Monthly Archives: March 2014

How To Store Breast Milk

Welcome to our “How to store breast milk” guide! The first question to ask is how long do you need to store breast milk? Longer than 8 days or 8 days or less?

How To Store Breast Milk For 8 Days Or Less

Storing breast milk for short term use (8 days or less) is as simple as putting it in the refrigerator. Well, almost. Here’s the details:

  • breast milk storage pump bottlesAfter you finish pumping, place the breast milk in the refrigerator. There’s no need to let the breast milk cool to room temperature before putting it in the fridge, however if the milk sits out for short time (no more than a couple hours) the freshness shouldn’t be affected.
  • Bag the milk. Or not. There are several manufacturers of breast milk storage bags. A quick web or amazon search will show you the options. However if you have extra pumping bottles or you will not need the pumping bottles before the breast milk is used, it’s perfectly fine to just store your pump bottles in the fridge. This also saves on washing.
  • Label the stored breast milk with the date. Most breast milk storage bags have a place where you can write the date or make notes. If you’re leaving your milk in the pump bottles, write down the date on masking tape and put that on the bottle.
  • Set a expiration reminder. If you’re not certain that you will be able to use the breast milk before it expires, set a reminder in your calendar for a week from now saying that the milk should be used or frozen today.

How To Store Breast Milk For Longer Than 8 Days

Banking up a freezer stash of breast milk is common for many moms who will be returning to work or school but still want to provide all the benefits of breast milk to their baby. Here’s how to store breast milk properly and keep organized:

  • Pump MembraneStore an amount of breast milk that makes sense. Usually this is three to five ounces, but try to anticipate what quantity will be most helpful to your baby sitter. If that amount is 4 ounces, there’s no point in storing a one ounce bag of breast milk. Instead if you pump less than your target amount, put the pump bottles, flanges and tubes in the fridge. The next time you go to pump, simply use your equipment from the fridge and add to the breast milk you previously produced.
  • Once you have pumped your target amount – even if that’s over two or more pumping sessions – pour the breast milk into a breast milk storage bag and note today’s date on the bag and place it in the freezer.
  • If you have pumped more milk that your target storage amount, you can either:
    1. Store a larger bag (5 oz instead of 4 oz). or
    2. You can make a 4 ounce bag and freeze that and put the remaining ounce in a new bag that you can keep in the fridge and add to later.
  • To keep organized, put the breast milk storage bags for a given month all in a gallon sized ziplock freezer bag. This way you’ll have a “March” bag, an “April” bag and so on. It’s much easier to find the milk you want when it’s organized this way.
  • You can store breast milk in a refrigerator freezer for about 4 months and a deep freezer will get you a full 12 months of storage. See the breast milk storage guidelines below or click the image to print your own copy.

how to store breast milk - methods and times

Printable copy of the Breast Milk Storage Guidelines 

How To Boost Breast Milk

boost breast milk for a return to workPerhaps you want to boost breast milk production so that you can build up a freezer stash so that you milk available when you return to work or school. Or maybe you feel that your milk production is a tad low and could use a boost. Or maybe baby is going through a growth spurt (or is due to start one) and you want to boost breast milk so baby will be satisfied.

Whatever the reason, here is how to boost breast milk in just four simple steps:

Boost Breast Pumping Sessions

boost breast milk by pumpingA simple way to boost breast milk is to add one or more breast pumping sessions to your day or night. If you’re breastfeeding, you’ll want to space these extra pumping sessions around when your baby typically breastfeeds. An easy way to do this is at bedtime and morning time. If baby typically is put down for bed at 9pm and you don’t go to bed until 11pm, pump right before you go to bed. Likewise in the morning, if you get up an hour or more before baby, go ahead and pump as soon as your feet hit the floor.

You might not have a lot of milk during these bonus breast pumping sessions at the start, but stick with it and be consistent your body will naturally boost your breast milk production at those times.

Boost Calories & Water (Especially If Dieting)

It takes a lot of calories to make breast milk. Why? Because a growing baby needs a lot of calories to   continue to develop and grow at the remarkable rate that occurs during the first year. In general it takes 500 extra calories to produce breast milk every day. To boost breast milk, you’ll need to be getting at least these 500 extra calories as well as few more above what your body typically needs.

This is particularly important for moms who are dieting. Aggressive dieting often causes a decrease in breast milk so plan on getting at least 500 extra calories each day.

Breast milk also requires water so pay close attention to hydration and try to drink around 64 ounces of water every day.

Boost Breast Milk By Pumping After Breastfeeding

When you pump immediately after breastfeeding, you’re fooling your body into thinking that baby is still breastfeeding and that baby hasn’t yet been satisfied. Your body will respond by boosting breast milk production. Initially when you pump after breastfeeding you may not get much additional breast milk, however after one to two weeks, you’ll start seeing the effects of boosted milk production.

Get An Herbal Boost

how to boost breast milkCertain all-natural herbs can boost breast milk production and increase the let-down reflex. For instance, an observational study of breastfeeding moms taking Lactiful Supply Max showed that 75% of them saw a boost in breast milk production. Of those moms that saw a production the average boost to breast milk was 14.8 ounces per mom per day. That’s quite a boost!

If you’re looking for how to boost breast milk production try the suggestions here and try Lactiful Supply Max. It even comes with a guaranteeClick for more articles about how to increase milk supply

When To Pump When Breastfeeding

The Three Most Common Reasons To Pump When Breastfeeding

when to pump when breastfeedingWhen breastfeeding is the primary source of your baby’s nutrition – meaning you’re not primarily giving formula bottles and you’re not exclusively pumping – there are still several really great reasons to own a good quality pump and use it frequently. The three most common reasons to pump when breastfeeding are:

  1. To increase breast milk production
  2. To build up a freezer stash of breast milk to be used when your return to work or school
  3. To pump when you’re away from baby for extended times, such as after you’ve returned to work or school

When to pump when breastfeeding depends on the circumstances, so let’s look at each of these. Read on!

