This year, it will be the 3rd time that I’m going back to work as a breastfeeding mom. I’ve learned a lot since the first time I started pumping. I’ve experimented with different schedules, several tools (pumps, storage solutions, etc.) and of course, turned all my learnings (and frustrations) into the creation of our Baby on the Move products.
Are you going back to work as a breastfeeding mom? Here are my 12 best tips for pumping and storing breastmilk:
1. Create a quiet cocoon for yourself
Hopefully, your employer has provided a quiet room where you can pump without interruptions. If you do find yourself pumping somewhere less quiet, and you want to create some privacy, a Baby on the Move Nursing Cocoon will do the trick. I’ve often found myself having to pump in the car on my way between meetings. With my nursing cocoon, I create a private space to pump, wherever I am.
2. Picture time
If you find it hard to pump without your baby present, look at some pictures or videos of your little one. Many moms find that the hormones immediately start to kick in.
3. Start in the morning
When going from breastfeeding to pumping: start right after the morning feed to do some extra pumping. This is the best moment of the day to get some extra milk and start building a small supply of milk for those first days at daycare.
4. Freezing Fridays
I try to breastfeed live when I have the chance. So here’s my preferred pumping schedule: Mondays through Thursdays: pump during the work day, so your baby can have the milk the next day at daycare.
Fridays: pump at work and freeze the milk.
Weekends: breastfeed your baby when you are together.
Monday: take the frozen milk from last Friday to daycare and repeat the schedule.
5. Store smaller portions for flexible feeds
Store or freeze breast milk in smaller portions, so you have more flexibility to defrost exactly the amount of milk needed. In our Baby on the Move Yummy Trays, you can freeze 9 portions of 30ml.
If you’re taking fresh milk (from the workday before) to daycare: divide smaller portions in several Yummy Bags – so they can heat what they need as they need it. Leftovers which haven’t been heated, can be frozen in a Yummy Bag or Yummy Tray. This way, you can avoid having to throw away any excess milk which was heated.
6. Find your perfect frequency
Experiment to find out what your best pumping frequency is. At the start of my pumping journey, I did two to three sessions each day. But after a while, I found out that if I waited until lunch to pump, I could actually pump a larger amount than with two separate pumping sessions combined. Of course, the frequency of pumping and the amount of milk needed, depend on your baby’s age and nutritional needs.
7. Label it, right after pumping
Write down the date and the amount on the Yummy Bag, so you can see which bags of milk you need to defrost or use first. Do it right after pumping, so you don’t forget. Yes, I’m speaking from experience.
Check out how to best use our Yummy Bags in this reel!
8. Batch the dishes
After pumping, put all the dirty tools in a zip lock bag or other sealed storage, and put it in the fridge. This way you can take everything home and put it in your dishwasher, so you don’t have to do the washing up by hand several times a day.
9. Keep an emergency tray at daycare
Ask your daycare if you can keep a Yummy Tray full of frozen milk in their freezer. If they happen to have too little of the fresh milk one day, or something goes wrong while preparing the bottle, they have an emergency stash in the freezer.
10. Heat it ‘au bain marie’
Preparing a bottle with frozen milk or fresh milk from the day before? Don’t put it in the microwave. Just take a large pot of hot water and heat the Yummy Bag ‘au bain marie’. The silicone of the Yummy Bag is an excellent and safe material to heat breastmilk, while keeping all the nutrients inside.
11. Keep it cool
The safest way to transport fresh or frozen milk, is in an insulated bag. Hand the full Yummy Bags to the caregivers at daycare, so they can immediately put them in the fridge. You can take the insulated bag to work to store your freshly pumped breastmilk and keep it cool on your way home. If your partner or another loved one drops off baby at daycare, a second insulated bag might come in handy.
12. Download our Breastmilk Guidelines for Daycare
Dropping off your baby in the morning can be hectic. And there’s already so much to communicate and think about. That’s why we’ve created this practical set of breastmilk tips to give to your daycare, to a grandparent, or to anyone else who might support you as a breastfeeding mom. So you don’t have any miscommunications on how to store, defrost and prepare the breastmilk for your baby.
Even after breastfeeding three babies, I still have a lot to experiment and learn. If you have any other questions, tips or best practices, we’d be very happy to hear from you. You can e-mail us, or contact us on social media.
I wish you the very best on your pumping journey and your return to work!
Lots of love,