I had a pregnant friend that bought an extra freezer just for breast milk.
It turned out to be a bit presumptuous. She got no where near needing that freezer, with either baby. But in her defense, that’s what she figured was “normal” being that the breastfeeding mama she nannied for had an extra freezer full of liquid gold.
In my own experience, I could barely even breast feed my first daughter for the first three months of her life.
Her latch was bad. I was in pain every time I fed her. My supply could barely keep up.
They made me feed her on each side with a shield (since I was cracked and bleeding), then pump to get the rest out and give it to her via bottle , then supplement with formula for any missing ounces. I’m exhausted just remembering that time period: Feed/Cry – Clean Pump Parts/Cry – Repeat.
I was miserable. I wanted to quit. I cried a lot. I yelled a lot. It was an ugly time. I didn’t like me, my husband probably didn’t like me…
For most new mamas, breast feeding is a tough go. If you’re lucky, the pain only lasts days. But for others it can be weeks or months.
For perspective’s sake: think of something that hurts to the point your whole body recoils. You want to cry, yell, and throw things at the same time. Now repeat that every two to three hours for weeks, with little sleep, while a little baby screams at you. That is the early days of breastfeeding.
Because of our latch issue, that was my life for almost three months.
***Yes, I did consider tongue tie surgery, hired a breast feeding coach, went to breast feeding support groups, etc. – eventually baby and I just grew out of our challenges.***
But of course, I was envious of any women with an early freezer stash.
Fast forward to a few weeks ago when I gave birth to Baby Two. This baby knew how to latch from day one. She’s a damn baby genius, if you ask me.
I still had to overcome that painful stage of early breast feeding (I liken it to a baby alligator aggressively chomping at my nips every three hours), but within two weeks, we were over the worst of it.
The funny thing about breast feeding is that there is nothing “natural” about it, until there is. If you’ve done it – you probably get it. It can be miserable until that magical day when you notice you’ve made it over the hump. It becomes almost easy (dare I say, natural) as your body and baby get on the same page.
I still wanted that early freezer stash (and peace of mind) that I never got with my first baby, so I decided to try something new this time around. I didn’t want to jump straight to the pump. I still really hate that thing after pumping for over a year while working full-time with my first.
And the new plan has worked! Just two weeks post partum and I’m on my way to having my own envy worthy freezer stash – WITHOUT pumping.
Obviously the fact that my baby knows how to latch has helped my supply. But there are two other things that have worked amazingly. Here is how I was able to store over eighty ounces in the first two weeks.
- A medical grade water bottle with a straw. Normally, I am the worst about consuming liquids. But the more I drink, the better supply I notice. I’ve started using a huge mug with a straw. It allows me to drink a lot, quickly, and it works even when I am laying down in bed, feeding.
- A milk collector for let down. Last time around I let all that extra milk go to waste, collecting in the pads in my shirt. This time around I invested in a cheap and easy solution, similar to the Haakaa. It suctions on to the side that baby isn’t latched to and collects the let down. I like to feed the baby on both sides, so I switch it half way through. Easy to use, easy to clean, and it builds my freezer stash with no annoying pumping. I use it during about three feedings a day and I collect about 2-3 oz. each time. I had no idea I was letting that much milk go to waste last time!
Hopefully these simple tips will help another mama reach “envy worthy” freezer stash status.
Please share with other breastfeeding mamas in your life.