Breastfeeding is truly a labor of love! I have been very fortunate to breastfeed all four of my children and I have to say just like their labors, each of my breastfeeding journeys has also been very different. However, one thing that has always been constant is the need to express and store breastmilk to make sure my babies have the nutrition they need when they need it. Here are some helpful tips I’ve learned throughout my breastfeeding journey. 

1. Take a Breastfeeding Class from a certified Lactation Consultant!

I cannot stress this enough, I honestly think this class is more important than even a Labor and Delivery class. I say this because while L&D classes are helpful, there are so many trained professionals on the big day helping both Mom and Baby. With breastfeeding, there are so many things you can learn ahead of the baby’s arrival and it’s so very important for your partner to hear them and be committed to the breastfeeding journey with you. This class will build the foundation and give you more confidence when the baby arrives. 

2. Collect Colostrum and Put Baby to Breast Early!

This early milk is so special for the baby so as early as possible put the baby to the breast and let them get this liquid gold. After coming home from the hospital, I usually need to pump to regulate my supply for baby and I typically save this early milk in these breastmilk storage bags. This early, typically more yellow breastmilk is helpful to pull out of the freezer when baby has his or her first cold. 

When storing Breastmilk I refer to the CDC Human Milk Storage Guidelines below. It may be helpful to print this table out and place it on your refrigerator with a magnet for quick reference.

Similarly, I have also heard about the more conservative Rule of 3 for breastmilk, which is also easier to remember. For freshly expressed breastmilk this means:

  • 3 hours at room temperature
  • 3 days in the fridge
  • 3 months in the freezer

Here are some of the ways I have utilized expressed breastmilk for my children using the storage guidelines above:

  • Bottles for Daycare – When I was working in the office and my children were at an onsite Montessori school, I used my Medela Pump in Style pump and I would pump breastmilk directly into the Medela bottles that I would then send with them each day to school. With my first daughter, I purchased the below storage set from Medela I loved this little caddy for storing bottles and rotating them out to ensure the latest date is utilized first:

Pro Tip: If the breastmilk has separated while in the fridge that is totally normal! Fatty parts of the milk are simply rising to the top, but to get it back combined you can gently swirl the milk either before or after warming it to feed baby.

Using Breastmilk to add to Baby’s First Foods 

  • I love using the Haakaa to quickly express just enough breastmilk to add to oatmeal, fruit, or vegetable puree to supplement first foods for baby. The Haakaa is much faster and easier to clean than using the pump and you can even store unused milk in it too using the same above guidelines.

  • Using Breastmilk when Baby is Teething – Frozen breastmilk is a wonderful way to soothe a baby’s gums while teething. Moss and Fawn make adorable ice cube trays and feeders to both store, freeze, and then allow baby to use breastmilk in a feeder to soothe baby while they teethe.

  • Freezing Breastmilk –  I personally find it most convenient to pump milk into the Medela bottles and then pour that pumped milk into the milk bags linked above if I am going to freeze it for use later. Pro Tip: Leave the flange on to act as a funnel for getting every last drop from bottle to bag. Once I’ve added the milk to the bag, I will use a black Sharpie pen to fill in the date pumped and the amount the bag contains. Then I will lay the bag down flat and add it to the freezer. I have a container like the one below from Target that helps me keep the flat breastmilk bags altogether for easy access. 

Whoever said there is no crying over spilled milk clearly was not referring to breastmilk! Hopefully with these helpful mom approved tips and the storage guidelines above there will be minimal breastmilk spills or spoilage. What are some tips and tricks you have for storing and/or using breastmilk for your littles?

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