Wondering how much breastmilk to store before returning to work?
As a rule of thumb, most professionals suggest keeping enough breast milk in the freezer to last around 3 to 5 days. This will ensure that you have a continuous supply on hand if there are any unforeseen issues.
What is a breast milk stockpile?
A breast milk stockpile is a collection of stored breast milk that can be used when needed. Many mothers pump extra milk and freeze it to have on hand for times when they are unable to nurse, such as when they return to work or travel.
If you are interested in building a breast milk stockpile, here we talk about how much breast milk you should aim to store. You will also need to invest in a good breast pump and some storage containers. It is important to label all of your breast stored milk so that you know how old it is and can use it before it expires.
A breast milk stockpile is a store of frozen breast milk that can be used when a mother is unable to breastfeed her baby. It can be helpful to have a stockpile of breast milk in case of an emergency, such as an illness.
Additionally, it can be useful for mothers who want to return to work or school without needing to supplement their baby’s diet with formula. To create a breast milk stockpile, a mother will need to pump her breasts frequently and store expressed breast milk in freezer-safe bags or containers. Once the milk is frozen, it can be thawed as needed and used within 24 hours.
How much breast milk should be in my freezer stash?
Many new parents worry about how much breast milk they should stockpile. After all, breastmilk is the best nutrition for newborns and infants, and no one wants their baby to go hungry. However, it’s important to remember that every baby is different and that breast milk production can vary from day to day and even depending on the time of day.
As a general rule of thumb, most experts recommend having a freezer stash that’s enough breast milk to last around 3 to 5 days. This will ensure that you have a steady supply on hand in case of unexpected challenges, such as a sudden decrease in milk production or a longer than usual stretch between feedings.
Of course, it’s always worth checking with your baby’s pediatrician to get specific advice tailored to your child’s individual needs.
Here are some factors you need to consider:
- Depends on how long you will be away from your baby each day
- How many days will you be away from your baby each week?
- Note how breast much milk your newborn drink each day?
How long you will be away
If you plan on being away from your baby for longer stretches such as 12 hours per day then you will need to increase your breast milk stockpile.
For example, if you are gone for 12 hours, you will need to have enough milk stored to cover 3 to 6 feedings depending on their age. If you are gone for 4 hours, you will need to have enough milk stored to cover 1 to 2 feedings for that day depending on you old the baby is.
How many days you plan on being away
Another thing to plan on is how many days a week you plan to be away. If you are going back to work part-time and only plan on working 3 days a week, you will need less than someone going back to work full time and is working 5 days a week.
How much your baby eats
For exclusively pumping mamas
If you are exclusively pumping, then store the amount your baby typically feeds in a day for the amount of time that you will be gone for.
Exclusively breastfeeding mamas
For exclusively breastfed babies, you will take the average of what a typical baby consumes in a day and go from there. Each baby consumes a different quantity of milk; the average daily intake is 19-30 ounces (570-900 ml) per day.
You can divide that amount depending on your baby’s age with the number of feedings that they have in a day.
For example: If your baby consumes 25 ounces of a day and they feed 8 times in 24 hours, then divide 25 into 8 (25/8=3.125) and you get 3.125 ounces. If you will be missing 4 of those feedings then you will store 3.125 ounces 4 times, totaling up to 12.5 ounces (3.125×4=12.5).
How Much Breastmilk Should I Store Before Returning To Work
If you’re planning to return to work after having a baby, you might be wondering how much breast milk you should store before you go back.
It’s important to remember that every baby is different, and they may need more or less milk depending on their age and how often they feed. However, a good rule of thumb is to store enough breast milk for at least 2-3 days.
This will give you a cushion in case you have any issues with pumping or need to miss a day of work. Additionally, it’s important to make sure that your stored breastmilk is fresh and uncontaminated.
Be sure to label the containers with the date of pumping, and use the oldest milk first. With a little advance planning, you can make sure that your baby has plenty of breastmilk even when you’re away from home.
