DME Provider’s Guide to Safe Breast Milk Storage Accessories

As the expert on medical equipment, and a pro at dealing with insurance providers, you are an expectant mother’s best source for a breast pump and accessories. However, her stage of life and shopping habits make her more likely to turn to a big box store than a DME provider. Here are some ways to make sure moms-to-be think of you when they’re ready to purchase a breast pump.

Ask the Right Questions to Sell Breast Milk Storage Supplies

How are you going to store your breast milk right after it is pumped?

Be sure your customer has a plan for immediately storing the breast milk she pumps. It will need to be kept cold right away, and she might feel uncomfortable storing it in the community refrigerator at work. Cooler packs from Medela or Ameda provide an easy way to make sure milk stays safe for baby and doesn’t spill in transport.

Freshly Expressed Breast Milk Storage Guidelines

(For Healthy Term Babies)

  • Room Temperature: 4–6 hours at 68–78°F (19–26°C)
  • Cooler with 3 Frozen Ice Packs: 24 hours at 59°F (15°C)
  • Refrigerator: 5–8 days at 39°F or lower (4°C)
  • Freezer: 6–12 months at 0–4°F (-18 to -20 °C)

How much bottle-feeding will you do?

Depending on how much bottle-feeding is to be done, your customer will need between four and twelve bottles. Three to four bottles will need to stay with baby during a typical workday and three to four will need to stay with mom to fill for the next day. Unless mom is exclusively breastfeeding when she and baby are together, additional bottles will be needed. Your customer may also want to consider how many might be in the dishwasher or in need of cleaning at a given time.

Safety Tip

Milk collected in bottles should be used or frozen within the week. It should not be kept near the front of the fridge nor near uncooked meats and eggs.

How will you store extra breast milk if you pump more than baby needs?

Breast milk storage bags are a convenient way to pump and store extra breast milk. Your customer can pump directly into the bag, saving the trouble of cleaning a bottle. Storage bags are easily labeled and placed in the freezer until needed.

Helpful tips and safety reminders for customers freezing breast milk:

  • Label storage containers with the date.
  • When using frozen breast milk, thaw and use the oldest milk first.
  • Defrost frozen milk in the fridge overnight, or with warm (not hot) running water.
  • Thawed milk is safe in the fridge for 24 hours, but should be discarded if unused, not refrozen.
  • Store milk in 2-5 oz. portions so that nothing gets wasted.
  • Cream and milk may separate when stored, gently mix to ensure baby receives all the milk’s nutrients.
  • Don’t use milk that smells sour.