September 24, 2023

Hurricane Ian made landfall in Florida this week as a robust class 4 storm, bringing with it excessive winds, heavy rains, horrifying storm surges and widespread energy outages to thousands and thousands within the state. In case you’re the guardian of a child and stay in Ian’s path — or should take care of one other dangerous storm sooner or later — you could be understandably involved about what you are able to do with a freezer stuffed with hard-earned breast milk or a fridge stuffed with breast milk or formulation bottles in case your energy goes out.

Specialists say there are some steps you’ll be able to take to maintain your milk protected. And if an influence outage lasts some time, there are particular guidelines of thumb to comply with to find out when your milk or formulation continues to be good and when, sadly, it’ll have to be tossed. 

Right here’s what you want to find out about your child’s frozen or refrigerated milk within the occasion of an influence outage.

Tips on how to defend frozen breast milk earlier than an influence outage happens 

Energy outages can occur unexpectedly, however generally you’ve got a heads-up that one could also be coming. If you could lose energy, comply with these tricks to defend your milk  beforehand:

  • Pack your milk shut collectively. “If there may be room to reposition, it’s best to pack the breast milk with as little free area between luggage as doable,” says Mayo Clinic licensed lactation training counselor Rebekah Huppert, R.N., B.S.N. Which will imply stacking the baggage on high of one another or subsequent to one another in rows.

  • Put your milk within the middle of your freezer. Huppert suggests surrounding your milk with as many “dense frozen gadgets” as you’ll be able to. Put different frozen items beneath, on high and on the edges of the milk, she says. If there’s an influence outage, the opposite gadgets in your freezer will primarily function ice packs to assist maintain your breast milk cool.

  • Fill your freezer. “Be sure the freezer is stuffed with frozen items, purchase dry ice or freeze containers of water,” says April Danielle Fogleman, Ph.D., R.D.N., I.B.C.L.C.,  an affiliate professor of diet and an extension specialist and principal investigator of the MILK Analysis and Training analysis crew at North Carolina State College. The extra gadgets in your freezer, the extra chilly they’ll give off to assist maintain your milk frozen, she explains.

  • Retailer breast milk in freezer luggage with minimal air. “When freezing milk, enable as little air as doable” within the luggage, says Leigh Anne O’Connor, board-certified lactation advisor and La Leche League chief. This, she says, lets you retailer the precise milk as shut collectively as doable within the freezer, which additionally saves some area.

How lengthy is frozen breast milk or premade formulation good for if you happen to lose energy? 

It’s troublesome to say precisely how lengthy your milk will keep frozen, on condition that components like how chilly your freezer is and the way properly different gadgets are serving to maintain the milk preserved come into play. 

However if you happen to lose energy, Fogelman recommends that you just open your freezer “as little as doable” to attempt to maintain the contents chilly. 

The Meals & Drug Administration (FDA) says[1] {that a} full freezer will maintain its temperature for roughly 48 hours or 24 hours if it is half full, so long as the door stays closed. The fridge will maintain chilly for about 4 hours, in accordance with the FDA. And Fogelman says to recollect this: “The milk continues to be thought-about frozen if there are ice crystals within the milk.”

Sadly, you’ll be able to’t refreeze defrosted breast milk — it may break down the vitamins and has an elevated danger of bacterial development, according to La Leche League International.

It’s additionally essential to notice that the FDA does not recommend that you freeze formula since it may trigger the components to separate. Nevertheless, you probably have already-mixed formulation within the fridge, it’s thought-about good for twenty-four hours whereas it’s nonetheless chilly. 

As soon as it’s room temperature, formulation is sweet for 2 hours. When you have ready-made formulation that’s been opened, it may sit in your fridge for 48 hours. As soon as it reaches room temperature, it additionally have to be discarded after two hours. 

And it most likely goes with out saying, however if you happen to’re formula-feeding or combo feeding your child and you’ve got superior discover of an enormous storm coming, attempt to top off on formulation forward of time so you’ve got sufficient to get you thru any retailer closures, flooding conditions or energy outages.

What to do in case your breast milk has utterly thawed after an influence outage 

In case your breast milk has thawed out utterly throughout an influence outage, you’ll want to make use of it or throw it out, Fogelman says. As soon as your milk is thawed, it must be used inside 24 hours, in accordance with the Facilities for Illness Management and Prevention (CDC)[2]. And in case your milk has reached room temperature, it must be used inside one to 2 hours, the CDC advises. 

In case you’re pumping, what must you do if you happen to lose energy? 

When you have some discover that your energy could exit, you’ll need to be sure you have a handbook or battery-powered pump obtainable for the just-in-case. 

“If the pump does have a battery, then be sure it’s charged,” Fogelman says.

No matter you do, attempt to keep in your pumping schedule. 

“It is very important proceed to take away milk as you usually would to keep up milk provide and forestall points with plugged ducts, engorgement and even mastitis,” Huppert says. “If doable, put child on the breast to take away milk, even you probably have been largely pumping and bottle-feeding.”

If that’s not doable, Huppert recommends utilizing a handbook pump or hand-expressing milk. (She recommends visiting La Leche League International’s website to study the right hand-expressing method.)

In case you’ve simply pumped and the facility goes out, the milk is sweet for as much as 4 hours.

Energy outages occur, however they don’t routinely imply it’s a must to throw out all that frozen breast milk you’ve been storing. Taking steps upfront, if doable, can elevate the chances that you could salvage plenty of that breast milk you’ve been saving up within the freezer and even a few of the milk you’re retaining chilly within the fridge too.