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Breastfeeding Moms Breastfeeding Moms

At a crossroads.

Posted by on May. 3, 2012 at 8:56 PM
  • 2 Replies
I've been block feeding for about a week in order to tame OAL & an oversupply. Now I'm not exactly sure what to do because I need to start pumping to build a stash of milks since I'm going back to work in 2 weeks.

Any advice?
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by on May. 3, 2012 at 8:56 PM
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maggiemom2000
by Ruby Member on May. 3, 2012 at 9:01 PM

Start pumping now,once a day, first thing in the morning. 

How often should I express milk?

Once a day is usually plenty to start. Most moms find they are able to express the most milk in the morning hours. You can nurse your baby on one side and express milk on the other side or express both sides about one hour after baby’s first morning feeding. Don’t worry if you don’t get very much milk at first. It takes practice, and your body needs to “learn” to make milk for that extra “feeding.” Any milk collected during these practice sessions can be stored in the freezer.

How much milk should I have stored in my freezer?

Many mothers find that it really decreases their stress before going back to work if they know that they don't need to worry too much about creating a large freezer stash of milk. Instead they can use their maternity leave to focus on being with their babies and on getting breastfeeding well-established. If you have enough milk to send with your baby on your first day, then you have enough in the freezer.

It is important to express as much milk while you are at work as baby needs during that time. If your baby needs 10 ounces while you are at work, then you need to pump at least 10 ounces each day. If, for example, you were to only pump 8 ounces and send 2 ounces from the freezer each day you will no longer be expressing the amount of milk your baby requires. Your body will “think” that baby needs 2 fewer ounces each day than he really does. If you start to run out of milk in your freezer, you may face the difficult decision of how to meet your baby’s needs.

Using this system, you express each day what your baby would need the next day, and only use the small freezer stash for emergencies.

How much milk will my baby need while I’m away?

Breastfed babies drink, on average, 24 to 32 ounces of milk per day (Kent et al., 2006). If you spread that amount over 24 hours it equals 1-1.25 ounces per hour. With that information in mind, plan on leaving about 1-1.25 ounces of milk per hour of separation. Most breastfed babies need no more than 2-4 ounces at each feeding (Kent et al., 2006). Breastfed babies need less milk than formula-fed babies do, and unlike with formula, the amount of breastmilk your baby needs does not increase as he grows bigger. When you return to work, your baby will need only a portion of this daily amount of milk from the care provider, because he will still be getting much of it by breastfeeding during the hours of the day and night when you are together.

Offering smaller bottles, of no more than 2-4 ounces, means there is less chance that your baby will not finish his bottle, leaving milk that will be thrown away.

How many times do I need to express milk at work?

How many times you pump at work will depend on a few factors: how long you are away from baby; how well you respond to milk expression; and your work situation. Many working moms aim for expressing milk at least every 3 hours. If you are becoming engorged between expressing times, you may need to express more frequently. Every mother has her own “magic number” and will differ in how frequently she needs to express her milk to both maintain milk production and provide enough expressed milk for her baby.

Because your goal is to express today what your baby needs tomorrow, you know you are expressing enough when you are able to pump at least the amount that your baby needs.

How should I store the milk I express at work. Do I put it all in the freezer?


In order for your baby to get the most anti-infective properties from your milk, it is best to offer it fresh whenever possible. Freezing has been found to denature some of the antibodies and kill some of the living cells in milk (Orlando 2006) (Buckley & Charles 2006). Whether fresh or frozen, your milk provides all the nutrition your baby needs, and you can count on your milk to support your baby in all areas of growth and development.

Here is a schedule many working mothers recommend for using frozen milk. Your baby gets mostly fresh milk and the best possible nutrition and antibodies to protect from illness:
  • Pump on Monday; give to your babysitter to use on Tuesday.
  • Pump on Tuesday; use on Wednesday and so on until Friday.
  • Pump on Friday, label with the date, and freeze; put in the back of the freezer.
  • Use the oldest milk in the freezer for Monday.
  • Use your freezer stash only when you have an unusual need for extra milk, for example, when your baby is going through a growth spurt or if you spill all of your freshly pumped milk.

This system prevents the frozen milk from getting too old and needing to be thrown out. Another option would be to refrigerate Friday’s milk over the weekend and let your babysitter use it on Monday. This practice would preserve more of the antibodies in Friday’s milk but wouldn't keep your frozen milk from going out of date.
mymuneca
by on May. 4, 2012 at 8:46 PM
Thank you!
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