Your baby is being admitted to the Hospital for special care. If you are planning to breastfeed, you may not be able to for a period of time. This will depend on your child's healthcare needs. This page provides information on how to pump and store your milk until your baby can be fed by tube, breast or bottle.
After your baby is admitted to The Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia, tell your baby's nurse that you are interested in breastfeeding and you would like to pump and save your milk. Your child's nurse will give you a pump kit and individual storage bins in which to store your breast milk in designated refrigerators and freezers in the Hospital. Your nurse will also show you the storage bottles, labels to use and how to properly label your breast milk.
Electric breast pumps stimulate your breasts in much the same way a baby sucks, which will help to produce and maintain your milk supply. Your nurse can show you how to use the electric breast pump and can arrange for you to meet with a lactation specialist.
Medela Symphony® electric breast pumps are available at a variety of locations throughout the Hospital.
All the rooms have a comfortable chair, a Symphony electric pump, and sanitary wipes for cleaning the pump. They also have breast milk storage bottles, labels, and a sink with soap to clean your pumping kit.
See pump rooms for specific locations and directions within the Hospital.
In addition, every inpatient unit also has a portable Symphony pump that you can use at your baby’s bedside. You may need to share the pump with other pumping mothers on the floor, but sanitary covers are individualized.
It is also helpful to have a pump at home, since you will need to pump throughout the day and night. Electric breast pumps can be rented for use while you are at home and away from the Hospital.
If you are interested in this, CHOP has a rental station where both electric breast pumps and Baby Weigh™ scales can be rented. For more information, see breast pump rentals.
After collecting the milk, divide the pumped milk into amounts equal to the feedings your baby is taking. This avoids waste. Ask your baby's nurse to give you breast milk storage containers, labels and individual storage bins for the refrigerator and freezer to store your breast milk in.
Fill out the breast milk label completely.
Ask your baby's nurse to show you the breast milk refrigerator or freezer on your baby's unit. Place your pumped milk in your refrigerator bin if it is to be used within 96 hours. All milk fed to your baby in the Hospital must be checked by two healthcare providers. If it is not to be used within 96 hours, place the milk in your freezer bin.
There is limited space in our freezers so only bring in a few days’ worth of milk at a time. Frozen breast milk at CHOP can be used for about one year when stored in a zero-degree freezer.
Never store breast milk on the door of the freezer because the temperature is not constant and the breast milk can begin to thaw.
Once your baby begins to be fed with your pumped breast milk, it is better to give your baby fresh milk rather than frozen. The first feeds should always be the colostrum that you pumped in the first four days after your baby was born.
Your baby should receive your colostrum in the order that it was pumped. When the colostrum is gone, you can pump your milk and give it to your baby’s nurse to be used for the next feeding without freezing it first. Any extra pumped breast milk that is not used to feed your baby should be frozen within 96 hours of pumping.
If you are transporting fresh breast milk from home to the hospital, place it either in a bag of ice or in a cooler filled with ice. Frozen breast milk should be packed tightly into an insulated cooler without ice. You need to be careful not to allow the breast milk to begin to defrost. If it begins to thaw, and is less than 50 percent thawed, it can be refrozen.
If it thaws more than 50 percent, it cannot be refrozen. It needs to be placed in the refrigerator and used within 24 hours. If your baby is still not eating, this milk may need to be thrown away before your baby gets a chance to have it.
Breastfeeding can be a wonderful and rewarding experience for both you and your baby. The staff at Children's Hospital is here to make your breastfeeding experience a positive one. Lactation specialists are available to assist you.
For more information or to schedule an appointment with a member of the lactation team at CHOP, call 215-590-4442 or contact us online.
Reviewed by: Diane L. Spatz, PhD, RN-BC, FAAN
Date: August 2012