26 answers

Combining Breastmilk

I exclusively pump my breastmilk for my one month old, however I had a breast infection and my milk supply decreased significantly. For the time being I supplemented with formula while I continued to pump. Since I combine my expressed milk from the fridge for her feedings, sometimes she does not finish the full 4 ounces I prepare for her. I hate to waste my breastmilk since it is not in an abundant supply yet. My question is, can I take the one ounce she did not finish and put it back in the fridge and add more to it later when she is hungry again?

What can I do next?

Featured Answers

The 'official' line is no you can't save it. I have done it many times. My personal rule was not to heat it more than twice. What my nanny has done is to warm the second bottle (smaller amount) and add that to the leftover bottle so that the leftover milk wasn't re-heated. If he hadn't finished that combo bottle she would have tossed it. However, since that bottle was always smaller I don't think it ever happened :)

K.
You can definitely refridgerate the unused breastmilk and use it again for the next feeding, but I wouldn't combine "used" and "unused." You can just warm the one ounce and give it and then give an additional 3 ounces. And to make it easier, I would have that 2nd bottle all warmed up and ready to go so you can just pop it in when the 1st bottle is done.
Good luck and feel better soon. From what I've heard breast infections can be so painful and exhausting. (as if motherhood and breastfeeding didn't take care of the exhaustion thing by itself!)
J. M.

Congratulations for breastfeeding. Even if the baby is not geting it from you keep pumping and you will express as much as you pump. I breastfeed my baby for more than six months and I had to pump it because my baby could not suck. Do not give the baby the same liqued she had before.

More Answers

Check with kellymom.com or your local La Leche League leader (http://www.lllusa.org/IL/WebPalosIL.html) but breastmilk lasts 7 days in the fridge. It's great stuff! I would think you'd be OK,especially if you use it by the next day.

I admire your commitment to breastfeeding through challenges. It is very rewarding.

No, once the milk is used if she does not finish it within an hour it has to be dumped. The bacteria in her mouth will cause it to spoil if re-used.

Agree with Courtney. Also if you want to get your supply back, I would feed from the breast directly. The pump is not the same as direct nursing and if you are having trouble now when your milk supply regulates in a couple months you will probably have more. Nothing will build up your supply more than nursing as much as possible. It will also help get rid of the infection more quickly and it is completely fine to nurse while you have mastitis.

Yes, K., I think you can put it back in the fridge. However, I would make sure she finishes it within the next day or two. I might also suggest only putting 2-3 oz. in the bottle (I think that's what most one-month-olds eat). You can always add more if she finishes it, and that way you can avoid this issue entirely.

As an OB nurse, once a bottle is fed you have one hour to use it or toss. So, feed the breast milk first, then give formula. Are you putting baby to the breast? I agree that the baby breastfeeding will increase your supply better and faster that pumping. You need to take a day, put your feet up, and nurse your baby on demand. Forget about everything else, increase your fluids (preferably no caffiene). The next day you will have more milk. Good Luck!

I would say no but you can put the breast milk in 2 bottles to begin with.

K.,
First of all - good for you that you are nursing - it is the best gift you can give your newborn baby girl!!! Breast Infections can be difficult, stick with pumping and don't be discouraged!
I nursed my son for 1 year and my daughter for 2 1/2 years - phew! I've gone through several bad infections and have mixed milk w/formula. I think as long as you don't let the temperature of the formula get too warm, you should be fine. They say that breast milk can sit at room temperature and be fine much longer than cow milk.
Breast milk is precious and every ounce is like gold when you are the one making it.
Try making smaller mix bottles in anticipation of your daughter not drinking all of it - it is easier to make more mix when you need more.
Best wishes!!!! Hang in there!

The official answer is "no" because the milk could be contaminated after she drinks out of it and theoretically make her sick. My answer is "I would save it and feed it to her" though so I guess it depends on what you are comfortable with.

Have you tred anything to up your supply or getting baby back to breast? The website www.kellymom.com has some great info on increasing milk supply and getting baby back to breast if you are interested in that. Exclusive pumping can make it harder to keep up your supply so you might find some good advice on that.

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