Despite the many benefits of pumping your breastmilk, it can be very time consuming. Whether you're pumping to up your milk supply, to build a stockpile for when you go back to work, or just in case, it's certainly not always convenient or easy. Luckily, when it comes to making your life easier, there are a few freezing breast milk hacks that you don't want to miss out on.
I remember when I discovered that I wasn't required to buy the bags specifically made for pumping. There were no "pumping police" making sure I followed the rules. So did I jump at the chance to save some cash and use ziplock bags to freeze my milk from time to time? You bet. Did I sometimes go a few days without sanitizing my pump? Heck yes. Although I was mostly an "as needed pumper," learning a few hacks like these simplified my life.
Most of these hacks aren't rocket science, in fact, they're pretty basic, but sometimes making a few small tweaks in your routine can save you time and energy you didn't even know you were losing. Even if you only pump occasionally, it's worth it to hack your pumping routine, making it as simple and effective as possible. And unleashing your inner rebel is never a bad thing.
1. Date/Label Your Milk Before Freezing It
Lansinoh recommends labeling your baby's milk with a date and name, especially if they're going to be taken care of by anyone else. Dating can help you know which milk to use first and keep track of how much you're stockpiling.
2. Store It In The Middle
Storing your milk in the middle or towards the back of your fridge will ensure that it stays at a safe temperature as the temperature in the door of your freezer fluctuates.
3. Leave Room For Expansion
According to Mayo Clinic, breastmilk expands when it freezes, so leaving room at the top of your container or bag will make sure it stays contained.
4. Freeze Smaller Amounts
Freezing two or three ounces at a time will not only help it thaw out quicker, it can cut back on wasting milk your baby may not drink.
5. Make "Boob Cubes"
If you're looking to conserve space (or funds — storage bags can be pricey) pour your milk into ice cube trays, freeze them, and then store them in sealed ziplock or other freezer bags. This is just as sanitary as any other method and according to a thread from La Leche League, each ice cube is about one ounce, making it easy to decide how much to thaw later.
6. Use "Boob Cubes" For Teething Relief
If you've amassed a big supply of the afore mentioned boob cubes, they can provide great teething relief to your baby. Obviously, don't let them suck on the cube by themselves, but use Rookie Mom's tip and use the cubes to rub or massage your baby's hurting gums.
7. Freeze Them Flat
To save space in your freezer, lay the bags down flat as they freeze. You'll be able to stack them and still have room for non-breastmilk foods.