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How To Build Your Milk Stash
This is the ultimate guide for building your breast milk stash In 2021!
Let me just say, this is not your average guide! Everything you need to know about building a great milk stash that you will be proud of! I’ll also cover the best techniques that I used in order to build a breast milk stash of 2,700 ounces in 3 months! So if you’re looking to build your breast milk stash, this is definitely the guide for you!
This Post Is About:
- How to build your milk stash
- everything you need to start building your milk stash
- How much milk you should store away
- Pumping schedules
- Breast milk handling and storage
Table of Contents
5 Reasons Why You Need A Milk Stash!
1.You need a break mama
Having a milk stash whether big or small allows you to take the much-needed break that you deserve! Self-care is so important as a new mama. I know, it’s easier said than done!
Moment of truth, I didn’t take a break until my daughter was closer to 3 months old, If I could do it all over again I would have definitely taken that break sooner. I know taking a break can mean many things for most of us, but for me, it meant leaving the house for an hour or two to do something for myself.
Let me say when I did decide to leave the house not having to stress about how my daughter was going to eat was great! I had milk set aside for my husband to give her when she was ready. Having that milk stash really gave me the confidence I needed to leave because in all honesty, I felt the mommy guilt that many of us mamas feel when leaving our little ones for the first time!
2. Familiar faces, bonding!
At the age of 8 months babies begin to recognize the familiar faces in their life! Giving my daughter the opportunity to bond with her dad, and other family members through feedings was important to me. Feeding time for most babies is truly a bonding experience, and I wanted her to have that experience with the other important people in her life as well.
This also goes hand in hand with taking that break mama!
3. Returning to work, away from home!
Let’s face it, mama, at some point you may decide to return to work, or be away from home on a reoccurring basis. If this is the case, you need a milk stash! Whether you plan to return to work full time or part time, attend a weekly fitness class, or just run a few errands. Having a milk stash is a great way to make this transition just a little bit easier.
4.Planning for the unexpected
I think we all had a lesson in planning for the unexpected in 2020, when COVID-19 took us all by surprise! Doing our best in preparing for unexpected emergencies is best! Although we can’t always predict what life throws at us, preparing can often make a huge difference.
When you have a milk stash it helps lessen the stress that comes with unexpected emergencies. I know for me, I would often stress about being away from home for longer than I expected and my daughter running out of milk, or if I needed to run a quick errand and my daughter had not eaten yet!
Having milk on tap really helped me in preparing for days that things went left!
5. Sick Days
It’s no secret that breast milk is the powerhouse of nutrients for our babies! When I first gave birth to my daughter I couldn’t understand how she was fully nourished those first few days from just my colostrum. It wasn’t until I started to research colostrum and all the benefits it has for newborns that I started to truly understand the power of breast milk!
Having some of that colostrum stored away for sick days is KING! Colostrum is densely packed with nutrients and is known to fight infections. Whatever you don’t use in those early days after birth, store it away! Trust me it will come in handy!
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Everything You Need To Start Your Milk Stash
You may be asking yourself what all do you need in order to start building your milk stash! Well, I got you covered, Here is everything you need to get that stash started ASAP!
Breast milk Storage Bags
Having good quality storage bags for your breast milk is important. I knew I wanted bags that were BPA-free, and sturdy!
I started off using the Nano Bebe Storage Bags. I absolutely loved them as my started bags for storing my breast milk.
I currently use the Medela Storage Bags, and they have been my absolute favorite since switching.
Whether you plan on exclusively pumping, or only pumping when needed. You will definitely need a breast pump at some point!
In the beginning, I knew I wanted a pump that allowed me to be mobile while pumping! I didn’t want to compromise the suction strength for convenience either.
I have medela freestyle flex pump! It has been the only pump I have used throughout my daughter’s breastfeeding journey and I love it!
There are tons of pumps on the market, do your research and pick a pump that best suits your needs!
Trust me when I tell you, get nipple cream! This was a huge lifesaver for me in the beginning.
Your breast will thank you as well. after nursing, and pumping around the clock you need to keep your nipples moisturized.
