Breastfeeding your Baby

Breastfeeding Your Baby: When You Need to Be Away

Breastfeeding is the best, most nurturing way of feeding your new baby – something special you can do for your child and you.

  1. newborn baby yawningBenefits of breastfeeding
  2. What to expect in the first weeks
  3. How to prevent sore breasts
  4. Returning to work or school
  5. Breastfeeding an older baby
  6. When you need to be away

When you need to be away

When you need to be away from your baby, and want to keep breastfeeding, you can:

  • Express your milk by hand. It’s fast and there is no equipment to wash.
  • Use a manual breast pump or one you pump by foot.
  • Use a pump that pumps both breasts at the same time (several are available). This will help keep up your milk supply.
  • If you will be away for a long time, or if your baby has a condition that makes her unable to breastfeed, you need a high quality electric breast pump.

Choosing a breast pump

  • A breast pump should be safe, work well, and should not have pressure that is too high or too low. It should not hurt.
  • Ask your breastfeeding specialist or WIC staff for help.

Tips for pumping or expressing milk

  • Keep a picture or a piece of your baby’s clothing with you. This can help you “let down” your milk.
  • Wash your hands first.
  • Don’t share a breast pump, unless it is made to be shared.
  • Give yourself time to find the best routine for you.

What about containers?

  • Store breast milk in clean glass bottles, hard plastic bottles or plastic milk storage bags.
  • Put only 2-4 ounces in each container.
  • Write the date and your baby’s name on each container.
  • If your baby is in the hospital, ask them how to provide your milk for your baby.

Keep breast milk fresh

  • Cool your breast milk quickly in a refrigerator or a cooler with an ice pack.
  • You can store breast milk in the refrigerator for 3-5 days. Put it in the back (coldest) part of the refrigerator.
  • Freeze breast milk you won’t use within 3 days.
  • Leave some room at the top of the container; breast milk expands as it freezes.
  • You can add cold fresh breast milk to a container of frozen breast milk as long as there is less fresh than frozen breast milk.
  • You can freeze breast milk for 4-6 months at the back of a freezer that has a door separate from the refrigerator, or for 2 weeks in a freezer inside the refrigerator.
  • You can refrigerate thawed breast milk for up to 24 hours. Don’t refreeze.

Thawing or warming breast milk

  • You may feed breast milk either cool or warm.
  • To thaw frozen milk, put it in the refrigerator the night before. Or gently shake the container while holding it under warm running water.
  • To warm breast milk, put it under warm running water or in a bowl of warm water.
  • Do not thaw or heat breast milk on the stove, in the microwave or with hot water. Too much heat destroys the good things in the milk. Microwaves can create “hot spots” and burn your baby.

How should breast milk look?

  • Breast milk may look thin and watery. Its color may be bluish, yellowish or brownish. This is all OK.
  • Your milk will separate into layers. Shake it gently before feeding your baby.


Updated Tuesday, February 27, 2018 at 10:06AM