Sep 11, 2012
Jamie

Storing Your Liquid Gold

Someday I will write a post detailing all the wonderful things about breastfeeding… but this my friends is not it. I could also use this post to tell you things you already know, like “it’s the best thing you can do for your baby”, “it helps you lose weight quick”, and “it’s very convenient”… but again you already know that stuff. So instead, I want to share my breastfeeding journey with you, which has been the hardest yet most rewarding experience of my life. There were countless towel throw-ins, tears and late night pump cleanings… but I’m now so very proud to tell you that I stuck with it and turned my underweight baby to a 10 week old baby who is completely off the growth charts for height and weight!

So my nursing troubles started at birth. Although Dylan initially latched beautifully, he developed Jaundice which caused him to sleep… A LOT. And there’s a lot to love about a super sleepy baby, but unfortunately they don’t eat a lot. It also didn’t help that he was put in the NICU for a day and given formula… so when we finally got home from the hospital 5 days later and his appetite started to increase, he got pissed when his milk machines were not giving him the goods. I mean, who wouldn’t be… right! Then the next day at his first dr. appointment, the worst happened… he hadn’t regained his birth weight and his doc gave us the option of starting formula or going to a lactation consultant to assess the situation. So off we went to whip out and talk about my boobs with a few more people (vanity is sooo out the window at this point). My LC’s recommendation was probably the suckiest (pun intended!) moment of my experience – since he didn’t transfer enough milk, she suggested that I nurse, pump and then supplement with at least 1 oz of pumped milk or formula. And yes, I did this for every feeding for 4 straight weeks = My. Personal. Hell.

So although this totally, 100% sucked…. it’s also really worked. Although the first week I was only able to express 1/2 an ounce after a feeding, that quickly increased and by 3 weeks I was pumping almost 2 oz and Dylan was quickly gaining weight. Aside from pumping, I also took Fenugreek to increase my milk supply for a few weeks but had to stop as I just couldn’t stand smelling like the waffle house. At our 4 week LC weight check-in, my LC happily told us that we had graduated and against her recommendation, I then completely stopped pumping. She suggested that I wean off the pump, but I was soooo sick of pumping and Dylan was eating every 2 hours so I desperately needed the break. Big Mistake. Within a few days, I developed a low grade fever and lump in my breast. Yep… that’s a sure sign of a clogged duct and a day or so away from Mastitis. Luckily I was aware of the symptoms and caught it fast. Although it was painful, I made Dylan nurse extra on the breast with the clogged duct and within a few days it cleared.

Needless to say, back to the pump I went! But only twice a day and now happily once a day. Since Dylan is transferring plenty (at 2 months he weighed 13 lbs!), I’ve been building a pretty nice supply of the liquid gold, and boy am I proud of that stuff when I open my freezer and see my stock pile! So after gathering tons of different ideas for how to store and organize my supply, I found the coolest idea from Roni at GreenLiteBites.com… and of course I had to copy it. What I love about her method is that it ensures you use your oldest milk first by dispensing it in the correct order.

  • Here’s whatcha need:
  • - A small gift bag
  • - Scissors
  • - Tape (to reinforce opening)
  • - Milk storage bags

 

  • IMG_3417

Simply cut a hole in the bag on one of it’s sides, making sure the opening is wide enough for your storage bags.

IMG_3418   IMG_3419

Store your oldest milk at the bottom and simply stack on your newer milk. Before placing the milk in the bag, I make sure it’s labeled with the date and volume. I also only store a 3-4 oz bottle worth of milk per bag.

I usually have a little treat sitting next to my bags, because after all, nursing allows us a few extra calories a day Smile

IMG_3428

  • Oh and here are the LLLi guidelines I follow for storing breastmilk:
  • - At room temperature (66-78°F, 19-26°C): for 4 hours (ideal), up to 6 hours (acceptable)
  • - In a refrigerator (<39°F, <4°C): for 72 hours (ideal), up to 8 days
  • - In a freezer (-0.4 to -4°F, -18 to -20°C): for 6 months (ideal) up to 12 months (acceptable)

Happy pumping!

xoxo,

jamie

20 Comments

  • I am due with my first baby in early March 2013 and am very anxious about this breastfeeding business. It was refreshing to hear your honest journey – thank you!
    PS: LOVE that organization method – makes my OCD little soul jump for joy!

    • Congrats Nicole!

  • I have been reading your blog for a couple of months now! My baby boy was born just a few days after yours (July 5th) and I love reading about your ideas for baby things :) I actually use the same method to store my frozen milk and coincidentally I’ve been using the exact same owl gift bag lol. Happy pumping!!!

