Tuesday, March 4, 2014

Tales of an Exclusive Pumper: How I Store Milk

Exclusively pumping since day 1 has two huge benefits: I have an awesome supply, and I have an awesome stash (frozen, stored milk).


In any case, everyone stores their milk differently. It just depends on what works best for the family. I have roughly 2 days of milk in the fridge most times. It's easier for Sean, because he can just grab some and go. I store it in glass jars (okay, they're cleaned Ragu jars), and try my best to keep one day in a jar - Sean is horrible with messing up the jars, but I try to combat it the best way possible. 

(Fresh milk after morning wake up)

Every 2 days or so, I freeze milk. Natalie drinks jarred milk for her morning wake up, so when I pump, it's extra for later in the day. I put that aside and freeze any milk besides that in the fridge. I measure my milk out into 3 oz portions and THEN I pour them in the bag - because it's impossible to use said bag to accurately measure. The Up & Up Target brand are my go-tos, and I stock up with Cartwheel coupons. :) I make sure to date it too. 

Because I have a pretty awesome supply, I usually freeze 9-15 oz per day. I put these little bags directly into my regular freezer - they're frozen flat to make the best use of space. 
(Just frozen bag)
Every week or so, I go through and double bag my milk. I put roughly 18 bags in a gallon sized Ziploc and write the dates on the outside. That bag then gets moved to the deep freezer. Milk in a deep freezer can last up to a year, and I'd like to give Natalie breastmilk as long as possible. She'll get frozen milk each day when she starts daycare, and I'll freeze more fresh. 
(What my freezer looks like: top left - milk freezing flat, bottom left - large ziploc of frozen bags, right - loose bags waiting to be ziploced)

Milk supply is established by 12 weeks, so it's super important I get as much as possible these first few weeks. I'm also terrified that my supply is going to drop when I go back to work, even though I'll probably be pumping more (I only pump 4 times a day right now). Even though I think it would be awesome to nurse, this way works so well for us. It's fairly simple, and I love those 20 minutes of free time that I get periodically throughout the day - it forces me to sit back and relax. 

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