Life as a breastfeeding mum can be so relentless and demanding. Tilly is just over a month old now, I am right in the thick of breastfeeding a newborn and I had forgotten how exhausting being the only one who can feed the baby is! It’s only been five weeks but when I am feeding every 2 hours every day and night and sometimes every half an hour in the evenings when baby is trying to up my milk supply, daydreams of someone else being able to take over feeding duties have started to happen pretty regularly! If I want a break and want Tilly to have breastmilk in a bottle and not formula then I need to build up my stored breastmilk stash. I have started filling the freezer with expressed breastmilk (good luck trying to find the chips amongst all the Medela freezer bags full of milk!) and it has actually been no hassle at all. If you are a breastfeeding mama also looking to build up your freezer stash of breastmilk then here is a list of all the things you can do to get lots of milk stored up with very minimal effort on your part – no feeding mama has time to sit stuck to a breastpump for hours, do they? It’s totally understandable to want a break from breastfeeding, it’s like a full time job after all, I hope the tips in this post help you to get some much deserved time off. I for one can not wait for a date night with the husband and to have a night off from being pinned to the sofa with my baby stuck to me for hours.
Growing your freezer stash of breastmilk (the quick and easy way)
1. Buy a silicone breast pump – a silicone breast pump is like no other breast pump I’ve used before as there is no ‘pumping’ involved at all. The silicone pump just attaches to your boob with suction and when your milk lets down it collects it all from the side you’re not feeding on. It’s a genius little thing. Also, because it is applying slight pressure around your nipple the milk continues to flow after the let down and you can collect a good 4oz without doing any actual pumping! If strapping yourself to an electric pump makes you feel like a cow or you just can’t be bothered with the effort of a manual breast pump then a silicone pump is definitely the way forward. I have a NatureBond pump I bought on Amazon but there are other brands out there including Hakka and even Aldi have their own version. Just sterilise, pop it on your boob and you’re ready to go, no effort needed. Getting milk for your freezer stash couldn’t be easier! If you would prefer to use a more traditional ‘pumping’ breast pump, I think the current must have is the Elvie pump (read full honest review here)
2. Pump in the morning – I am not sure of the scientific reason as to why but breastmilk supply is always at its best in the mornings. When Tilly wakes at about 5.30/6 this is when I get my pump out and I am guaranteed to get almost a full pumps worth of milk. My boobs always feel extra full in the mornings so I have been making the most of this surplus of breastmilk and collecting it in my NatureBond pump. Tilly has her breakfast feed and I try and wake myself up for the day whilst also working on adding more milk to my breastmilk freezer stash.
3. Pump while you feed – Whether you are using a silicone, manual or electric breast pump, expressing while you are already feeding baby is definitely the best no-effort-needed way of building the amount of milk you have available for bottles. Pumping while you feed means you don’t need to find time in the day for an exclusive pumping session, you can just get it done when you are sat down breastfeeding anyway. It can be hard sometimes to get the milk to flow when you are pumping but with your baby on the other breast your let down will be stimulated on both sides by their sucking so you don’t have to do anything to get your milk to come out. We all know what it’s like pumping away with a manual pump, waiting for aaages for the milk to start coming out! Pumping while you feed is a great time saver and, in my experience, the quickest and easiest way to get your milk to flow.
That’s it! Buy a silicone pump for ease, pump in the morning for best results and pump while you feed to save time. Tilly is closing in on six weeks old now and I have enough milk in the freezer for a weekend away if I wanted a proper break (we will be starting with a date night first, I am not ready to leave her over night yet!). Tilly is my third baby and I have expressed at times with each child and have found these tips to be the best way of expressing breastmilk for my freezer stash.
If you breastfed or are currently a breastfeeding mama, have you got any tips for expressing to add to this list? I would love to hear from you.