How to build a “Milk stash”
Let me start off by saying, this is what worked for me and my babies. No two mamas are alike. So don’t feel discouraged if what I did to build my milk stash doesn’t work for you.
When Joel was first born, and for the first week of life, I didn’t even touch a breast pump. I didn’t want to go overboard with pumping, because if I were to have done that, Its like telling my body I have twins or triplets. Then I would’ve been an over supplier and run into issues like clogged milk ducts (no fun) and engorgement (painful and also no fun). But I began pumping about 1-2 times a day with my Medela Freestyle Pump for the first two weeks, at the same time every day.
#1. Add 1-2 pump sessions same time, every day. So when I first woke up for the day, like 9 am, and before bed at like 11pm (when I say before bed, I mean before my series of mini naps haha). Each time I pumped I’d get 4-5 oz each time, and place them in freezer bags. I like to use the Lansinoh Milk Storage Bags because they freeze flat, which is a big space saver, and it looks really pretty when its all organized haha.
#2. Get that milk flowing! To add on to number 1, ways to get your milk flowing (and to prevent any clogged milk ducts) include…
- Pump after you shower, the heat can stimulate a let down. Also applying a warm rag on your breast.
- pump while you nurse. Sometimes moms don’t get an easy let down with a pump, so let your little one nurse on one side to initiate the let down.
- massage breast before and while you pump.
#3. Try maintaining a healthy diet and lifestyle.
- Stay hydrated! I noticed dips in my supply when I didn’t consume enough liquids for the day.
- Eat oatmeal for breakfast. Oats are an amazing way to increase milk supply. It’s high in iron, and low iron levels can cause a decrease in milk supply. Every morning when I wake up and make my older childrens’ breakfast, I make myself a bowl of oatmeal, topped with golden flaxseed, and berries.
- Limit junk food consumption, those are all empty calories. Not saying don’t eat it, because shoot I love me some cookies and ice cream. But just being conscientious of what you’re snacking on. Sometimes when I’m starving for a hot cookie, I’ll snack on blueberries and granola instead.
- Continuing to take your prenatal or postnatal vitamins. If you’re like me and can’t remember anything anymore (mommy brain is so real!), set an alarm on your phone to remember.
#4. Nurse frequently, and on demand. simple as that. I never put Elias or Joel on any type of schedule (despite what their pediatrician says). If you are hungry, you don’t not eat because it hasn’t been 2 hours yet. So I treat my babies the same way, if they’re hungry I feed them, doing this helps maintain a helathy milk supply. If Joel sleeps longer than usual whether its our running errands, or middle of the night, I pump. So basically, this early on, I’d never go more than 3 hours without nursing or pumping.
#5. If you’re expereincing low milk supply, try adding natural herbs like Fennel , Fenugreek, Red Raspberry leaf, Milk Thistle, Anise, Brewers Yeast and Alfalfa. I personally just like drinking Milkmaid Tea. When I was experiencing low milk supply with my second child when I went back to work, I’d drink about 2-3 cups of this a day and I noticed a huge difference (like 4-5 oz a day difference). Now with this baby, I haven’t experienced any dips in my supply, but I really enjoy the taste of the tea so I drink it before bed. Also what I did when I went back to work with baby number two, was make lactation cookies. If you want the recipe for it, I can make a separate blog post about it, just let me know. If not you can google search ‘lactation cookie’ recipes. As long as it has brewers yeast in it, I’m sure it’ll work.
#6. Don’t give up or feel discouraged. By trying your best, you’re doing the best for your little babe.
If there is a particular breastfeeding topic you want to me to blog about, let me know! I’m more than happy to write what you want to read.