When the baby finally arrives, moms start to wonder all sorts of things and worry about all sorts of topics related to their baby’s wellbeing. One of the most important things that new moms think about is their child’s nutrition that, naturally, comes from breast milk as their first food.
Some women have both the ability to produce big amounts of milk and the time to provide their babies with a direct source of milk whenever they need to feed. While many other women don’t have enough milk supply or simply have to go back to work after just a few weeks and need to leave their babies at the care of someone else. This leaves them needing to create a milk supply for them to feed without having to recur to baby formula. If you want to learn how to create your own breast milk stash, don’t miss this article.
Start as soon as possible
Many women are concerned about the right time to start building their own breast milk reserve. The good thing about the human body is that it adapts to your needs, so if you don’t really have the time to breastfeed for many months, you can get started right after you deliver your baby. If you aim to build a solid breast milk stash for emergencies or, for when you get back to work, it is recommended that you start preparing your reserve about 3 weeks prior to when you plan to start using it.
Measure how much milk your baby will need each day
Another great misconception women have about creating a breast milk stash is that, the more milk you can store the better. While we remind you, it really depends on each woman, you can build a stash according to your baby’s needs and nothing more. Measuring the amount of milk your baby consumes each breast feeding will allow you to prepare the exact amount your baby will need on the days you don’t spend with them. This way you won’t have to worry about your baby getting hungry when you don’t have any more milk to drink, and you won’t stress your body trying to pump out more milk than the baby actually needs.
Pump after feeding the baby
You’ll probably need to start building your breast milk reserve a few weeks ahead of time, when you’re still providing your baby with breast milk directly when you are breast feeding. It’s strongly recommended that you pump when you finish feeding the baby. It’s also ideal to pump first thing in the morning, after the first feed, since that’s the time your milk supply is at its peak. Most women find that 3 pumps a day of 10-15 minutes after feeding are more than enough to build a solid stash, but make sure to do this at the same time each day so as to train your body to produce the right amount of milk to supply both your baby and the reserve.
Boost your breast feeding milk production naturally
We get it, some women just don’t produce lots of milk to serve both their babies and the breast milk supply. We have to clarify that milk supply has nothing to do with the size of a woman’s breasts, so you can forget about this thought.
There are many helpful ways in which you can boost your milk production in a natural and safe way. Engage in an anti-inflammatory diet that includes plenty of fruits and vegetables, whole grains, Omega3 fats and even herbal supplies such as fenugreek or natural lactation drinks. Also drink plenty of water and avoid at all costs alcohol, sage, parsley and peppermint since they’ll just add harmful side effects to your body and your baby’s.
As a last bit of advice, we strongly recommend that you use lactation supplements only if necessary or recommended by a healthcare professional. Overproducing milk is not better for your baby, the healthiest choice is to provide just what your baby needs.
Store the milk in small batches
Babies can take anything between 3 – 6 ounces at a time when they’re drinking breast milk. The best thing you can do to make sure not an ounce of your milk goes to waste is to store it in small batches. It’s always better to have to open up a second bag if the baby’s still hungry than be left with some milk in the bottle that you can no longer use. The moment you’re done pumping milk, remember to place it in the special bag and chill it, or freeze it, if you won’t be using it any time soon. If you have a frozen milk storage for a few days, start with the oldest milk first and move on to the newest batches.
Massage and compress breasts
While pumping, you can give your breasts a gentle, yet firm, massage and compression movements to help the milk flow better. The more you stimulate your breasts before and during pumping, the more milk you’ll produce. While we’re speaking of things you can do to get a better flow of milk, it’s also very important that you rest as much as you can and you get good nights of sleep. Overall, you need to learn to relax, enjoy this time of your life and know that, when it comes to babies, there’s only so much planning to do. Just go with the flow and you’ll notice your supply coming up.
Related: Breastfeeding Tips for New Moms
Store only the freshest milk, no need to store weeks’ worth of milk!
There’s many stories and blogs about women who store almost 6 months’ worth of breast milk, and you might be feeling stressed out because you can’t get to pump more than 6 ounces per day. Relax! There’s no need to store huge amounts of breast feeding milk. Remember that the freshest one is always the best one, because it still has all of the nutrients your body is ready to provide to your baby. Don’t believe those wild tales and make sure to give your baby only the freshest and best that comes from your breasts.
Creating a breast milk reserve doesn’t have to be stressful. While it is something most women should do, it’s also a time to learn more about your body and listen to your baby’s needs. So, chill out and enjoy the moment, without effort you’ll soon realize you’re building a very solid breast milk reserve for your baby.