Snow storms and breastmilk

Every breastfeeding momma knows breastmilk is liquid gold. It’s antibacterial properties cure infections like pink eye and athletes foot and it’s a whole lot cheaper than formula. So when mega snow storms threaten mass outages, breastfeeding mothers, particularly those who pump, tend to panic.

BDN file photo

BDN file photo

Double electric pumps don’t pump when there isn’t power. And according to Le Leche League, thawed milk, meticulously stashed for months, must be used within 24 hours. It means working moms, dependent on their stored milk for use at daycare, are often left with bags of unusable milk after a severe storm. But with a little preparation, it’s possible to go upwards of 48 hours after a power outage without losing a drop.

Consider backups

Pack the freezer while there’s still power. Add water or snow to Ziploc baggies and sandwich the bags or trays of milk between frozen blocks. Purchase batteries for electric pumps but keep in mind they will not last long. Consider buying a manual pump as a back up. Or if you’re really worried consider stocking up on formula. Check out the blog for a comparison look at breastfeeding-friendly, organic formulas.

Keep the freezer closed and watch ice crystals

Only check the milk every 12 hours or so. The less you open a freezer, the colder it will stay. If there are ice crystals in the milk, it’s still considered frozen which means it can be thawed and used at any time. Le Leche League recommends storing milk away from the sides and toward the back of a freezer where temperatures are more constant.

BDN file photo

BDN file photo

If all else fails, call a friend

Chances are, not everyone in your social circle will have lost power. If you notice melting, or outages are expected long-term, see if a relative or colleague is willing to have you stash frozen milk in their freezer. Just transport it carefully. The last storm we had resulted in the Ellsworth Police Department trying to track down the owner of a cooler of milk found on the side of the road, most likely blown off the roof of a car or out of a truck bed.

Natalie Feulner

About Natalie Feulner

Natalie Feulner is a journalist and “semi-crunchy” cloth diapering momma to a rambunctious toddler named after a county in California. She drinks too much tea and loves to climb rocks but not at the same time.