For those moms lucky enough to be able to nurse our babies and still have extra milk from pumping you may be wondering what the heck do I do with all this milk?! What starts as a couple extra bottles in the fridge can quickly turn into a freezer full of milk… trust me… it happened to me! This article is going to share some tips I learned for organizing and getting the most out of your stored milk.
First things first:
If you are making enough milk to feed baby and still store extra milk, although this feels great and reassuring to have a back up for those “just in case moments”, please make sure you aren’t driving yourself nuts and stressing about saving some ridiculous amount of milk. I did exactly this and looking back I really should have just chilled about it and probably pumped a lot less. Okay, now that I have that off my chest haha.. a lot of really wonderfully things came from my ridiculous need to be a serious over achiever.
- I stored enough milk to fill an entire deep freezer and my regular freezer (this is when I realized I had a problem haha). I have used this stored milk as milk to send to daycare daily since my daughter started daycare at 3 months old. We currently have about 1 months worth still stored (LO is currently 15mo old) 😂 Not having to supplement with formula for feedings while I’m at work has been awesome and has saved a ton of money!
- I was able to donate over 1000 oz to 3 local families in need of breastmilk for their babies.
- Use Lansinoh storage bags. They’re the best. I tried others (Medela etc). They aren’t as good. Trust me on this.
- Go ahead and pour your milk into the Lansinoh bag immediately after pumping. Don’t let the milk sit in the bottle in the fridge and let the fat separate and have to swirl it around a million times and hope you aren’t shaking it hard enough to break down the beneficial proteins. Blah blah blah. I think about those stupid proteins every time I swirl the milk 🙄
- Add the amount of milk you’ll eventually use for one bottle to each bag.. that being said who the heck knows how many ounces baby will eat when you use each particular bag. So.. you could make a variety and freeze some 5oz, 4oz, 3oz, 2oz, and 1oz bags; I didn’t do this because I’m stingy and didn’t want to spend $500 on bags. My method worked fine and wasn’t wasteful. Just keep the extra milk in the bag in your fridge and use it within 24 hours.
- Before freezing your breastmilk in the Lansinoh bags try to squeeze most of the extra air out of the bag. Using your pointer and middle finger to squeeze the top of the bag like a tube of toothpaste this will quickly and easily get all the air out. Getting air out helps the bags freeze flatter and more even. This will help you maximize your freezer space.
- Don’t forget to write the date on your bags.
- Lay the bags horizontally on a flat surface to freeze. If your freezer has a grooved bottom or wire rack I suggest cutting a piece of cardboard and leaving it in the freezer as a flat surface for freezing your bags.
- Do NOT waste your money on freezer storage racks. You know the ones I’m talking about the $15 racks that hold 12 bags of milk and take up an odd sized portion of your freezer. Don’t do it!
- Here comes the magical breastmilk storage hack.. I don’t think you’re ready.. it’s giftbags! 🎉 Yep it’s that easy! Grab some small giftbags from the store and cut a slit in the bottom of one of the small sides. TheLansinoh breastmilk storage bags fit perfectly inside. I will recommend adding a little tape to reinforce the ends of your cut so that the bag doesn’t rip open once you add your milk and pick it up.
- Another tip pertaining to this method of storage is to write the earliest date of the milk in each bag on the outside of the gift bag. This came in very handy for me when I started to get many giftbags full of milk. You’ll want to keep your freezer organized as much as possible so that you can quickly rotate your stock as you use the oldest milk
first and add new milk. To manage this rotation I ordered the giftbags with the oldest milk in the deepest left corner of my horizontal deep freezer, the next bag would be to the right until the back row was full. I would then fill from left to right on the second row. I would stack newer giftbags on top of this bottom row. Hopefully you have an upright deep freezer
as this rotation process would be MUCH easier with an upright. Either way just be sure to use the oldest milk first. 😊
- If you have filled your entire kitchen freezer with milk and are still expecting to pump a lot more go ahead and invest in a deep freezer (imagine how much money you’ll save by not buying formula). It doesn’t have to be new and even if you do get a new one you can find them for pretty cheap. We bought ours on Black Friday for less than $200! Magic Chef 6.9 cubic feet.
- As you empty your used milk storage giftbags save the bag to use again for your next batch. Just mark through the old date and add your new one.
- Don’t be afraid to give some extra milk away 😇 There’s a lots of local moms that you’ll easily be able to find who will gladly accept your extra milk or you could donate to a milk bank. Either way there’s always a hungry baby out there; what better way to give?! I’ll post more on milk donations in a future post.