After giving birth to my daughter and nursing her the first few times, my nipples started to chafe. My lactation nurse at the time gave me Mothers Love nipple cream, and I’ve been hooked on that brand since.
Earth mama nipple cream has super clean ingredients, it’s safe to use in between nursing sessions, and a great moisturizer for sure!
Large Freezer Bags
Another necessity you will need. I had frozen milk bags falling out of my fridge in the early days of starting my stash.
I started to use gallon freezer bags to organize my milk bags and it has been a game-changer in optimizing the space in my deep freezer!
I like to use gallon-size freezer bags because they have a base that expands out. allowing me to lay my bags horizontally with ease!
Sharpie Pens are a MUST HAVE when storing away your milk in the freezer!
Whenever I store milk away I always right the date, time, amount of ounces, and my daughter’s name on each milk bag. This helps me keep track of when I pumped it and stored it away!
I like the Sharpie ballpoint pens and they work like a charm! I keep a few of them around the kitchen just in case I lose a few
Suction Breast Pumps
Suction cups are great for mamas who are exclusively nursing! These cups work wonderfully in catching the left down most mamas get while nursing their little ones.
When nursing uses the suction cup on the breast that the baby is not feeding on, this truly allows you to kill two birds with one stone!
I love using the Haaka suction cup! It really held up to its suction strength and did great with collecting the letdown I got when nursing my daughter!
I’ll admit, I didn’t see the need for a breast massager until I got my first experience with clogged ducts. I quickly became a believer and got my hands on a massager quickly.
I use the Lavie massager! Each time I pump I use this massager to help with the flow of my milk. I see an increase in milk whenever I use my massager, and it also helps prevent clogged ducts! Which are painful, to say the least!
In the beginning, I didn’t see the need for having a deep freezer, I guess I wasn’t so sure I could even pump enough milk.
After a few weeks of building my stash, I was desperate to find a deep freezer. My milk was everywhere in the freezer, all of my favorite foods were buried under piles of frozen breast milk.
My husband went out and got me a deep freezer from Costco and it has been a lifesaver!
It doesn’t take up to much space and really does a great job at keeping my milk nice and cold. With the deep freezer, I’m able to keep my milk for up to 6 months to a year!
How Much Breast Milk Should I Store?
Determining how much milk to put away after each nursing and pumping session will be solely based on your little one’s current milk intake needs. Use the chart below as a reference on how much milk you can aim to store away after each session, based on your baby’s current milk intake and how much milk you put out!
By six months babies are sometimes skipping 1-2 feedings each night. Still pumping at night allows you to store that milk away. I started to implement this technique around 4 months. When my daughter started to sleep longer hours at night.
Pumping Schedule For Newborns, exclusive pumpers*
Birth to 3 months
For the first 3 months of baby life, you should aim to pump every 2 to 3 hours to build your supply and establish a good supply. This is also a great time frame to really jump-start your milk stash. I was able to build my milk stash to 2,700 ounces within the first three months after birth. I used this exact schedule to keep me on track with pumping. I pumped and nursed my daughter the first few months after birth.
Grab my freebie to get the pumping schedules and pumping must-haves! . A great rule of thumb to keep in mind when starting is to pump as often as the baby eats. This will help to increase your milk supply.
Power pumping is a great way to increase your milk supply when starting. Adding a few power pumps throughout the day to your current schedule will definitely help increase your milk supply.
Pumping For Older infants – exclusive pumpers
It’s never too late to start a milk stash. By the time baby is a little older your milk supply is more than likely already established. If you have an older infant I’m sure by now you have a good gauge on your little one’s current intake needs, and how much you have in reserve to store away.
Quick Tip: A great way to start building your supply when the baby is a little older is to store away any leftover milk you may have at the end of the day.
Building A Milk Stash While Nursing
If your currency nursing a little one and looking to start your milk stash, here are a few essentials you may need to make the process and experience a little easier.
