My power went out and I’m storing breast milk in the freezer – Help!

Breast milk storage can be problematic when a power outage occurs. It may not happen often in Singapore but it does occur occasionally. During a power outage, precious frozen breast milk can become thawed. To keep them in their frozen state, an ice box, a container designed to maintain the temperature of frozen goods, can be utilised. A dry cotton cloth, wrapped around each bottle, can also help preserve its solid consistency. To last for a longer period, they should remain covered and unexposed to air.

RELATED: Can I reuse leftover breast milk to feed my baby?

Breast milk storage during outage: The freezer

Though the availability of an ice box may not be a problem to some, many do not have an access to one. If this is the case, other creative strategies may be helpful. In the absence of an ice box, the frozen milk may remain in the freezer aided with salted dry ice. According to research, a freezer generally stays frozen for 24-48 hours even without a power source. Therefore, it is still the most suitable place to store them.

Breast milk storage during outage: Boil the milk

In the event that the power outage continues for more than two days and the milk has already liquefied, it is recommended that the milk be used before it spoils. Some women practice boiling and scalding the leftover milk to keep it free from contamination. However, there is no specific guideline on this manner of reusing breast milk.

RELATED: Safety measures when storing your expressed breast milk

Breast milk storage during outage: Feed fresh breast milk

If stored breast milk has totally run out, a healthy mother can easily provide her child with the needed breast milk. But in some cases, when a mother possesses no capacity to breastfeed on her own, a relative or friend’s help may be obtained. Breast milk produced by other nursing women has the same characteristics and usually works well with an infant.

Breast milk storage during outage: Use formula milk & purées

Giving the infant supplemental feeding can be kept as a last resort. Formula milk appropriate for the infant’s age can be given. For babies of at least six months of age, mashed vegetables, cereals and fruits can be incorporated into their diet. These contain the much needed vitamins and minerals which are either not present or inadequate in formula milk. To start the process, a small amount should be administered and gradually increased as days go by. The fluid intake of the infant should also be taken into consideration. For a 24-hour period, a baby may need 75 to 90ml of fluid per pound of body weight or 150 to 200ml of fluid per kilogram.

RELATED: Help! Why has my milk supply decreased?

Staying calm and focused is essential when faced with a stressful situation. In dealing with a power outage, it will help if the mother calmly manages the situation by listing out the available resources and possible solutions.

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