Tips for Starting a Breast Milk Stash Before Returning to Work
For breastfeeding moms, the big stressor is how to build a breast milk stash before returning to work. But it can feel daunting among doing all household chores, pumping sessions and feeding your infant around the clock. But you don’t have to be pumped all day long to build stash before going back to back. Allow a few weeks in advance to familiarize yourself with the breast pump and to be able to build up a small reserve for the big day. Here are some useful tips for working moms on how they can build a breast milk stash before maternity leave ends.
When Should You Start Pumping?
To prepare a good supply of breast milk, start expressing your milk at least 3 weeks in advance, but not before your baby is 4 weeks old (so as not to disrupt the start of lactation). To successfully express your milk and build your breast milk supply without depriving your baby of his daily needs, we advise you to set up what are called "virtual feedings".
These are breast milk tests at specific and regular times. This will allow you to produce more milk and collect more milk with each draw. The wearable breast pump is a great product that you can use for this purpose. Do not be concerned if the amount of milk drawn during the first few days is very low. This is completely normal. Your lactation will need a few days to meet this additional demand for breast milk. The amount of milk drawn will increase gradually over the days. As soon as you have expressed your milk, place it in your freezer.
How to Build a Breast Milk Stash
It takes some weeks to regulate the supply of milk. When it is regulated, you have more milk than your baby demands. Try to start pumping during this period but if you are going to return to work sooner then start to build up milk stash sooner. You can pump within 3 to 4 weeks. The breast milk lasts six to twelve months in the freezer.
When to Pump
This is the frequently asked questions by the working mothers. In the early days, the milk supply is at its highest point. So you can pump more using a hands-free breast pump and build up more freezer stash. You can pump early in the morning or pump after your baby goes to bed in the night.
Start Ahead of Time.
The best to build a stash of breast milk is that don’t be stressed, make a pumping schedule and gradually store milk in some weeks before returning to work. If you pump a few extra ounces milk in a day for some weeks, it will be enough to build up a freezer stash.
If you pump for about ten minutes in each pumping session, pump for 15 minutes for several pumping sessions.
Massage Your Breasts Before Each Pumping Session:
Massage both your breast before your pumping session because it stimulates the milk glands so that milk flows easily.
Try Power Pumping
Pump for more than 10 minutes and then massage your breasts and wait for a few minutes. Then pump again for 10 minutes more.
When you wake up or go to bed, add a pumping session into your routine can build up your milk stash.
Pump After the Morning Feed:
In the early morning, many breastfeeding moms get the most milk supply. So you can make at least 2 to 3 pumping session at this time of the day.
How Much Milk Should You Stash?
It depends on the comfort level of the mothers and how much they can pump. It is recommended that working moms have 2 weeks of milk stash in the freezer.
How to Store breast milk
The storage times for milk
Not everyone agrees when it comes to shelf life for milk. The data communicated by the Leche League, show that storage times for milk should be:
- At room temperature(19 ° to 22 ° C): up to 10 hours
- In the refrigerator(0 ° to 4 ° C): from 5 days to 8 days
- In the freezer: 6 to 12 months
- In the freezer of a refrigerator: 2 weeks
- In the freezer compartment of a refrigerator-freezer: 3 to 4 months
- In a separate freezer at –18 ° C: more than 6 months
Tips for storing milk properly
- Never let your breast milk remain at room temperature for more than one hour. Although it is true that it could sit in room temperature up to six hours, your breast milk is extremely nutritious, and some form of microorganism that may be bad for your baby’s health may have made its way to it within six hours.
- Never store your breast milk in the refrigerator for more than six hours. If you freeze your breast milk, it may last up to three months.
- Put the date of extraction on the milk containers where you will store your milk. This will help you keep track of whether the milk is still suitable for your baby’s consumption.
- Choose containers that come with caps and washed with hot, soapy water, and then thoroughly rinsed. It is important for the container to be sterile for the storage of milk to prevent any bacteria from developing.
- If you’re going to store breast milk for less than three days, you may opt to use a plastic bag that has been designed specifically for milk collection and storage. Note that this kind of storage is not ideal for long-term storing.
- Remember to wash your hand before handling stored milk.
- Don’t place breast milk in a storage container that is more than your baby’s usual amount for one feeding. Breast milk expands when it freezes, so don’t ever fill containers to the brim because it might burst.
- Although it is true that you may add recently expressed milk to already chilled milk, refrain from doing so. If there is no other storage container available, then chill the recently expressed breast milk for at least one hour before adding it to the previously chilled breast milk. Also, make sure that the amount you’re going to add is less than half of the already chilled milk.
- If you remove stored breast milk from the freezer to the refrigerator, you may only store it there for about 24 hours.