It isn’t unusual for twins, triplets or more to be born preterm (i.e. before their due date) and having to spend days, weeks or even months in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) as a result. For those families wishing to breastfeed, it is possible to do so by pumping and bringing in breast milk to the NICU to be fed to their babies. To ensure the best quality milk for your babies, here are some recommended collecting and storage guidelines of breast milk. Remember that every drop counts and whatever is collected is the best thing for your infants. If you have any questions regarding your milk supply or how to conserve it, be sure to ask the NICU staff.
|Freshly expressed milk||Room temperature 25C or 77F||4 hours|
|Refrigerated milk (store in back not on door)4C or 39F||a)Refrigerator (fresh milk)b)Refrigerator (thawed milk)||a) 48 hoursb) 24 hours|
|Frozen Milk (Store at back, not in door. DO NOT REFREEZE)||a) Freezer compartment inside refrigerator doorb) Freezer compartment with separate doorc) Deep freezer not attached to refrigerator||a) NOT RECOMMENDEDb) 3 Monthsc) 6 months|
(fresh, refrigerated or frozen)15C or 60F
|Packed in insulated cooler with ice or “ blue ice”||24 hours|
Fresh breast milk can be refrigerated and transported to the NICU on ice or “blue ice” packs in a little insulated cooler. Once at the NICU, give your labelled breast milk to the nurse in charge of your babies to be placed in the refrigerator or freezer.
If you have any questions regarding these procedures or about breast feeding in general, be sure and talk to the nurse in charge of your babies. Hospital staff will be most happy to answer your questions and help you at any point.
If you have any questions regarding pumping or storing your breast milk, do not hesitate to discuss them with the nurse or lactation consultant.
Your breast milk is important to your babies. Save ALL the milk that you pump.
From Valerie Lavigne, Mom of three breastfed babies, including twins.
Adapted by Lynda P. Haddon, Multiple Birth Educator,www.jumelle.ca
Reviewed by Erin Shaheen, Child Birth Educator, Mom of 4 breast fed babies, including twins.
Multiple Births Canada Fact Sheet: Breastfeeding Multiples: Pumping Tips