When little Miss M was a tiny baby, she went absolutely everywhere with me. I didn’t go grocery shopping without her or anything, for that matter. As she got older and went longer periods between feedings, I started to consider leaving her with my in-laws so my wonderful fiance and I could finally have a date night. (Especially since the hospital gifted us free movie tickets!)
At first, we left her and would rush back before we knew she would be due for another nursing session. But that got soooooo stressful. Instead, I started to build an emergency milk stash. That way, we could leave her and know she would get fed without me there. But building an emergency milk stash can be a little difficult.
I want to share some tips and tricks to help you build your emergency milk stash!
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Before we dive head first into the post, I do want to share some things that helped. Pumping can be rough physically and emotionally and I don’t know what I would have done without this stuff!
Must have products for building an emergency milk stash
Spectra Baby USA Breast Pump
First, you’ll need a quality breast pump. I personally have used the ones by evenflo since I was on a very strict budget. I’m getting this one for my next baby and am SUPER excited about it. My lovely friend Stephanie swears by it as it has amazing functions, empties your breast in half the time, and has a closed flow system so the tubing doesn’t get ruined by your milk. When you’re building your emergency milk stash, this pump will help.
Lansinoh TheraPearl 3-in-1 Breast Therapy Pack, Hot or Cold use for Nursing Mothers to decrease Engorgement, encourage Let-Down and increase Milk Production, use with any Breastpump, 2 Count, 2 Covers
TheraPearl 3-in-1 Breast Therapy Pack
After so much pumping, it can get a little sore or you can become engorged. When my breasts get that sore, this breast therapy pack is an absolute godsend. You can heat it up or stick it in the freezer and place it on your breasts while you pump and it provides some serious relief. You will wonder how you went so long without this thing!! I CANNOT even recommend this thing enough.
Speaking of discomfort, your nipples will crack, bleed, and feel like they’re on fire at some points of pumping. Hopefully, it doesn’t get that bad when you just need an emergency supply. If it does, this cream will provide some very soothing relief to your nipples. Just be sure to wipe it off before you latch on that sweet babe of yours!
Tips for building an emergency milk stash
1 | Pump early in the morning
When you start pumping your stash, I highly recommend pumping early in the morning during or after a feeding. Your body produces the most milk this time of day (even more so if the baby is sleeping for longer periods) so it will be easiest for you to get as much milk as possible.
However … if you ever plan to leave babe for overnights, I do suggest pumping throughout the day. Not just because you’ll need more but your body produces different makeups different times of day. So if grandma feeds baby morning milk at night, it could rile her up and make it hard to fall asleep and vice versa. This is also why it would be important to mark your storage bags with not just the day, but the time as well. It’s amazing what our bodies do and you want to make sure baby gets the right milk at the right time!
2 | Spend 20 minutes pumping
A good guideline to follow is to spend 20 minutes pumping each time. The amount that you’ll get may vary depending on your body, but 20 minutes is a good amount of time to spend pumping. If you have a double electric pump, you can do both sides at once. If you have a single or manual, you’ll want to split up the time between both breasts, or even spend 20 minutes on each side.
You have to see how you do and go from there. Some mothers start at 10 minutes and go from there – I know of some that pump as long as an hour! You just have to adjust based on what works for you.
3 | Properly store your breastmilk
Lay your bags flat while they freeze. I made the mistake of not laying them flat when I first started building my own stash. I just threw them all in there and they DO NOT freeze well like that! Lay them flat while they freeze and then you can rearrange them afterward. It’s WAAAAY easier to store that way.
Properly label your storage bags. I recommend storing 3-5oz at a time so no milk goes to waste. Along with the amount, also indicate the date and time. You want the date since milk does eventually go bad in the freezer (and you’ll also know what ages the makeup is appropriate for if needed). You’ll also want to know the time so you know if the milk should be used in the morning or at night since the makeup is different as I mentioned earlier.
Use the first in, first out method. When storing, make sure you arrange them based on when you pumped it. It should be used in the same order it was placed in the freezer. First guy that’s pumped, is the first one to get used. This prevents from old milk going bad because you used newer stuff instead.
4 | Only pump as much as you need
Now, don’t go super crazy and pump an insane amount of milk that you aren’t sure you’ll need. The more you pump, the more your body will think you need. There’s a possibility of oversupply if you aren’t careful so be sure you’re only pumping what you actually truly need. I would also suggest spacing it out if you’re just making a stash truly for emergencies.
It’s better to pump once a day for 6 days than to go crazy pumping 3 times a day for 2 days in a row and now your body thinks you suddenly had an increase in how much milk you need. You’ll start producing more and can cause an infection when you all of a sudden stop with pumping that much.
5 | Restock as needed
If you have a stash for when you’re at work, you’ll automatically need to do this. But if you’re like me and only have a stash for things like date nights or overnight trips out of town, you’ll want to make sure you pump more each time some of the milk is used. Figure how much you want in the freezer at all times and as a bag gets used, pump more! The hardest part will be the initial build up, but it’s easy to maintain after that.
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