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How to Build Milk Storage While Breastfeeding
Whether you will be going back to work or you are a stay-at-home mom, you should be stashing milk…
Building a freezer stash of milk has many reasons. Of course, if you are a career woman you will need to start this immediately.
For the moments you will be away, your kid needs to feed consistently on the same nutrients; the importance of breast milk cannot be overemphasized.
Even while you are on maternity leave, the baby will need to feed regularly.
While some single moms manage feeding babies all through the day and night, you can stash milk and get help while you sleep.
If you are going back to work, you might want to pause on pumping milk.
However, this may not be possible if you don’t have enough backup.
This back to work pumping class is perfect to help you out if you can’t take a pumping break because of milk supply or some other personal reason. It also has great information for the whole process of pumping at work.
Extra milk in storage allows you to take a pumping break. Besides, stashing milk is a technique to handle emergencies.
Health is uncertain and childbirth can be draining and weaken the body; if you have to take strong medication that might affect the baby, the freezer stash will come in handy.
Some circumstances can also keep you from the baby longer than expected.
But how will you build a freezer stash?
There is no specific formula; my sister did it differently; I thought she was being rebellious and dramatic but it turned out to be the best technique for her baby.
Here are some general tips
I bet you know the first week is crucial in establishing a constant supply of milk.
You should not focus on building a freezer stash at this point; however, don’t let it all slip by, take advantage of opportunities to collect milk.
Learn how to use one of these in-between breastfeeding and pumping and you’d be surprised how much milk you collect!
We women differ; some people have an oversupply.
Call it a blessing. In such a case, collecting ounces for a freezer stash can begin even before the mother leaves the hospital.
Oversupply means you need to relieve yourself occasionally and you cannot feed the baby if they are not hungry. This is a good chance to pump out a few ounces to a freezer.
Women with an oversupply of milk occasionally experience the breast pad soaking when breastfeeding on one breast.
For lack of a better word, it is wastage; the milk can be collected through a silicone pump and re-directed to a freezer.
Typically, babies feed at night but some drop this habit after several weeks. If your baby drops night feeding too early, don’t force or let the change interfere with your production patterns.
Consider pumping the milk for your freezer stash. In this case, pumping is not only for backup but also helps in regulating milk production.
Some articles I wrote to help with night feedings:
It is never interesting to wake up in the middle of the night just to pump when everyone else is enjoying their sleep.
However, it is an important period in breastfeeding; you will reap the benefits in a few weeks.
The pumping shouldn’t take long; 2-3 weeks should be enough to establish balance in the body.
You will know when the body is adapted and can go all night without any effects.
I am not sure of the biological reasons behind the high milk production in the morning but it is true.
Most mothers breastfeed early in the morning. After your body has stabilized and milk supply is constant, you should consider day pumping.
It doesn’t have to be early in the morning, but don’t extend it to mid-morning. Just after you are done with morning chores and laying the baby for a nap, add on the backup freezer stash.
The timing of this day pump can be different depending on your baby feeding patterns.
Add ounces in the last weeks
Breast milk production is a natural process, which is dependent on hormones and the environment.
Milk supply is likely to drop when you go back to work; the body has to adjust to the change in environment and patterns.
The best way to handle the drastic drop in supply is adding extra ounces in the last few weeks before you go back to work.
The best time for the extra milk is immediately after nursing the baby. A manual pump will help in triggering the production hormones hence enough milk in freezer stash. This Haakaa is perfect for that.
It does not have to belong, five minutes after nursing the baby is enough for extra ounces. The secret is consistency.
Plan your breastfeeding from the beginning. You should have a definite storage plan and strive to stick to the plan.
There is no standard or rule in milk storage; you can do it in whichever proportions that seem suitable. Be sure to label every bag of milk and the amount. The date of storage is also crucial.
Consider laying the bags flat to enhance the freezing process.
It is possible but not easy.
Don’t give up; 9 ounces in a freezer is a huge achievement. You are doing well.
Consider pumping as a labor of love and give it your best. The few sleepless nights while attached to a pump will be worth it in a few weeks when you get back to work.
If you found this information helpful and want to learn even more. I absolutely love this popular online course called the Ultimate Breastfeeding Class by Milkology. It has everything you need to know about latching and positioning, mastering and protecting your milk supply, troubleshooting common breastfeeding issues and so much more…
Stacey (the instructor) is a certified lactation educator and has taught lactation to thousands of women all over the world. Click here to check out the Ultimate Breastfeeding Class for yourself.
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