A few weeks after Elida was born, and we were in a breastfeeding groove, I decided to start pumping to build up a reserve supply. I pumped once in the morning and once in the afternoon between her feedings. Building up a supply meant coming up with a freezing and storage system. I read somewhere that it was best to freeze the milk in 2-4 ounce increments, so I poured 3 ounces of milk in a breast milk storage bag and set it upright in our freezer. I went to Target and bought this storage bin for the frozen milk. After three days of this, I realized that setting the bags upright in our freezer made all of the milk freeze in the bottom, which wasn’t conducive to storage. Then I had a light bulb moment and decided that if I laid the bag down on a flat service, the milk would freeze flat.
The width of the bag fit perfectly in the storage container and it was a perfect plan for about a week. That’s when I realized how little I could fit in the container. I had no concept of how much space the milk would take and how little could be stored in the container. (I only got about 6-8 bags in the container).
I needed something that was the same width as the container where the bags could stand up, but something that could store quite a bit more. Enter second light bulb moment concerning breast milk storage – The door of the deep freezer works perfectly! It was the perfect size, and when I needed to thaw milk, I could just grab from the front, which was the oldest. I put the most recent bags in the back and it was a good cycle.
Once I went back to work and started pumping more than I was nursing, I was freezing breast milk every day. Each day, when I came home from work, I combined the milk that was pumped into bigger bottles to take to day care the next day.Whatever surplus there was went in a separate (usually smaller) bottle. Once that surplus reached a “freezable quantity”, I would pull out a bag, label it and lay it flat in our freezer. I found that the Sharpie Ultra Fine Tip pens worked best on the bag labels, so I kept one in the storage bag box.
My favorite thing about this process was that it didn’t take any more time to do it this way than it would if I wouldn’t have been so intentional and organized with it. I only gained time and space. That’s my ideal situation!
*I’ve reached the point where I’m now using the reserves that I had stored in the deep freezer. At it’s highest point, three shelves were filled with milk, which was a lot, but didn’t seem like it because it all fit so nicely in the freezer door.
*The storage container didn’t go completely to waste. It ended up being the perfect container to take a week’s worth of breast milk to and from our day care provider (when I was giving her frozen bags instead of thawed milk in bottles). Once we got to solid food, it was ideal for storing pureed food pouches.