A lot of breastfeeding moms feel the need to have a freezer that's packed full of frozen breastmilk and the process of achieving that can feel like a daunting and stressful task.
Some women choose to hit the ground running and start building their stash shortly after giving birth while others wait until later on, perhaps as they get closer to returning to work.
While it may seem like you need to have a large freezer stash of milk before returning to work, it's is not a necessity! The goal should really be to pump and store milk on Sunday that you'll need for Monday...then pump and store your milk on Monday to use Tuesday.. and so on and so forth! However, depending on how many times you pump each day and how much milk you get it may take you 2+ days rather than one day to save up enough milk to leave with your child's caretaker for the day. But, ideally, the goal should be to use the freshest milk possible and then dip into your freezer stash when necessary.
Whether you'll be going back to work or just want the freedom to run errands, if building a stash is something you're wanting to do here are some helpful tips to try and to keep in mind:
- Use a haaka on the opposite breast while nursing
- Massage breasts before pumping
- Pump after, not before a feeding
- If baby is sleeping longer stretches at night, replace the night feeding with a pumping session (I know, I know, not ideal but it's an option and a good way to help keep your supply up!)
- Pump after the first morning feed- some women notice they have an increase in their supply first thing in the morning
- Consistency is key. Keeping the number of times you pump each day and even the time of day that you pump can be beneficial and help tell your body what it needs to produce. This becomes especially important if you'll be spending time away from your baby and want to maintain your supply.
- Remember..stress can unfortunately reak havoc on your output. So keep that in mind while pumping and figuring out what the best pumping schedule looks like for you. It may sound crazy, but looking at your baby while pumping helps your body release the lovely hormone oxytocin, which in turn helps improve breast milk output. Pumping while away from baby? Take out your phone and look at pictures and watch videos of your little babe!
- Lastly, try your hardest not to over analyze how much you're pumping each session. It can be tempting to compare ourselves to others but your output can vary throughout the day and is affected by many factors (baby's age, time elapsed since last feeding, breast storage capacity, and pump quality just to name a few). Many of us worry about low supply when in fact our body is producing a very normal amount of milk. It's also important to remember that babies are often much better at removing milk than pumps are. Slow and steady wins the race and again, consistency is key!
Storage Organization Tips!
1. Lay the bag of breast milk down flat in the freezer. This will distribute the milk in the bag more evenly and make for easier storing!
2. Once the bag is frozen, you can place it in a storage bin such as one of these:
Lastly, Breastmilk Storage Guidelines from the CDC:
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