How to Build Your Breastmilk Freezer Stash

I went back to work full time with over 1500 oz of milk in my freezer. Yes, that is a crazy amount.

However, we had room in our deep freezer for it and I was producing it. So why not store it up for a raining day. Or a day when it would be needed.

Okay, on to the point of this post… how I built up my stash.

1. I Pumped Early – My milk came in when Reid was 3 days old. That happened to be the same night we came home from the hospital. This lead to a 2am melt down at our house.

I had an awesome nurser at the hospital. He would happily suckle away every other hour for 10/20 minutes at a time. Easy peasy, right? Not so much when I was super engorged. Reid would not latch. I was sore from the c-section. I was tired. He was frustrated. He was gassy. It was 2am. It was not a good combination.

Thank god (maybe?) my mom was there. We knew he was hungry. We just could not get him to eat. So at 2am, my mom busts open my pump box. (Okay, I know everyone says not to open the pump before you need it, since then it can not be returned. My advice is to at least find the manual online and read it prior) Neither of us, having every seen or used a breast pump before had quite some trouble assembling it for use the first time. (Of course the instructions say to sterilize everything prior to use… That was the least of our worries at that time)

Needless to say, I pumped my first 3/4oz my first night home from the hospital and Reid had his first bottle at 2am. (After which he burped and we all promptly fell asleep)

So, began my pumping journey… 3 days postpardum.

2. I pumped often – Starting then, I pretty much pumped every day. When there were others around, I would nurse Reid and then pump after every feeding I could. In the early weeks I wouldn’t get much… An ounce or two at a time (It all adds up though) but I stuck with it and started a freezer stash. I froze my first bag of milk when Reid was just 4 days old.

No I don’t feel like I missed a lot by pumping so much. I only pumped after nursing sessions if someone else was around to play with Reid. Most of the time, it was once session in the morning before Neil left for work and then 2 in the evening when he was home from work.

3. I pumped overnight – Once Reid was a few weeks old and getting into a consistent sleeping pattern overnight (Sleeping a good 4/5 hour stretch at once… Oh, how I miss the swaddled baby sleep) Neil would feed a bottle and I would pump for this first overnight feeding. This is really how my freezer stash grew. Reid would take a 3-4oz bottle and I was pumping between 10-15oz. Grow stash grow.

Yes, I was not working and Neil was at the time. Yes, Neil got up with us overnight. I started out nursing overnight as well. Neil would get up with us then also. It would take forever for Reid to nurse. Sitting there in bed, I would be soo tired.

Once we figured out that it was s good 10-15 minutes quicker for me to get a bottle from downstairs, bring it upstairs for Neil, go back downstairs, set up the pump parts, pump, store everything, and then go back upstairs to bed… all while Neil gave Reid a bottle… that became our middle of the night routine.

4. I pumped until I was empty plus some more – 99% of the time I would pump a good 3-5 minutes past when my milk stopped flowing. Of course there was a couple times, when something urgent came up and I stopped early.

5. I kept it up – Up until the week before I went back to work, I pumped every night while Reid took a bottle. I pumped after most nursing sessions when Neil was around.

6. I nursed often and on demand – For the first 3 -4 months, Reid was nursing every 2 – 2.5 hours during the day and a once or twice (plus a pumping session) overnight. Early on, I swear all I did was nurse him.

7. I let (and even encouraged) him comfort suck

8. I drank (water that is) – I drank at least 8oz of water every time he would nurse. I still do… In addition to whatever else I drink during the day.

I think #9 should be that I peed a lot!

By pumping after Reid had ate, it set aside a few minutes of dedicated Daddy/Reid time each evening. Something that I love!

I really am glad that I was so vigilant about pumping and growing my freezer stash. When Reid was sick and not eating it took a hit. Also, now that I have been back to work for a bit… I am not pumping enough to cover Reid’s daycare bottles each day. So little by little my freezer stash is being depleted.

Again, I don’t think this much of a freezer stash is necessary. I am rotating through it now. I may donate some soon. But for now I am happy to have it.