NICU NURSES....labeling breast milk???

by schoolnurseadmin schoolnurseadmin (New) New

Specializes in NICU. Has 2 years experience.

Hello Everyone!! I am doing some research for our NICU to find an easy, more fool proof way to label breast milk for all the different patients in our unit.

I would appreciate any and all feedback! Please let me know what facility you are from and what your process is.

Do you treat it like blood (bodily fluid) and require 2 people to veryify, do you use a color coding system, do you have to scan patients and breast milk, like you do meds?

Thanks in advance!



babyNP., APRN

Specializes in NICU. Has 14 years experience. 1,920 Posts

Many people won't feel too comfortable sharing their facility name, as a FYI.

In my unit, each bottle has the patient's label on it and we verify with another RN.

Good luck on your project!



Specializes in NICU. Has 8 years experience. 1,302 Posts

Parents label the bottle with a label we provide. Two RN's verify it is the correct patient's milk using the patient's label.

If the milk is labeled with a different label (mom's pumping in another hospital and using her label to store it) we have mom change it to one of our labels before we use it.


Specializes in NICU. 409 Posts

We also double check the label with another RN. We bring the second RN to the baby's bedside, and check the breast milk label against the bedside card, using name and dob. We add the patient ID if it's twins, just to make sure.

"Word on the street" is that we will soon be scanning breast milk, just like we do our meds.



Specializes in L&D, Newborn Nursery, NICU. Has 5 years experience. 25 Posts

At my facility we have mom label the breastmilk with two of the baby's patient labels. We require double independent verification (both people need to check the milk bottle label against the patient's ID band that they are wearing-which is also a label-verifying name and MRN). We are working on a barcode system to use where we would scan the milk and the baby's band.

We have milk techs who prepare all the breastmilk for the unit and they do the same double independent verification process when they are getting ready to prepare the milk. They verify with the nurse what the baby is eating and how much to prepare. They then re-label the bottles/syringes with a patient label and a color coded milk label detailing if the milk was fresh or frozen and whether it has been fortified or not. This label also includes an expiration date and time and whether the bottle can be frozen or not if it is not used.

I might be able to scan our milk stickers to send you samples of them if you are interested.

Hope this helps!



Specializes in NICU. Has 2 years experience. 12 Posts

Just curious what size (#of beds) facility do you work in that you have techs to prepare milk, etc.? I think we are a 16 or so bed facility, but actually accommodate 20+ at times and we don't even have a unit sec 24 hours a day and no techs to speak of. Wherever it may be, I'm coming to work there.

Fortunately, we are the closest level III NICU in a 70-150+ mile radius, depending on which direction you go.

Thanks for your input!!



Specializes in L&D, Newborn Nursery, NICU. Has 5 years experience. 25 Posts

I work in the one of the top ten largest NICUs in the nation. We have 120 beds and have operated with up to 137 kids on the unit at our highest number. It is a great place to work and we have the advantage of being a teaching hospital as well.

It is interesting though because we don't yet implement some simple things such as utilizing donor milk-we use Prolacta as a fortifier, but no direct donor milk. :doh:



Specializes in Level II & III NICU, Mother-Baby Unit. Has 21 years experience. 223 Posts

We have a barcode system. Labels are printed for Mom and she puts the date and time the milk was collected on the label and places it on the milk container; the label has a barcode that matches the admission ID band barcode the baby received when it was born. A lot of us still verify by looking at the label for the patient's name too but we are supposed to scan the milk and the barcode before giving the milk to the baby too. Problems occur when the breast milk label is worn a bit and won't scan. In that case we have our unit secretary print some more labels and verify that label with the one on the bottle with another nurse's eyes (the barcode labels also have the hospital patient number on them along with their name). Our unit usually has about 12-20 patients most of the time.


BabyLady, BSN, RN

Specializes in NICU, Post-partum. 2,300 Posts

We print stickers that have the patient information and barcodes and these are given to the mothers to put on the bottles.

Bottles are dated when they are frozen, and dated/timed when pulled out into the fridge.

If the bottle doesn't have a goes in the trash.

Colors are not reliable forms of identification.

We now have a breast milk scanner so we can match the milk with the baby.

However, if they will not scan, two nurses must verify the match.



Specializes in NICU. Has 2 years experience. 12 Posts

With such a large unit visitors must be an issue. What type of visiting policy do you have?

Our unit used to be an adult ICU so our rooms are divided and close with sliding glass doors. There are 2-4 beds in each room on average. We allow 3 visitors at each bedside, one of which must be banded (mom, dad, or significant other). Other than that, they can bring any person they want to inside to "visit" (over the age of 12).



8 Posts

In our 60 bed, level III unit, Breast milk is treated like a med. Parents are given the labels, they date & time. Parents are instructed in protecting the barcode. If the milk is from a mom who has twins or more, the labels are stacked, with each bar code sticker flagged so you can scan.

Scan pt to open the MAR. Then scan milk to match to pt. If you are fortifying: you also scan a "label for bottle" and every bottle of milk to mix, with acomment as to what the scan is for. The QI on Breastmilk scanning checks to make sure that the milk was scanned BEFORE the feeding time shown in the EMR. Because you should not be feeding before scanning/verification. Hope that helps.



121 Posts

regular hospital labels (that go on our labs, etc) are on the milk bottles. Checked by two nurses, comparing it to the ID band taped to the babies isolette. Our babies do not wear ID bands that are perm. attached. They are on removable restraint foam things that we cut. To those that have a milk tech....we were informed from the fortifier companies that adding similac or other fortifiers to make a 22 or 24 calorie formula that it breaks down and should be done only at the time of feeding.

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