis and having that uncomfortable full feeling for much longer than normal.

    After six weeks the milk supply is much more stable and pumping generally doesn’t cause so many problems.

    Remember that a normal lactating breast is soft, not hard and the very full feeling usually fades after the first couple of months, unless you over stimulate your breasts by too much pumping.

    Once the milk supply is well established, around six weeks, your body will replace the amount taken out. If you leave your breasts full then your body will take this as a request to reduce the amount of milk it makes. If you want to increase the milk the quickest way is to get the baby to feed on empty breasts – this tells your body to make more milk.

    My best suggestion for helping with the tiredness of early breastfeeding is to learn to breastfeed lying down. This way you can get more rest even if you don’t get more sleep. I’d start by lying down in the middle of the day and so learn how to do it then once you know the night feeds will be much easier.

    Have you considered joining one of the LLL meeting and asking the mothers there how they manage to get enough sleep? I find I learn new tips at every meeting. The meeting schedule is at http://www.lllhk.org/Meetings.html

  5. #5
    joannek is offline Registered User
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    one more suggestion i'd like to add, from experience. since your helper is already getting up. you can get your helper to set an alarm for every 3 hrs (say, 9pm, 12am, 3am & 6am), and bring the baby to you. you nurse him lying down & when you're done, you press a bell (which like a remote door bell, you put the ringer with your helper, but do put some scotch tape on the speaker to reduce the sound cos they're really loud), then your helper comes in to get the baby. it sounds quite harsh on the helper, but you need your rest after giving birth & that's the best for you & the baby, and it's not forever.

    what i used to do was, i nursed at 9pm, then go to sleep, woke up at 12 midnight & 3 am to nurse. since i slept at 6am, i could get up at 6am to nurse, then watch my baby for a while, so the helper can go wash up. and grab some more shut eye at 7am until say 8.30am. i also made sure that my helper sleeps early & gets a nap during the say.

    i did manage to do this for the first few month, and nursing at night helped me with my plugges ducts and reduced other breast problems.

  6. #6
    barbwong_130 is offline Registered User
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    I found the first weeks of breastfeeding very intense with lots of night waking. One way I coped was to make sure I rested (even if I didn’t sleep) in the afternoon. Another was to go to bed early (about nine o’ clock). I would feed my daughter and pass her to my husband to look after, whether she was asleep or awake, and then go to bed. My husband and daughter would watch TV together for a couple of hours until she needed another feed. Then I’d feed her without getting out of bed and we’d sleep and feed until the morning. Even though my night’s sleep was broken I was able to manage so long as I had these extras hours of sleep during the day. When you are living through these tiring times it is difficult to member that it won’t last for ever. By the time my daughter was two months old she was only waking once a night and I was finding life much easier.

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