¿Does breast milk expressed with a breast pump retain its properties? One of the great advantages of breastfeeding is undoubtedly that of providing immunological support to the newborn, thanks to the antibodies present in breast milk . On many occasions, however, new mothers are forced to use the breast pump, either due to breast engorgement or due to work commitments, and many wonder if expressed breast milk maintains the same properties and the same antibodies as that expressed straight from the chest.
Does milk extracted with an extractor retain its properties?
If a mother has a virus, like the flu, her body produces antibodies against the flu pass into your milk to protect your babybut those who feed their baby with feeding bottle (expressed breast milk) need not worry: the amount of antibodies does not appear to be different of that present in milk consumed directly by the breast.
“Fresh breast milk has a multitude of immunoactive components, including antibodies,” says Jenelle Ferry, a neonatologist and director of nutrition, child nutrition and development at Pediatrix Neonatology of Florida, who explains:
“In this way, although direct breastfeeding has benefitsthe antibodies are not compromised with expressed milk.”
Only a very slight difference is found between the fresh breast milktherefore freshly extracted, and the one stored in the refrigerator: the first may contain more antibodies but in negligible amount. Specifically, the breast milk that we keep in the fridge once we have extracted it has almost as many antibodies as fresh, as long as it is not stored in the refrigerator for more than four days. On the other hand, in the case of using the breast pump to store breast milk in the freezer, it will maintain even lower levels of antibodies than refrigerated milk and much less than fresh.
Another thing new parents should pay attention to is how do you heat breast milk : » Antibodies can ‘disappear’ if heated to high temperatures and/or heated very quickly, warns Ferry. “The safest way to heat it is put a bottle of milk in a cup or bowl with hot water, so that it warms up little by little and the heat is distributed evenly throughout the bottle”, explains the doctor, also pointing out that we never have to heat a bottle of milk in the microwave.