    • Congrats on your baby boy, Carrie! Too funny about the same bag… I bet you got it at your baby shower too?!

  • Thanks for this tip! I’m pregnant with my second child and am planning to breastfeed this child. I didn’t my first because the only person I knew who did had a heck of a horror story, so it turned me off. Now I’m all in, since I’ve had classes. Thank you!

    • That’s great, Amanda! I’m by no means a bf expert but let me know if you have any questions along the way! Good luck!

  • Thanks for this great post-I have a 6 week old and we hit a set back with nursing this week, always good to hear that “this too shall pass”, I’ve been encouraged to stick with it and things are getting better :)
    As for storing the “liquid gold”, I have noticed with the freezer bags that the volume is WAY off (I use the Ameda bags), I noticed when I pumped into a bottle and it was only about an ounce and a half, I then transfered it to a freezer bag and it looked like almost 3 oz in the bag, and varied depending on how the bag was being held. Have you noticed this with your bags, and if so any tips on how to get a more accurate volume read without first having to pump into a bottle?

    • Thanks Jessica! Yes, stick with it girl. I almost quit at least 10 times but am so very glad I stuck with it because it does get better. Also, I never measure via the freezer bags because they are so off. Unfortunately, I just always pump into the bottles and then pour into the bags. Good luck!!!

  • I have loved reading your blog since I stumbled upon in June. My baby girl is two and a half weeks old, so I really like your baby posts. I love reading about someone who is in or has been in the same place I’m in now. Breastfeeding is so hard! Gosh, I had no idea. I knew it would be hard and painful, but I wasn’t prepared for feeling like my daughter was trying to suck shards of glass through my nips. Thankfully, once my milk came in it has been so much easier. I have been pumping here and there, mostly so my husband can help with feeding on the weekends. I love the idea of the storage. I will definitely be doing this when I go back to work. Thanks for the great idea! :)

    • Thanks Lauren! Congrats on your new baby girl. I hear ya girl… but I’m proud of us because although it’s hard it’s the very best for our babies!

  • with only 2 1/2 weeks left of my pregnancy, I am so thankful I came across your blog and this post in particular. Reading about your struggles and victory has helped ease some fears I was having about this very subject! and I LOVE the storing idea and cant wait to create my own! Can’t wait to read more about your journey as a new mom while I am begining mine as well!

  • Thank you so much for this idea! I have been reading your blog since early August! I just love all your ideas and how you write! Totally relate! I have a 3 month old baby boy, this storing solution is perfect for me! .”…. Thank you :)

    • Thanks Lucy!

  • I SOOOO WISH i had stumbbled apon a post like this months ago when my baby boy was in the NICU for two months. i have a super small freezer and actually had to pump&dumb for a while(which i am sooooo regreting these days) because i was pumping way to much for my boy. i too and stuggleing with my supply now and am now taking reglan after trying every supplement possible! for over a month! i was unfortunant the fenegreek didnt work, but lucky you! i now have a months worth of the stuff along with blessed thristle, mothers milk and many more!! LOL we have to sub in formula when im not home cus i just dont make enough the medicine is slowing working but still not enough to keep up with my chunky 15 wk old! LOVE your blog thou! EXSPECIALLY the mommy ones :]

    • Thanks Kelsey! Sorry to hear about your little one being in the nicu. Hope everything is better now! Way to go on building a months supply, that’s awesome!

  • Thank you so much for this perspective!!! I am 2 weeks away from my due date and have heard so many things from different LC’s, mom friends, family etc. You know how people are with the advice when you’re a new mom, it just keeps on flowing. Everyone has different ideas and not all of them will work for me and my little guy. I think my LC glorifies the breastfeeding process. I find the most value from blogs written by moms like you! So happy you stuck with it and had the results you needed to see. :)

  • I’m not due until July 2013, but I’m so excited to start this breast feeding journey! I didn’t attempt it with my first child. She was born in a military hospital, and let’s just say it was NOT a good experience. They tell you nothing! So of course, I wasn’t informed on any LC’s. :-( Thanks for sharing your story!! I am in love how you just tell it like it is!

  • This is a great idea! And a nice way to recycle a cute bag! I will definitely be doing this.

    • Thanks Amanda!

  • Jamie, just started following you and look forward to reading your blog regularly. I am expecting a little boy in November and since I had to bottle feed my first, I am very hopeful I am able to breastfeed this little guy. Keeping my fingers crossed.

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I'm Jamie, just one new mama organizing her way to a sweeter and happier home

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