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Breastmilk is the best nutrition for your child. It’s recommended that you keep breastfeeding or start pumping your milk while your child is in the hospital. Studies show that children who are fed breastmilk may have:
A child may not be able to start breastfeeding right after birth, or they may need to stop breastfeeding for a time if they get sick. If your child is not able to breastfeed, pump your breasts to start and maintain your milk supply.
If you don’t breastfeed or pump regularly, your milk supply will go down—sometimes quite quickly.
Hospital-grade pumps are available to use in the hospital. You will get a pumping kit, collection containers, and supplies. Your nurse will show you how to use the pump and kit and how clean the parts.
Pump near your child whenever you can, as it can help your milk to “let down” or flow. Ask your nurse about other places to pump.
When your child is in the hospital, the healthcare team follows very strict rules to make sure breastmilk is managed safely.
It’s important that the right child gets the right breastmilk. This is because breastmilk can carry viruses—such as HIV or hepatitis B and C—that can pass on to a child.
You and the nurses will work together. It’s both the healthcare team and the parents’ responsibility to make sure the right child gets the right breastmilk.
Before any breastmilk is used, 2 nurses or the breastmilk tracking system check the milk to make sure it’s going to the right child.
Ask your nurse to get your breastmilk from the secure fridge or freezer. Your nurse will check the patient label on your breastmilk container to make sure it’s the right breastmilk for your child.
Here are the ways to store breastmilk safely:
Ask your nurse to pack all of your breastmilk from the fridge and freezer to send with your child.
Speak to a member of your child's healthcare team or call Health Link at 811.
To see this information online and learn more, visit: MyHealth.Alberta.ca/health/pages/conditions.aspx?Hwid=custom.ab_postpartum_breastmilksafemanagement_inst.
For 24/7 nurse advice and general health information call Health Link at 811.
Current as of: March 29, 2022
Author: Interprofessional Regulation, Health Professions Strategy and Practice, Alberta Health Services
This material is not a substitute for the advice of a qualified health professional. This material is intended for general information only and is provided on an "as is", "where is" basis. Although reasonable efforts were made to confirm the accuracy of the information, Alberta Health Services does not make any representation or warranty, express, implied or statutory, as to the accuracy, reliability, completeness, applicability or fitness for a particular purpose of such information. Alberta Health Services expressly disclaims all liability for the use of these materials, and for any claims, actions, demands or suits arising from such use.