When To Pump When Trying To Increase Milk Production

when to pump when trying to increase breast milk productionIf you are primarily trying to use your pump to increase breast milk production, it’s best to pump right after you finish breastfeeding. First, be sure you are breastfeeding baby on both sides during each breastfeeding session. After baby has finished, pump both sides for 5 additional minutes after no more milk is flowing. For example, you begin pumping after baby has finished on both sides and little to no milk is flowing from the left – it’s completely drained but a bit of milk is flowing out of the right and does so for four minutes then seems to stop. Now start your timer and continue pumping both sides for the bonus 5 minutes.

Why it works: the additional pumping time after all milk has stopped flowing communicates to the body that it is not producing enough milk and that production needs to be increased. The body will still need certain conditions to be met for an actual increase to occur: things like sufficient hydration, sufficient calories (it takes about 500 calories to create enough breast milk to feed a baby each day, above the mother’s calorie needs), sufficient rest, and so on.

If pumping after breastfeeding does not seem to be increasing milk supply on it’s own, consider trying an herbal supplement such as Lactiful Supply Max. An observational study in 2012 showed that 75% of moms who tried Lactiful Supply Max increased their breast milk production and that the average increase was 14.8 additional ounces of breast milk per mom, per day. See more about Lactiful here.

When To Pump When Trying To Build Up A Freezer Stash

When you know that you’ll be away from baby for a significant amount of time in the future, typically when you return to work, many moms build up a freezer stash of milk so that baby can continue to get breast milk even when away from mom.

While you can certainly pump after each breastfeeding session, such as when moms are trying to increase their milk supply, the output tends to be a bit low because baby has already drained the lion’s share. Instead, the best time to pump either in the night well after baby has gone to sleep or in the morning well before baby usually wakes up. You want to avoid pumping too close to a typical breastfeeding time, but planning your bonus pumping session to be a far apart from a breastfeeding session as possible.

breast-milk-storeage-guidelines

Initially you may not get much milk pumped during this session, but stick with a consistent time each day and your body will adjust to the additional milk withdrawal and you will begin producing a good quantity of milk at this time.

See our printable milk storage guidelines for everything you need to know about storing breast milk.

When To Pump When Away From Baby

help-milk-supplyWhen you’re away from baby, typically when at work or school, you’ll need to pump regularly in order to keep up your breast milk production so that you can continue to breastfeed when with baby. The ideal times to pump when away from baby are at the times when baby would normally breastfeed. If you don’t know baby’s schedule or if baby doesn’t stick to a schedule, pumping every 3 hours is a good rule of thumb. Try not to go more than 4 hours between any milk withdrawal (either breastfeeding or pumping) which can cause your milk production to drop.

Now you know when to pump when breastfeeding! If you have any questions, leave them in the comments below. Click for more articles about how to increase milk supply

Baby Sleeping Through The Night?

Why It Could Spell Disaster To Your Breast Milk Production

baby sleeping through the nightNewborns, especially breastfed newborns, typically wake every 3 hours to feed. It doesn’t matter if it’s day or night, newborns wake up frequently. After a few tiring weeks of this moms begin looking for ways to help their babies sleep longer stretches through the night with the goal being to have baby consistently sleep through the night.

Most sleep deprived moms dream of a baby who is a good sleeper. A baby who can be put down for bed and sleep through the night. But as terrific as a good night’s sleep is, there’s a danger looming for breastfeeding mothers: a baby that sleeps through the night can cause big trouble for breast milk production. Here’s how:

Why Does A Baby Sleeping Through The Night Affect Breast Milk Production?

The body has a feedback mechanism that lets it know when it is producing too much milk. There’s a specific type of whey protein called “feedback inhibitor of lactation” or FIL for short. Concentrations of FIL increase the more milk is allowed to build up in the breast and a breast that is painfully engorged contains very high levels of FIL. The body’s response to high levels of FIL is to cut back on production of breast milk.

When baby sleeps through the night (and mom sleeps through the night too) mom’s breasts continue to fill to the point of engorgement and when that happens high levels of FIL begin to signal the body to cut breast milk production. This is the reason some women with a large oversupply of milk can quickly swing to an undersupply of milk.

Will Baby Sleeping Through The Night Affect Your Breast Milk Production?

mother and baby sleeping through the nightSome breastfeeding moms have good sleepers and both mom and baby get a full night’s rest and it doesn’t affect mom’s milk supply while other moms can face serious production issues after just one uninterrupted night. What’s the difference?

Generally speaking, if a mom has had good milk production and in the morning is not waking with painfully engorged breasts then it’s likely that she will continue to have good milk production. On the other hand if a mom has struggled with lower milk production and/or is waking with painfully engorged breasts then her milk production may be in danger.

If Your Milk Production Is In Danger Here’s What You Can Do

The simplest solution, though not the most restful one, is to set an alarm in the middle of that long stretch of sleep – about 4 hours have you go to bed – and get up and pump both breasts for 10 to 15 minutes. This prevents the milk from building up too much causing the release of FIL which leads to lower milk production.

If baby is going to bed more than a couple of hours before you, consider waking up baby for a breastfeeding session right before you go to bed. Starting the night with empty breasts will help avoid FIL build up.

Finally if your milk supply has been affected by a baby sleeping through the night (or any other reason) you should consider an herbal supplement such as Lactiful Supply Max. These all-natural herbal tablets were shown in the 2012 study to increase breast milk production in 75% of the women who tried them. See more about Lactiful hereClick for more articles about how to increase milk supply