For mamas returning to work or stay at home moms that want to have a freezer stash, this is for YOU.
How much milk should you have in the freezer?
THERE IS NO SET ANSWER. I have seen recommendations to have just enough for one week (5 ounce bottle, 3 times a day x 5 days = 45 ounces). In theory this makes sense as you can just use that amount until its replenished. . .
BUT . . .
To make returning to work less stressful, I’d recommend having more. I set a personal goal for 150 ounces or more.
It might seem like overkill to have that much, but I want to be prepared. Prepared for if I have a stressful day at work and don’t produce enough as baby is eating.
Or if we want to have a date night and feel comforted that if I choose to have a drink, baby will have enough milk.
Or if I need to take a medicine that requires me to pump and dump.
AND 150 ounces is achievable and you can even easily surpass that amount! You overachiever, I see you! If you start pumping every morning after nursing baby (when the supply is the best, it is SO quick and easy to build a stash!)
Note, the first few times you pump you might not get much because your body has learned how much baby eats and has adjusted. SOME PEOPLE have no shortage and can pump a few ounces without any issue the first few times pumping! But pumping is all about supply and demand. Consistently is key for gradually increasing supply so you can make a freezer stash.
SO gameplan – starting at week 4, pump in the morning only after feeding baby. (I usually do between 8-9am) when we’re “up” for the day.
Let’s say you pump 2 oz every morning for that first week week 2oz x 7days in a week x 1 week = 14 ounces already! From weeks 5-10 weeks, lets say you pump 4 oz x 7 days in a week x 5 weeks = 140 ounces. So that is already a total of 154 ounces!
Another option is pumping twice a day if you only have a few weeks left and need to build a supply, you could pump in morning AND at night. Let’s say you get 6 oz daily between the two sessions and do this from 8-12 weeks. 6 oz x 7 days per week x 4 weeks = 168 ounces.
So whatever your timeline is, you can do it, you totally got this!
This might sounds silly, but I was STRESSED out about packing my breastpump bag prior to going back to work. Weeks before returning to work, I practiced a few times to ease my fear of forgetting anything. The first weeks were a little choppy just figuring out what to bring and how to store it, but I have been pumping at work now for 6 months and have MASTERED the organization of it and how use less bottles(aka less to wash). Let me help you! We will talk about the components of what to have in the pumping bag (purse or book bag), how to organize the bag, and a typical flow of the work pumping sessions to get an idea of planning it.
Alright, no matter what type of pump this organization can help anyone really. I have used both a spectra and medela, both were great. I chose to buy the Spectra S1 and LOVE that it is rechargeable.
What you’ll need:
1. The Two Plastic Containers
It helps to have two plastic containers so you can put the flanges in between pumping sessions in the fridge and then the bottles that you had poured milk from in a separate container so you can wash at home later. It is a personal choice but I chose to refrigerate my pumping flanges during the 12 hr shift and reuse them. If you have glass containers that serve the same purpose, go for it!
2. A Pump Bag or Bookbag
No matter what type of bag you use, just make sure it has enough room for the supplies needed. Some pumps come with their own bag, so you might be covered in the bag department in that case.
3. The Pump and Charger/ Batteries
Of course no pumping bag is complete without the most important component, the pump! I have used both the spectra and medela and really liked them both. I know there are lots of of other brands that people do well with too! I chose to get the Spectra S1 which is rechargeable with a cord outlet, however remember to always bring the cord. I one time forgot my cord and had to run home over lunch to get it, made the day much more stressful than in needed to be. : )
4. The flanges/ bottles/filters
Alright, so everyone of course has their favorite bottles. Ours are the Dr Brown Bottles. They make handy little attachments to help pump directly into the bottles that I got from Amazon. So when I use the Spectra, I pump with a spectra bottle on one side and then one side attached to the Dr Brown bottles. After I am done, I combine the milk from the spectra side to the milk in the Dr Brown bottles, put in the blue Dr Brown air filter and top and store in the lunch bag to refrigerate, along with the flanges in the plastic container in the bag. The other spectra container that was just used emptied I put in the second plastic container in my pump bag to wash later.
*Note —> To reuse flanges, they need to be refrigerated between uses
5. The Lunchbox
I bring a lunchbox to work that makes my trips to the break room to store my milk in the fridge a little more coy, even though I am a proud working mom that will gladly talk about breastfeeding and pumping and all with coworkers and strangers alike. ha : ). Just make sure it is large enough for one of those tupperware containers to hold the flanges and how many bottles you plan to pump. The picture above is an example after i’ve pumped twice at work.
6. Pumping Bra/ Cover (Optional)
So I love my handsfree pumping bra so I can be reading a book, finishing up work, journaling, looking at my calendar, snacking or really doing anything versus holding those dang phalanges while pumping. This of course is optional but some of the best money well spent. Also I pump with a cover on, I think depending on the scenario where you pump, it might not be necessary especially if you can lock the door. I pump in a medical office outpatient clinic in a spare exam room. Even with the do not disturb sign, I have had one surprise visitor but I was covered so it was nothing!
7. Bag in help store clean bottles/filters between uses (Optional)
I have so many little makeup/traveling bags from over the years and I found that using one in my pump bag really helped keep thing organized. I stored my pump extra things (extra bottles and the filters) in this bag to make it easy and convient to switch parts out quickly and efficiently. You can see that between the spectra bottle, blue filter, dr brown bottle and then the two assembled flanges, I come home with two bottles ready for baby.
But wait, how do I pack the bag?
Let me show you how I pack it quickly and easily every time
First layer is the two plastic containers and bag with extra bottles.
2. Next layer is the pump and the flanges with attached bottles, ready to go
3. Last layer is the pumping bra and cover (again optional)
Typical flow of pumping during workday
So here is a typical set up — > for the first pump of the day, the flanges are already ready to go. I have them at the top part of the bag for a quick start. Just have to put on the pump bra, flange up and BOOM. After I’m done, I combine the milk to one bottle, I put on the lid to the bottle and place in lunchbox, rinse phalanges and place in container in lunchbox, then take to fridge.
For the second pump of the day, I get the flanges in the lunch bag from the fridge, and I add a new bottom to them (one spectra bottle, one Dr Brown bottle), place the circle filters back on and pump. After I’m done, i put the lid to the second bottle, place in lunchbox on and place the flanges back in the container for the fridge.
When I used to pump 3 times during the work day I would repeat the second pump steps (along with of course bringing extra bottles)
YOU GOT THIS
Having the opportunity to breastfeed a baby is great bonding and provides the baby and the mom with wonderful health benefits. Give yourself a little room to get in the groove but with determination, it can just just become second nature and not a headache at all.
RANDOM FACT—-> Lastly, I just usually pack the night before I have to work if I have time and just make sure I have all the essentials. It makes the mornings more smooth to just grab it and go, knowing that all the components I would have already double checked.
Happy breastfeeding and happy pumping!
More posts about motherhood, breastfeeding, pumping, baby thing, meal planning and healthy recipes coming soon, stay tuned and look me up on instagram: nonstopmomlife
Taking in this crazy, beautiful world one day at a time