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Fridge Hack vs Standard Storage?

First let's look at the fridge hack. The fridge hack is a method of storing breast pump parts and pieces in the fridge between pump sessions. You can do this after pumping by pouring out the milk into another container, do not rinse simply store the pieces all connected in a wet/dry bag or gallon ziploc in the fridge until the next pumping session. Many moms want to know if the fridge hack is safe for milk storage? The CDC says it's a no go. BUT I want to tell you my thoughts on this process as an IBCLC. I think that breastmilk when handled with clean hands and on a clean surface is a VERY stable fluid. Breastmilk has TONS of antibodies, white blood cells and is even considered bacteriostatic. This means it prevents bacteria growth and when you combine that with the temperature of the fridge I think its a viable option for many moms.

Some things I would warn you about if you do decide to use this method. ALWAYS wash your hands and clean the pumping surface prior to handling the pump, bottles and kit. Make sure to not touch inside the flanges or bottles when pouring out your milk. Remember that opting to not wash can place you at higher risk for infection (i.e. thrush mastitis etc) so if that happens I would go back to standard washing and cleaning methods. Additionally, if tiny is having extra gas, reflux or other tummy trouble I would steer clear of this hack. If you are needing to save time while at work but don't want to use the fridge hack there are other options: pump wipes for fast cleaning or simply buy another pump setup (or two) and use a clean one with each session. Overall the fridge hack can be a time saver but it should be used with extreme caution and care as it's not an "approved" method for storage or cleaning.

As far as standard storage/cleaning goes the recommendation is washing with hot soapy water and hot water rinse in-between each pumping session. It's ideal to use a silicone bottle brush to prevent and wear/tear or breakdown on your bottles or pump parts. When storing remember the 5-5-5 general rule: 5 hours room temperature, 5 days in fridge and 5 months in the freezer. Here is the CDC guidelines on detailed storage breakdown. It's important to store milk in the center or back portion of the fridge for greatest temperature stability. Same thing with freezer storage try to keep it in the bottom of the freezer in its own gallon sized bag or Tupperware. This separate storage can keep temps stable and prevent fluctuations. If you live somewhere with inclement weather or potential power outages I would suggest investing in a freezer bluetooth alarm. If ever milk is "questionable" consider using it for a milk bath prior to just dumping down the drain.

Did/do you use the fridge hack method?

  • Yes I did!

  • No I never did...

Here are a few additional tips when storing milk to keep all the nourishing properties & keep your milk fresh:

  • Store milk in BPA free plastic or food grade glass

  • Store in coldest location of fridge/freezer

  • For colostrum store in 1-2oz servings

  • For mature milk store in snack size 1-2oz or feast size 2-5+ oz servings

  • Combine milk to even out fat content

  • If your tiny is sick write out symptoms on the milk bags when stored (great for use later when baby has similar sickies)

  • Lay flat to freeze (remove air and it saves tons of space)

  • Mason jar for combining large amounts

  • Flange as funnel to fill bags without spills

  • Store frozen milk inside of a container bag or Tupperware for extra temp stability

  • Use bowl, container or ziploc to thaw milk in case of spills

  • Use a freezer thermometer to keep and eye on the temp and prevent any accidental power outage thawing

  • Taste/smell your milk: fresh, frozen, thawed & warmed. That way you know when something is off. Then use that milk for a bath if needed.

A few storage/cleaning items I LOVED:

REMEMBER: Your milk & your tiny are BOTH resilient. Even if you have an oops or don’t get storage just right. It. Will. Be. Ok. Breastmilk is medicine for tiny. And just like motherhood. Your milk is what’s best for your tiny no matter the elements it’s faced.

happy storing, washing and pumping



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