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

by schoolnurseadmin schoolnurseadmin (New) New

Specializes in NICU. Has 2 years experience.

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Specializes in NICU level III. Has 9 years experience. 125 Posts

Parents label their own breastmilk with a time/date & with another label that states the infants name & a barcode. When we draw up breastmilk we label our syringe with a label that has the infants name & a barcode & we have to scan the baby & both the bottle of breastmilk as well as the syringe/bottle we poured the breastmilk into. (basically like how we do meds)



Specializes in NICU. 18 Posts

We provide parents with their baby's medical labels, and they write the date and time of collection on each label before placing it on their syringe/bottle. When it comes to retrieving the milk from the freezer/fridge we double check independently, the same as routine medications. If the milk is transferred to a syringe or bottle...we place an additional label on it for verification.



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

Sorry-just realized you asked another question of me. Our unit visitation policy allows for two visitors per baby at the bedside at a time. One person must be banded and all visitors have to be over the age of 18, except that we do allow siblings over the age of 2 to visit with proper vaccine documentation.



Specializes in L/D 4 yrs & Level 3 NICU 15 yrs. Has 19 years experience. 173 Posts

I work in a 60 bed unit. We treat breastmilk as a med. The baby's admission band is scanned and then the label on the bottle is scanned. If the barcode won't scan, it is verified with another RN. We also must chart the feeding after the scan in the computer. We have a zero tolerance policy for charting a feed, and then scanning. We also scan when fortifying and put a comment that it wasn't actually given, but just mixed to fortify.



Specializes in NICU. Has 5 years experience. 4 Posts

Interesting the different methods used to label and check MBM. We do a bit of the same. We double check all milk to be fed or prepared with a 2nd RN or NA and the baby's band which has the MRN on it. Anything taken out of the freezer and placed in the refrigerator is labeled with the time/date is was taken out. All MBM is labeled by mom with date and time pumped. Mom gets loads of these labels that match its band and requests more as they run out. We had a bar code system but some ppl picked up on flaws and it was discontinued. Twins' frozen breast milk only needs one label of one of the twins but when it is prepared into syringes/bottles it will have the respective twins label on it. We always prepare the feeds for the next shift and label them with time/date they were made. We also take out new bottles of the frozen milk so that the next shift can also make feeds. We do use donor milk from a local hospital that has a NICU. We treat it the same as MBM once prepared for the infant.

We have a Level III/IV 60ish bed really just depends what's falling out of the sky needing a bed. There is also 2 other NICU's in the area, w/in 30-40min. Also level III.



5 Posts

Our NICU has parents label their own milk with time and date on patient labels we provide for them. All our babies have 2 patient identifiers (per JCAHO) in the forms of bands. The nurse will verify with another RN at the baby's bedside when milk is used.

When frozen milk is thawed and mixed, our nurses will time, date, and intial the label as well.

Many of the hospitals in the area have moved to scanning bar codes. We are moving in that direction, but are not there yet. The patient labels have bar codes on them, but the scanners are not yet in place on the unit.



Specializes in NICU. Has 3 years experience. 31 Posts

parents put their baby's label on it...label is the same label we use in the unit to send labs, etc. it has the patient's name, dob, medical record number, etc. prior to mixing/administering/warming, we verify name and MRN with another nurse or "care partner" (nurse's aide)...we also chart with whom we verified the baby's milk. if the parent is at the bedside, i'll sometimes verify it with the parents, especially if just pumped.

in addition, each bottle has a second label on it for parents to write date, time when pumped.

there is a second line to write date/time when thawed.

we'll wrte on the side if mixed with formula or hmf, etc.



4 Posts

We use the NICU Tracer and have used this barcode system for about 5 years. They have since sold out to Children's Medical Ventures. Our system is needing replacing and it is now super expensive, so we are moving toward treating BM as a medication so we can use that scanning system for breast milk as well as for medications. Scanning has worked wonders for our unit. We no longer have to double check milk with another nurse and have had no errors since we purchased the scanning system.

aerorunner80, ADN, BSN, MSN, APRN

Specializes in MSN, FNP-BC. Has 8 years experience. 585 Posts

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!


We don't have med scanners yet. We just went live with computer charting in October so we're still in phase I. Heresay is we won't get scanners until phase III. :(

Anyway, we teach mom to date and time when they pump the milk and to freeze it if they don't bring it in the same day. We will remix the milk with fortifier if we need to and then when we go to use it, we just verify it with two nurses.



19 Posts

We verify milk with 2 RNs reading name & MRN.

I have heard of barcoding but FYI I got from a nurse who once worked in another nicu is that nurses would keep one EBM label for the baby either on the clipboard or bedside area and scan that instead of the original container the fdg was in. I'm assuming it's put in another container due to original bottle holding maybe 60ml and only needing 20ml for fdg and the graduate used for warming was labeled for each baby. Back to the point...this method did end up in babies getting the wrong milk from nurses not using system appropriately. I personally like 2 RNs to verify (actually going to bedside, not simply agreeing that the name is the same).

We also verify with 2 RNs formulas that are prepared ahead of time and stored in the breast milk refrigerator.

Our 26 bed NICU implemented a breastmilk bar coding system a year ago. We utilize the same PDA for medication bar coding administration and breast milk bar coding. Parents are given preprinted labels and they complete the time and date of pumping. This information is then entered into the inventory list when the milk is accepted into the system. The pharmacy is not involved in this process at all, it is all unit based.

Each feeding is labeled with a bar coded label by the nurse when it is poured out of another container. The newly developed bottle is then taken to the bedside, the patient and the bottle are scanned before administration.

If the system is down or if there is an issue with the scanning, a two RN verification process is followed.



Specializes in NICU. Has 2 years experience. 2 Posts

We give parents labels and verify with 2 RN's or the mother if she is at the bedside.

I am in a 55 bed level III with an 8 bed sub unit next to L&D. Our babies are all in private rooms or twin rooms and have a refrigerator for breast milk only in each room. We verify once a shift or reverify if additional milk is removed from the freezer during the shift.

We allow 4 people at bedside with at least 1 being the mother or father (or support person). We also have an approved visitor list of 4 people who can be at the bedside without the parents but may not bring additional visitors or get any info on the baby

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