As many of you know, motherhood comes with a lot of worrying. Worrying about the sound your baby makes, if your baby is reaching milestones at the appropriate time, if you’re holding your baby too much, worrying about if what you ate gave your baby gas if you’re breastfeeding, or worrying about if you’re feeding your baby the best formula for them. The list goes on and on. I created this post in hopes to take one thing off of your list of things to worry about- how to store your breast milk.
This is my second time breastfeeding, so this is my second time having to store breast milk. It took me a few months to figure out what worked for us with my son, but once I finally got our system down it made the pumping and storing process MUCH easier. I have what they call “hyper-lactation” or in other words, I make a whole lot of milk. I’m really grateful for this, but at times it can be a little annoying. I can’t leave the house without my pump, even with baby in tow. For the first few months after my milk comes in I have to pump after every feeding to “empty” my breasts and relieve that uncomfortable, full, feeling. It sort of makes doing anything, or going anywhere, really inconvenient. A day in the life- feed baby, pump, put milk away, wash pump bottles, change baby, start something else and have to stop soon after because it’s time to start the process over again. Okay, maybe that’s a little dramatic, but you get the picture. After I had my son and was trying to figure out this whole breastfeeding & pumping thing I would just toss the bags of milk into the freezer and then eventually transfer them to the deep freeze. This started giving me (and my husband) a little bit of anxiety when trying to get the bags of milk out to thaw. After a couple of trial and errors, we figured out what worked.
First, I pour the pumped milk into milk storage bags. My favorite are Lansinoh Breastmilk Storage Bags. I have had very few issues with these having holes in them and leaking, unlike a few other brands I have tried. I write the date the milk was pumped, and Hattie’s name on the little label section and then lay it flat in the freezer. This allows the milk to freeze in a skinny, brick-like, shape, which will then make it easier for storage!
About every two days I then organize all of the individual milk bags. I take them out of the freezer and sort them by date on the counter. After I have the bags sorted, I get a large Ziploc freezer bag and start putting the individual milk bags into the large Ziploc according to the date on the bag. For example: I started with large freezer bag #1 and put the earliest pumped milk into it, and filled it. I usually get about 8-9 individual milk bags into each large Ziploc. Once it is full I grab another Ziploc, label it with the following number, and then fill that bag with other bags, and repeat.
Once I have all of the loose, individual, milk bags neatly stored into Ziplocs, I then write the number of bags on a piece of paper that is hanging on the side of my fridge. I just use a piece of computer paper, nothing fancy. So every time a large Ziploc is filled, I write that number on the paper. This is so I can keep track of how many bags are in the freezer, and which bag to take out.
This is so I can keep track of how many bags are in the freezer, and which bag to take out. Now my upstairs freezer is a little more organized, and has more room for food and things that we need more regularly. When it’s time to take a bag of milk out of the deep freeze I just look to see the smallest number available and go get that one. This makes it much easier when I’m getting milk out of the deep freezer- I don’t need to go digging through it trying to find the date that is the farthest away, I just look for the next number in line and find that bag. After I remove a bag of milk from the deep freezer I simply cross that number off of the sheet of paper that is hanging on the side of my refrigerator and go about my day.
If you have any questions or are needing help figuring out how to store your milk, shoot me an email!