So you’ve gotten a good start pumping, you’ve either gone back to work or you’re making enough milk to need to store it for a while. First, decide how much milk to store in the refrigerator before you begin freezing. You should review the guidelines and decide how much milk you want to have ready on hand. Some moms use bottles, others use a pitcher for their fridge milk. I kept about 1-1.5 days of milk in the fridge, and froze the rest. I also froze most of what I pumped at work.
Pumping at Work
Buy yourself a nice, waterproof lunch box (wet bags work great, too) to put in the work fridge for your pump parts and milk. It gives you a little privacy and keeps your stuff stays cool so you don’t have to wash pump parts between pumping sessions.
Re-purpose a binder clip or two for your trips home. I had a milk bag leak once (into lunch box) and I lost a couple of ounces of milk. Thankfully I didn’t lose the whole bag, and I was able to deal with the mess quickly. I then realized that folding the tops of the bags over a few times and clipping them gave me some reinforcement to the bag seals.
When you’re ready to freeze, always lay your milk bags flat to freeze them. This is the most important thing. Flat bags take up way less space in your freezer. Grab one of these, a small cookie sheet, or a gift bag turned on the tall, narrow end, and dedicate a little space in your freezer for freezing your milk bags. Most moms with lots of milk freeze “bricks.” Where they have a number of bags of frozen milk, then they gather them into a gallon freezer bag. I gather mine in about 50-ounce bricks, put the oldest date on a milk bag and the total ounces in the outside of the brick.
Put the oldest Bricks in the front. This way, when you’re using frozen milk you’ll use the oldest first. And once you get a system developed, try to use some of your older frozen milk from time to time to make sure you’re rotating your milk. Lots of mom’s do “frozen Friday” or just use a bag of frozen milk a few times a week, you’ll find your groove with this.
Jenny Ditch is a working mom of one “pumpling” in Illinois who can’t wait to use more of that freezer stash!