When your breastmilk has finally come in, it’s time to pack that liquid gold for your little bubbles to enjoy for as long as possible.
Whether you are breastfeeding or exclusively pumping, we have compiled a list of storage ideas to help build your stash of breastmilk in the freezer. But before we get stuck in, there are a few things we need to do to get the best out of the goods you express.
It goes without saying, what goes in must come out. That means ensuring that you look after yourself with nutritious food and take your vitamins to help increase your supply. Only then will you effectively be able to truly measure the quality of your milk output.
Measuring How Much Breastmilk to Store
Being a first-time mom, the thought of even beginning to build your own stash of milk might leave you feeling overwhelmed. You might wonder if what you pump will be enough. We’ve got the tips to help you get started.
Pump Directly into the Bag
We recommend you getting milk bags that have the measurements already printed on them.
Ideally, if you are expressing, you can have these bags attached to your breastmilk pump instead of bottles. This way you can monitor exactly how much is going into the bags for instant storage!
Catching That Liquid Gold
As you gradually become established in expressing and you have built up a supply for at least a couple of days’ worth, you can afford to tip your milk into a pitcher. By doing this you can physically see how much milk you have to work with each day.
This is particularly useful for those days when you have chosen to exclusively express instead of breastfeeding your baby. Ideally, you would dip into your stash of frozen breastmilk to feed your tiny human so you can double express and get the most out of each side.
Once your pitcher is full, you can pour them into separate bags or containers of your choice. Now you are ready to freeze your breastmilk!
Just remember that milk can only be stored in the fridge for up to 7 days, so make sure that you aren’t adding fresh milk to milk that is a few days old.
Frozen Breastmilk Storage
At the beginning, you may choose to only focus on getting your baby fed and content. But once your supply is established, it’s important to think about ensuring the safety of freezing breastmilk.
According to the CDC guidelines, freezer-based breast milk should be kept at -18 degrees and should never be re-frozen once it has thawed.
We won’t blame you if you keep wanting to open your freezer to admire your ever-growing stash as proof of your hard work and dedication. However, try to limit opening and closing the door so that you can keep the temperature right.
Get Your Freezer Stash Ready
Unless you have a freezer strictly dedicated to storing your milk goodness, we know that space will be limited in every way, especially if you are a new mom.
It’s worth noting that whichever product or brand you go with, you must always be using the oldest milk, i.e., what you’ve frozen first. All your hard work will come to nothing if your stash isn’t organized in a way that you can see at a glance.
So it’s time to get creative!
Storage Ideas for Your Breastmilk
Labeling the time and date you store your breastmilk will make your life a lot easier. This way, when you open the freezer to grab your frozen breastmilk, you know you’ve got the oldest batch first.
We will be looking at staying organized through the use of magnetic whiteboards, milk bags, storage bottles, storage container boxes, and stackable pots, especially for you, mama!
Grab a whiteboard and stick it on the freezer.
Every time you take a bag of frozen breastmilk, make a note of replacing what you have taken and why you took it in the first place (traveling, working, daycare) so that you can see how much of your stash is left before any panic modes set in!
When it comes to milk bags, you are spoilt for choice. You can have the ready-to-freeze bags straight off the double express pump that are re-sealable and re-usable.
There are many out there that are designed to withstand freezer burn, even if you keep opening the door to top up your stash!
Just remember to lay your milk bags horizontally when you freeze them so that the milk is spread equally to all the corners of the pouch. Once frozen, you can then prop it upright for easy visibility.
For convenience, storage bottles with an adaptable top for teats are a fabulous way of defrosting breastmilk quicker rather than having to wait around for a milk bag to thaw and then having to transfer this to a sterilized bottle.
This is great for moms that have a lot of freezer space.
Storage Container Boxes
These are great for separating your liquid gold from the common frozen food products you have to feed the rest of the clan.
Containers act as a barrier to stop your milk from absorbing the smells of other foods. This, however, is dependent on the type of milk pouches you opt for.
These are small to medium-sized pots that are great for stacking in the freezer.
You can also get breast pump adapters that will allow you to pump directly into the pots for storage. The best thing about these pots is that they are reusable and dishwasher safe.
You could even use these pots when you start weaning your baby. Now that’s a definite win!
There is just so much out there in terms of different products you could use to store your breastmilk.
Each storage type has many options. You can bag, bottle or stack. Stockpiling your milk will cut your time significantly. Storing your breastmilk in the freezer requires a lot of planning and timing.
Whatever storage decision you make will be the right one because mama knows best.