Dear Valued Surrogates,
At Love & Kindness Surrogacy, we understand and celebrate the profound contribution you’re making to families’ lives. Breast milk provides unmatched nutrition and immunity benefits for the newborn, prompting many intended parents to seek this possibility. To support you in this process, we’ve prepared a comprehensive guide to best practices for breast milk pumping and shipping, grounded in the latest expert advice.
Step 1: Selecting a Top-Rated Breast Pump
Quality breast pump selection is paramount. Top-notch, hospital-grade breast pumps, such as the Spectra Baby USA S1 Plus Electric Breast Pump and the Medela Symphony, are praised for their high efficiency, comfort, and durability. Most insurance providers cover the Spectra, while the Medela Symphony, a premium choice, is typically rentable for about $75/month.
Step 2: Prioritize Optimal Hygiene
Maintaining high cleanliness standards is crucial when pumping breast milk. Always thoroughly wash your hands pre-pumping and clean all pump parts post-use. Each pump comes with manufacturer’s cleaning instructions – be sure to follow these diligently.
Step 3: Develop a Regular Pumping Schedule
Regular pumping – every 2-3 hours or at least 8 times within a 24-hour window – helps sustain your milk supply. Keeping a pumping log to record pumping times and milk volumes can help monitor milk production and flag any changes that might need attention.
Step 4: Safe and Efficient Breast Milk Storage
Pour the expressed milk into a sterile breast milk storage bag. Brands like Lansinoh and Medela offer high-quality, leak-proof storage bags with a double-zipper seal. To save on storage space, freeze the bags flat between cookie sheets in a deep freezer. Each bag should be labeled with the date and time of the pumping session.
Step 5: Effective Packaging for Shipping Breast Milk
When shipping, your choice of cooler matters. The Polar Tech Coolers, available on Amazon, come highly recommended for their exceptional insulation properties. The size of the cooler depends on the volume of milk being shipped. Pair this with 4 ply Techni Ice to maintain temperature during transit. This product is also found on Amazon – remember to order a few days in advance to accommodate delivery times.
Frozen milk shipping is safest. Utilize an insulated shipping container and pack the milk with dry ice to keep it frozen during transit. Remember to adhere to safety guidelines for shipping with dry ice, a potentially hazardous material if mishandled. Reputable companies like PeriShip or FedEx provide dry ice shipping services and supply guidelines for safe packing and shipping.
Step 6: Choose a Trusted Shipping Provider
Choose an overnight courier service to minimize transit time. Services like FedEx and UPS are reliable for overnight delivery. For surrogates and intended parents residing close to an airport, airline cargo services, such as Southwest Cargo, provide a cheaper but equally efficient alternative. Inform your chosen courier that the package contains human milk and always request tracking to keep both you and the intended parents updated on the package’s progress.
Step 7: Join a Supportive Online Community
Joining a group like “Exclusively Pumping Surrogates” on Facebook can provide invaluable support and insights. Exclusively pumping can sometimes feel isolating – having a network of women experiencing the same journey can be extremely uplifting and helpful.
Step 8: Maintain Clear Communication with the Intended Parents
Lastly, keep the intended parents in the loop about the shipment. Share the tracking number and estimated delivery time so they can make necessary preparations for receiving the milk.
While this guide is comprehensive, each surrogacy journey is unique, and there may be additional considerations in your case. Feel free to reach out to us or consult with a lactation consultant or healthcare provider if you need more personalized advice or support.