A good routine to keep while nursing and building your milk stash is to always feed the baby first. Whatever you can pump after feeding the baby you should store away to add to your stash. This is a great way to start to build up your supply while nursing your baby. I found this technique to be most beneficial when I was nursing and storing milk for my daughter.
Another great option for nursing mamas to build their milk stash is to use suction breast pumps. This is an amazing way to kill two birds with one stone. While your baby is nursing on one side, you can hook the suction cup to the other side and it will collect all the letdown milk from that breast while baby-nurses.
I used the Haaka suction cup with my daughter and I loved it!
Best Breastfeeding Apps
As new moms we have a lot on our plates, keeping track of how much milk you have stored away can become overwhelming. At the start of my breastfeeding journey, I relied heavily on my Medela Pumping app to keep track of how much milk I pumped, when my daughter ate last, her sleep times, and much more!
The medela app was a huge help for me and still use it to this day.
The coolest feature about the medela app is it pairs via Bluetooth with your medela pump. So if I forgot to record a pump session, it would automatically record the time I pumped last. All I had to do was log in when I got a moment and record the exact amount I got from that pump session. Super easy and convenient, I love using the medela app!
Storing Your Breast Milk Stash
After all that work, you need to have a way to properly store your breast milk. Breast milk is very delicate so ensuring that you have a safe place to store your milk is key! You also want to make sure you’re keeping appropriate temperatures within your freezer to maintain a good shelf life on your milk.
I found it most helpful to create a system on how I planned on storing my milk after each pump session. Always do what feels best for you!
After each session, I would use my Medela milk tray, and Medela bottles with the date caps to keep track of the milk in the fridge. At the end of each day, I would then gather all the leftover milk and start to bag it to be placed in the freezer.
I like to freeze my leftover milk at the end of the day. Keep in mind that milk is okay in the fridge for up to 6 days, and in the freezer for 6 -12 months
Using Your BreastMilk Stash
You did it, mama, building a milk stash isn’t easy. Whoever said don’t cry over spilled milk, obviously never pumped, or nursed a baby!
Breast milk is liquid gold, and every drop counts when trying to build a good milk stash for the baby!
At around 3 months is a good time to start to rotate your fresh milk and stored milk. This will keep your milk stash supply fresh! always use the oldest stored milk first!
When storing your milk it’s important to always record the date, and place the time if possible on each bag. This helps when it’s time to sort through your milk and decide which packs to use first. There is nothing more time-consuming than trying to sort those tons of losing bags of frozen milk. Save yourself the headache!
If you have any colostrum stored away, Be sure those packs are properly labeled as well. Save them for days when your little one isn’t feeling well. My daughter has a really bad rash outbreak during her first 3 months of life, I used my colostrum during that time and it helped tremendously! Trust me, mama, they will come in handy!
5 ways to use your breast milk
Breast milk is amazing for more than a nourishing baby. I myself have used my breast milk to bathe my daughter when she broke out in a terrible allergic rash. It definitely helped soother her skin having extra milk frozen was amazing when I needed to grab a pack to bath her in.
- Milk Bath – Grab some milk and bath you or your. little babe in some milk. I did this often when my little was battling sever skin rashes. It really helped with soothing her delicate skin
- Baby Food – I couldnt wait for my little to hit the 4 month mark so I could introduce solids. Luckily I had some milk stashed away. I used the milk to blend her baby food purees that I made for her.
- Ointment – Lets face it, your little one will get a few cuts, scrapes, and bruises as they continue to grow and explore. Having ointment on hand is a must, but having breastmilk infused ointment on hand is golden.
- Lotion – During the winter months, our skin can use some TLC. Why not create a super Moisturizing lotion that is jammed packed with nutrients!
- Bar of Soaps– Looking to add some nutrients to your soaps, Using breast milk in your soap creations might just be what you or your little ones skin needs!
You Got This mama
So there you have it mama, everything you need to know about starting and building your milk stash! Keep this article as a reference as you continue along in your breastfeeding journey.
Now id love to hear from you! Are you an exclusive pumper, or a nursing mama?
Have you started your milk stash yet? leave a comment below!!!