Going back to work after having a baby is tough. For a breastfeeding mommy knowing that you have to pump enough today so your baby has enough to eat tomorrow is even tougher. Sound stressful? It can be, especially if you are a type-A worrier like me. So what is a working, breastfeeding mother to do? Enter the “freezer stash.” This is a stockpile of frozen milk that gives you that all important buffer/sanity-saver just in case your output one day is less than what you need. But how do you go about building a freezer stash? There are lots of different ways, some harder than others. In this post I am going share what worked for me with baby #1 and then the changes I made for baby #2.
With my first baby born 05/2011 I was able to build up a pretty good freezer but looking back, I think I made it a lot more difficult on myself than it needed to be. Basically I just continued to get up at 3am to pump once baby #1 was sleeping through the night at 8 weeks. This single session would yield anywhere from 8-10 oz in about 10 mins but meant I was losing out on precious sleep and was totally reliant on the baby sleeping through the night well before returning to work.
With baby #2 born 12/2015 I was four years older and I’d like to hope a lit bit wiser. This time around I started pumping immediately after our first morning nursing session at week 3. For us, this was about 6:30 am. I did this for a couple of different reasons:
- I wanted to establish a strong enough supply at that first feeding so that I would have enough excess to pump after nursing.
- According to Kellymom.com your body naturally produces more milk in the early morning hours. I have always found this to be true.
- Because I am older now and we already have one child I did not want to choose to lose out on sleep. Believe me, I need every minute I can get.
- I didn’t want to count on baby #2 sleeping through the night. Good thing I didn’t because she wasn’t consistently sleeping through the night until 3 days before I went back to work. If I would have waited I would have been in big trouble.
Once my supply was well established I was able to pump anywhere from 6-9 oz after nursing each day.
*This post includes affiliate links. Click here to learn more.
This was my routine:
- Nurse baby
- Strap on hands free pumping bra
- Pump for 10 mins. While I was pumping, I would talk to the baby. She seemed to enjoy this special time each morning and it made the pumping time go by super quick.
- If necessary combine bags to equal 4oz (I always freeze in 4oz increments since that was what worked best for baby #1)
- Refrigerate overnight
- Move to the Kiinde Keeper in the deep freezer
- Once I had 6 pouches frozen I would combine those into a gallon size freezer bag. The ones with the expandable bottom work best. I numbered and dated the bags with a sharpie to make it easier to know which bag to pull next once I started using the freezer stash
And that’s it! Pretty simple right? Using this process, I was able to get 500 oz in the freezer before I went back to work with minimal effort and no lost sleep. If we were planning to have another baby this is definitely the method I would use. If you have any questions, just leave me a comment and I’ll be sure to answer.