Most moms pump milk to build up a supply for when they need to be away from their baby. Then, after successfully pumping milk, you’ll need to be able to properly store it for baby’s consumption later on.
Since my Medela Freestyle (see post here) had four storage bottles that came with it, what I’d do was pump while I was away at work or on the way home then store the bottles in the cooler bag (I had no refrigerator at work). When I got home, I’d transfer the milk into milk storage bags and put them in the freezer. Then, I’d get x number of bags from the freezer and put them in the fridge so they’d thaw overnight for my baby’s consumption the next (working) day. I’d also pump milk when my baby started sleeping longer hours, just to keep up my milk production and to be able to build a supply.
I always tried to be very, very, VERY careful when transferring, storing, and preparing my breastmilk for bottle feeding. I was not a momma who was bursting with milk every time, and I averaged only 2-4 ounces (oz) per pumping session per breast (on my good days), so every drop was super precious to me. I even needed to combine breastmilk from different pumping sessions since I didn’t pump enough in one session for one feeding. I remember pa one time when I accidentally knocked over a 6oz bottle of my pumped breastmilk! Ay, ang iyak ko talaga. But when I calmed down, I just thought to myself, buti nalang ako ang nakatapon. Siguro if it were someone else who spilled my milk, I’d be spitting fire.
I was able to use Honeysuckle and Lasinoh, but for the most part I used the mom&baby milk storage bags. Mom&Baby milk storage bags were always readily available at SM and were the most affordable for me, plus their most important features were similar to those of the pricier storage bags. I also didn’t have any issues with leaks, labeling, sealing or opening the bags.
Some things about using milk storage bags that I want to note though:
- Store the bags at the back of the refrigerator or freezer, and avoid storing in the door compartments where temperature changes every time the door is opened.
- Label the bags with date and time expressed, and store the most recently pumped milk at the back. This way you can do the FIFO (first in, first out) method more conveniently.
- Label the bags with the amount of milk they have. The way the milk gets frozen sometimes makes it hard to determine how much milk is in the bag by just looking at the measurement scale.
- It’s better lie the bags down horizontally rather than standing them up vertically to save on freezer space.
- Store milk in a bag enough for one feeding, so excess milk doesn’t get wasted and you’ll only have to thaw one bag per feeding session. So if I pumped 6 ounces and my baby takes 4oz at each feed, I’ll store 4oz in one bag and combine the remaining 2oz in another bag with milk from another session. But I also have 2oz in some milk bags for those times when baby might be extra hungry, and ask for a second feeding as top-up.
Some helpful resources for me on storing and thawing expressed breastmilk are from Kellymom.com here, medellabreastfeedingus.com here and Lasinoh.com here. But for quick and ready reference, I mostly use the table in Kellymom.com.
So that’s it for my BFF (Breastfeeding Find, more about that here) on milk storage bags! Up next is the yummiest BFF of them all: my BFF 3- Lactation Treats!