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  • Writer's pictureChardá Bell, IBCLC, CBE, CD

How to Build A Freezer Milk Stash

Updated: Jul 10, 2022

How to the heck to start collecting milk for your baby if you plan to return to work?

Try your pump out before you actually need to use it, usually first week or two.

Around 3-6 weeks or depending on when you must return to work, you will want to start pumping everyday for about 15 mins after morning feeds.

Why the morning? This is when you have the most milk of the day, collected from overnight and waiting to be expressed.

A manual pump like a Haakaa is an easy way to casually collect milk throughout your day or night. The suction and speed depend on how fast or slow and tight or loose that you squeeze your hand. I would not recommend this pump for moms with carpal tunnel or other mobility issues in the hands. An electric wearable pump may be best in your case. A manual hand pump one piece is great for vacations or collecting those drops of milk to add to a bottle.

A hands free pumping bra can be a game changer! You can pump and work, eat, scroll and more. You can pump both at the same time for maximum efficiency. I recommend Kindred Bravely!

A pumping plan will depend on age of your baby, how many babies and how long you will be away. If your baby hasn’t started solids, pump every 2-3 hours for 15 mins at a time while at work. For a typical work day, 8 hour shift with commute time, aim to pump at when you get to work, lunch, after lunch or in the car, you can use a nursing cover or use a wearable pump for bus or train rides. With older babies or solid food eating babies, 2 times a work day would be fair.

Lastly, you don’t need to pump on the same schedule as your baby’s feeding routine. If you can’t pump on the exact schedule each day that’s fine! If you miss a pump, it’s ok just make up for it with an extra feed or pump later.

Try not to stress too much, returning to work may cause a dip in supply, but rest assured this is temporary it can and should return. If you struggle, contact an IBCLC right away. Not sure of where to find one, ask your doula, midwife, pediatrician or OBGYN.

If you need more help setting up a back to work plan, book a new client consult with me. Happy latching & loving!

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