So you’ve just had a baby and have taken the beautiful decision to give your baby your breast milk.
Before we can think about how we can build a freezer stash of breast milk, we need to be able to have an adequate supply in the first place. So how do we become milk-lords to the freezer?
Initially, you may struggle to get your breast milk to come in, especially if you’ve had a c-section. It’s natural to worry about whether you will have much milk to feed your baby. You need not worry! The baby will always get what they need!
A Quality Freezer
When you are considering building a breast milk freezer stash you will need to consider your storage situation. Are you planning to keep your milk in your family’s freezer? It’s perfectly acceptable to store breastmilk alongside food, but you may quickly run out of space. Another thing to consider is that breastmilk should only be stored in a standard fridge/freezer for 6 months. If you are serious about building a milk stash, a dedicated freezer for breast milk may be a better plan for you. With a dedicated deep freezer, breast milk can be stored for up to 12 months, so a milk freezer will give you longer time for your milk, plus a LOT more space.
Diet and Supplements
Even supermoms need help to get their milk supply up! So ensuring that you have a good variety of vitamins can help boost your diet every day.
Taking vitamins at night would just be flushed out in the morning. It’s better to take them early in the mornings so that it’s one less thing to do and it will help keep your energy up for the hours to come and prepare for the weeks ahead.
While there are some great breastfeeding and maternity vitamins available, it’s a good idea to check with your doctor if you should be supplementing with these before you start.
A better option is to make sure that you are eating the right foods. Natural remedies such as oats, brewers yeast and plenty of water are also amazing at boosting your milk supply.
Invest in A Good Breast Pump
Having a double electric breast pump is a great solution to increasing your milk supply. There are brands out there that mimic the suction and breathing of a new baby to ensure an effective letdown. It’s simple, more breast milk equals more freezer stash!
So what do you do when you get the baby latched as you gaze so lovingly at your tiny little human? The answer is to get pumping!
Time to Pump
Order a hospital grade breast pump to your ward and ask for a lactation consultant to give you the best pointers possible. The more advice you can get from your sessions with your nurse, the better it will be for you when you are discharged and ready to go home.
Ideally, you should be expressing with a pump whilst the baby is latched on one side. This helps the body to realize that the supply is a little low and will start to generate extra milk to feed your hungry human.
Build Your Milk Stash Through Consistency
Being a mom is hard. There’s so much to do and so little time to do it. But if you are looking to build a stash of breast milk you need to remain consistent.
To keep your milk supply running you need to start pumping every day at the same time you feed your little one. So if your hungry bubba feeds every three to four hours within the first six months you also need to be pumping at the same length of time.
It’s best to do this simultaneously because it’s hard work trying to stick to a rigid pumping schedule when the baby is sleeping – you need to rest your body too. You will also find that your baby will start to wean around four to six months and may not feed as often. However, if you stick to the routine of pumping within the six months of breastfeeding, you should be able to produce more milk.
How to Store Your Stash of Breast Milk Safely
Breast milk should only be kept in the freezer for six months at a time per batch. We’d recommend it be stored in a BPA-free breast milk storage bag or glass container rather than a plastic container. Labeling the date you last pumped helps you to decipher the oldest milk which should be kept in front of the stash. Frozen breast milk needs to be stored at -18 degrees or lower.
Breast Milk Freezer Stash for Busy Moms
Sometimes you don’t always get a chance to freeze your milk stash straightaway. So it is worth noting that if you were to temporarily store the breast milk in the fridge then it should be at 4 degrees.
The great thing about storing the breast milk in the refrigerator is that the chances are someone caring for your baby needs quick access to a milk bottle they won’t have to wait for the milk to thaw first.
Going Back To Work
Going back to work can be a daunting prospect for the new mom. All thoughts go through your head about how you will be able to nurse your baby when they are at daycare and you are at work. Will you have enough milk? Try not to worry about this, if you’ve already created a stash for the baby, the chances are they will be fine taking it from a bottle with someone else. Your baby might want milk from the breast at home and may feed for longer so you will always have enough milk.
There is of course the other option of trying to stick to your schedule of pumping whilst at work.
Pumping at lunchtime and breaks, though admittedly not the most desirable way to spend your free time, could ensure that you are consistent with your milk supply.
Just pop the stash in an insulated lunch bag with freezer blocks and stick it in the refrigerator – no one will ever know. If someone takes a peak then that’s their problem!
it’s ok if you are now exclusively pumping. You can still build your stash just as effectively. You might have decided to stop breastfeeding when the baby starts having solids as long as you keep expressing yourself routinely.
Final Thoughts on Storing Your freezer stash of breastmilk
Sadly nothing lasts forever, as much as we’d like to keep giving the goodness of breast milk, eventually, that too will come to an end. Consistency is key and looking after yourself so you can look after your baby is paramount. Keeping yourself healthy by eating right and keeping organized by freezing your breastmilk, is the best gift you can give to give your baby the best start in life.