I call it the “breast milk stash panic.” Scrolling through Facebook, I see a photo of 100+ ounces of breast milk in someone’s freezer from a moms group. Immediately, I check the comments and see the same thing every time.
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“How did you do that?” “I’m so jealous.” “I need all that milk!”
But the truth is, you don’t.
Your body creates what your baby needs. It’s as simple as that. If you are going back to work after maternity leave, you need enough milk for a day or 2 because what you pump on your first day away from baby will be enough for the next day. With pace feeding in mind, it all evens out this way.
If you are a stay at home mom, you don’t need a huge stash. You also can keep about a day or 2 worth of milk in your freezer. I get it, mama needs a break, a date night, a day out, you want baby to take a bottle. It is 100% warranted. But if you break your back (and your spirits) trying to create a massive breast milk stash, is it even worth it?
Now I know you probably came here to find out how to create a breast milk stash and we will get to that, I promise. But I just wanted to lay it all out for you first.
How to combat the “breast milk stash panic”
- Do not compare. Your journey is not someone else’s. Just because someone else’s breast milk stash is up to 200 ounces doesn’t mean your 10 oz is insufficient.
- Breathe. Seriously, take a breath. Your baby is not going to starve. Should there be an emergency, there’s formula. That’s one of the reasons why it was created.
- Build a stash slowly. Those 200 oz someone created? It took time. It took pumping. It probably took long nights and time away from their baby. I’m certain it wasn’t easy.
How to build a sufficient breast milk stash
- Use a silicone breast pump: This little thing is so handy. You put it on the opposite breast you’re feeding baby (there is a video in the Amazon link on how to properly put it on) before a feed. When you have a letdown, the suction you created draws some milk out. You can catch anywhere from 1-4 oz per feed!
- Use a milk catcher: These little shields go over your nipple and in your bra and, like the silicone breast pump, it catches milk but it doesn’t draw any milk out. It just catches your letdown from the opposite breast.
- Pump once a day before baby’s longest stretch of sleep: When I stayed at home, I would pump at 9pm every night for about 7 months to build up a stash for when I was leaving my twins. Just make sure you’re using your pump correctly and effectively. Initially, this won’t yield a lot of milk but the consistency of having this pump session will tell your body to produce it. Consistency is KEY.
Products to help your breast milk stash
- Breast milk storage bags: These Lansinoh bags are my favorite! In my experience, they work perfectly if you do not fill more than 4 oz in them and if you do not freeze it next to something else.
- Milkies freeze: Freeze your breast milk flat! This freezes your milk flat at the top (quickly) and you can drop it into the little shelf. I love this little thing.
- Hands free pumping bra: This pumping bra helps you pump hands free! The back is adjustable with strong velcro – it’s the only one I use!
In summary, don’t panic about a breast milk stash. It’s okay to want one, but remember that you don’t need a huge one. Consistency is key in building one and pumping too much can cause an oversupply which is not fun!