Pooling milk is defined as mixing freshly pumped/expressed milk with previously pumped/expressed milk.
Often Moms are told: “Do not combine breast milk from different sessions”.
The fear is that there may be an increased bacterial contamination or temperature differences that will negatively affect breastmilk. However, is there a significant enough reason to be concerned? Are there benefits to pooling milk?
A study conducted by Lisa Stellwagen and colleagues suggests that the fear of bacterial contamination due to pooling is merely a myth. Not only is there not a significant difference in the bacterial count, but pooling milk also reduces the variability in nutrient and caloric composition of breast milk. Thus, there would be a more consistent level of protein, fat, and carbohydrate content in the breast milk when pooling, allowing the infant to receive a consistently nutritional diet. It should be noted, however, that there can be an issue with bacterial contamination most often due to improper transferring and storing of the breast milk. It's important to ensure that you are using sterilized bottles to store breast milk.
Another concern often cited is the concept of combining breast milk that is different temperatures. The same study from Lisa Stellwagen found that this should not be a concern as there is not a significant difference between the bacterial count if you combine cooled breast milk with freshly expressed breast milk.
To summarize, the idea that you should not combine breast milk from different pumping sessions should be debunked. Not only is there not a significant enough difference between non-pooled and pooled breast milk’ bacterial count, but the evidence also supports that there is higher nutritional consistency when one does pool their milk. The most important way to avoid contamination is to use sterilized bottles to store breast milk.
Pippy Sips CEO and Co-Founder, Amberlee, was a big proponent of pooling milk during her pumping days. She found that pumping into the same bottles each pumping session reduced the number of bottles she needed, helped her better track her milk supply, and logistically made sense for her. As a busy Director of a Mental Health Clinic, she often had trouble squeezing in time, energy, and space to pump. Pooling milk took out a couple of the many steps needed for pumping and made things a bit easier for her. Amberlee pooled milk with both of her babies and she is happy to report that both are healthy, happy, and thriving (even in this chaotic time!).
This is where Maia comes in! Maia provides a safe and sleek way to store your breast milk-whether you choose to pool or not. Stay tuned for the release of Maia!
Authors note: Please ensure that you discuss any questions or concerns about breastfeeding and pumping with your doctor.