10 Ways to Increase Your Freezer Stash of Breast Milk!
I remember when I had my first child and was new to the whole breastfeeding thing, figuring out how to build a breast milk stash AND feed by baby was confounding. I recall having to return to work in three weeks and panicking because I hadn’t been able to save and freeze any milk.
Flash forward three kids later and my knowledge about breastfeeding (along with my deep freezer) is filled to the brim. This post is for any new mom who is struggling to understand just how she will be able to not only feed her new infant on demand, but also build up a breast milk freezer stash backup.
Worry not, freezing breast milk doesn't have to be complicated! Learning how to build your breast milk supply stash is fairly easy if you follow these milk supply tips:
Determine just how large of a breast milk freezer stash you actually need.
This was a big misconception I had with my first. I thought I should have oodles of milk saved up before I went back to work. In reality, I only needed 2-3 days worth of milk max, because I would be pumping at work for the next day’s supply. Don’t feel pressure to have a massive freezer stash!
Start ahead of time.
I’ve found the best way to build a stash of breast milk without causing your body to permanently over-produce is to create a pumping schedule and accumulate the stored milk gradually over several weeks. Pumping just a few ounces extra a day over a few weeks is enough to build your stored milk.
Pump in the morning after your baby’s first feed.
Your milk supply will always be highest first thing in the morning. After your baby nurses, this is the time to pump off any remaining milk to store in the freezer. I found 10-15 minutes pumping was sufficient.
Increase your supply naturally.
Using Premama Lactaction Drink Mix is an easy way to boost your breast milk supply naturally. If you are going back to work, sometimes you may find your supply dips. Drinking Premama Lactation Support can help combat any diminish in your supply, which will help you keep up with your baby’s demand. That way you won’t have to dip into your freezer supply very often.
Focus on saving extra milk when your baby is still tiny.
I had twin boys after my daughter and found that I would produce more milk than they could drink those first four months. This was a key time for me in terms of building my breast milk freezer stash. I would pump 2-3 times a day after they nursed and ended up freezing a TON. In this case I was happy I had a big stash because once those boys reached six months, they were out-drinking my supply. Our freezer stash proved very helpful!
Utilize compression and massage.
I found using compression and massage while pumping helped me get much more milk out of each session. Here are some easy instructions to follow.
Know and follow breast milk storage rules.
There are very specific rules about how breast milk should be handled and stored. I was unaware when I was first trying to build a freezer supply and had to throw a whole week’s worth of pumped milk out. Don’t make this mistake! Follow these breast milk storage rules.
Freeze in small batches so there’s no waste.
I suggest freezing your extra milk in 2-4 ounce measurements. This ensures that thawed milk will not go to waste, because once it is thawed, you can’t re-freeze it. The last thing you want is to work hard to build a breast milk freezer stash only to have it go to waste once thawed!
Find easy ways to save extra milk.
If you are the type that lets down on both sides while your baby is nursing, these milk saver cups can be a great way to capture that milk for freezing. If your baby is bottle fed, you can and should freeze any milk left over from a freshly pumped feeding.
Don’t let yourself get too stressed about it all.
Figuring out how to create a breast milk freezer stash shouldn’t be something stressful. Do the best you can and give yourself some grace. If you’re tired after your baby’s morning feed, then forget pumping and just snuggle in bed. If you just can’t stand your pump that day, put it in the closet and move on. Know that you are doing amazing mama.
Cheers to happy, healthy babies and mamas!