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Human Milk Collection, Storage and Transport

While your baby is in the hospital you can still provide your milk for your baby. You will need to use a hospital grade electric pump to get your milk supply started and to keep up your milk supply until your baby is ready to breastfeed.

What we will provide for you:

  • breast pumping kit
  • White patient identification labels
  • Orange human milk labels
  • Storage container with a screw on lid
  • Plastic sealable bags
  • Microwave sterilizer bag
You will need to get an electric pump like the one you use in the hospital. If you have insurance, the pump rental may be covered. You can call your insurance company to be sure. If you are enrolled in WIC, they will lend you an electric pump free of charge. If you need help getting a pump, please see the lactation consultants. There are pumps for you to use when you come to the hospital.

Collecting your milk:

  • Wash your hands.
  • Put the pieces of your double - pumping kit together. Use the bottles provided by CHKD.
  • Place the funnels over the center of your nipple on each breast and turn on the pump.
  • Pump both breasts for 15 minutes. If you have a lot of milk, you may need to stop and change the bottles before 15 minutes. (Fill only half full if your baby is in the NICU)
  • Do hands-on breast compressions while pumping to extract more milk and boost your milk production. 
  • Turn off the pump and remove the funnels from your breasts.
  • Label the containers CHKD gave you.
  • Put the white ID label on the container.
  • Complete the orange label with your baby’s name, date and time of collection and your signature. Put the label on the container.
  • Put the container in a plastic sealable bag. You can put up to 3 containers in one bag.
  • Put the bag in the freezer until you are ready to come to the hospital.
  • You should pump at least 8 times in 24 hours, about every 3 hours. You will need to get up during the night to pump as well. 

Bringing your milk to the hospital:

  • Put your frozen milk in an insulated tote bag or in a cooler.
  • Use freezer gel packs. Keep these in the freezer when not in use.
  • Try to keep the milk frozen on the way to the hospital. If your milk thaws, we must use it within 24 hours or throw it away.
  • Give your milk to your baby’s nurse so it can be put into our freezer.

Caring for yourself:

  • You must pump often to keep your milk supply.
  • Take your pain medicine if you need it.
  • Eat all of your meals and snacks. Drink at least 6 glasses of water or juice a day.

Caring for your breast pumping kit:

  • Disconnect the tubing from the milk collection parts.
  • After each use, take the pieces apart and rinse with cool water. Next, wash with hot soapy water.
  • Dry the parts and store in a clean plastic bag.
  • Your parts should be sterilized once a day. Use the microwave sterilizer bag we gave you.

Helpful hints:

  • Think of the breast pump as a temporary way to keep up your milk supply until your baby can suck well enough to breastfeed. 
  • Pump where you can be comfortable.
  • Breast massage before and during pumping may increase milk flow.
  • Keep your baby’s picture with your pump.
  • Ask your baby’s nurse for one of the blankets he/she was wrapped in. Wear the blanket like a scarf while pumping so your baby is “close.”

On the day of your baby’s discharge:

  • All of your frozen milk will be returned to you before your baby is discharged from the hospital. Bring an insulated tote bag or cooler and frozen gel packs so you can safely transport your frozen milk to your home.
  • Put your containers of frozen milk in your home freezer as soon as you get home. If your milk thaws, you must use it within 24 hours.

Lactation Consultants are available at CHKD to help you. Please call them at 757-668-7405.


Disclaimer: This information is not intended to substitute or replace the professional medical advice you receive from your child's physician. The content provided on this page is for informational purposes only, and was not designed to diagnose or treat a health problem or disease. Please consult your child's physician with any questions or concerns you may have regarding a medical condition.

Reviewed: 03/2013