Goal for a full-time job:
If you would like to store 1 day’s worth of breast milk, you will need somewhere between 9 to 14 ounces.
For 3 days of breast milk, you will need to store 27 to 42 ounces.
Lastly, If you would like to store 5 days’ worth of breast milk when you go back to work full time, you will need 45 to 70 ounces.
Goal for a 13 hour work day for a nurse or shift worker:
If you work long hours such as a nurse might, you will have to store more breast milk since you will be gone for a longer amount of time.
If you are trying to store 1 shift’s worth of breast milk, you will need 13 to 20 ounces.
For 3 days of breast milk, you will need somewhere between 39 and 60 ounces, depending on your baby’s needs.
How much to freeze before going back to work
It’s hard to know how much breastmilk to freeze before returning to work. You want to have enough so that your baby has plenty to eat while you’re away, but you don’t want to store too little in case you don’t pump as much when you’re back at work. A good rule of thumb is to freeze enough milk for 3 to 5 days. This can range from 27 ounces all the way up to 70 ounces in your freezer.
That way, if you don’t pump as much when you’re back at work, your baby will still have enough milk. If you find that you’re pumping more milk than you thought, you can always thaw out and use the extra milk.
Be sure to properly label your stored breast milk along with a pumping log so none of it is lost or wasted.
When to start pumping
Any parent who has chosen to breastfeed knows that there are a lot of logistics to consider. One of the biggest questions is when to start pumping before returning to work.
The answer will vary depending on each individual’s situation, but there are a few general guidelines that can be followed. Working mothers will have access to a pump at work, so it is generally recommended to start pumping one to two weeks before returning to work.
This will help the body get used to pumping and will build up a supply of milk that can be stored in the freezer. The most important thing is to listen to your body and pump when you feel the need. Some mothers may need to pump more often, while others may only need to pump once a day.
Pumping while at work
This may not always be possible, but it’s important to try to pump as often as you can. Many working mothers find that pumping in the morning, during their lunch break, and at night works well. If you are able to pump more frequently, that’s great. The most important thing is to listen to your body and pump when you feel the need.
Storing breast milk while at work
Once you have pumped, you will need to store the milk somewhere. The best place to store breast milk is in a cooler with ice packs.
You can also use a refrigerator if it is available, but be sure to use a storage bag that is designed for breastmilk. These bags have special features that help keep the milk fresh and protected. Be sure to label the milk with the date it was pumped and the name of your child.
Freshly expressed breast milk can be left out for up to 4 hours at room temperature and only 2 hours after it has been warmed. If you are planning on using it much later, you need to try refrigerating breast milk or use a cooler with ice packs.
When you get home from work, be sure to freeze breast milk as soon as possible. Breast milk can be stored in the freezer for up to six months.
How much breast milk should I put in a storage bag
It is recommended that you put between two and four ounces of breast milk in each storage bag. This will ensure that your baby has enough to eat and that there is minimal waste.
If you find that your baby is eating more or less than this amount, you can adjust the amount accordingly. When it comes to freezing breast milk, it is important to remember to remove all air from the bags and do not fill the breast milk storage bags to the top since breast milk expands.
Air pockets can cause freezer burn and reduce the quality of the milk. When thawing breast milk, it is best to place the bag in a bowl of warm water. This will help to prevent bacteria from growing and will also preserve the nutrients in the milk.
Tips for your breast milk stockpile to stay organized
Freezing your breast milk in breast milk storage bags and freezing them flat will help store more breast milk in a small space. You will also be able to read the label easier this way.
Use a breast milk inventory log so you know how much milk you have on hand in your milk storage.
Thaw breast milk from oldest to newest so you don’t have any go to waste. Once you have thawed breast milk you can not refreeze breast milk, so make to only thaw what you need.
Pumping and storing breastmilk can seem like a daunting task, but if you follow these tips and guidelines you’ll be on your way to having a freezer stocked with plenty of milk for when you return to work. Just remember that every mom’s situation is different. If you have any questions or concerns be sure to talk to your healthcare provider.