How Much Milk is Really Needed Before Returning to Work?

December 05, 2018

Written by Tanya, IBCLC    

Let's face it, going back to work after having a baby is stressful, even under the best of circumstances.   

For pumping moms, one source of comfort can be a stash of breastmilk in the freezer.  Those bags of frozen milk symbolize security - an insurance policy against our babies going hungry while we're away.  

But how much of a stash do you really need? 

Some moms discover too late that they haven't put away enough milk, while others pump far more than they'll ever use.  Below we offer some practical steps to developing a freezer stash of your own.

First, what is your backup supply really for?  It's important to know that, unless you are unable to pump enough at work, your breastmilk stash is not what your baby will be consuming on a daily basis.  Instead, your baby's regular supply will come from what you pumped the previous day.  

Think of it this way:  Let’s say you go back to work on a Wednesday.  You use your stash to cover that day.  On Wednesday, you pump as often as your baby would be nursing were you at home, and you come home with milk you put in the fridge to be used on Thursday.  On Thursday, your baby eats the milk you pumped on Wednesday, and on Friday she eats what you pumped on Thursday, and (you guessed it), on Monday she eats what you pumped on Friday.

So what is the backup stash for?  Your backup stash has three purposes: 

1) to use on your first day back at work, when you won't have milk pumped the day before 

2) as a buffer to cover the unexpected (such as spilled milk at day care) or when you can’t  pump enough times while at work 

3) other separations (a night out, a business trip, etc.).  

Figure out how much you need per day.  So, knowing what your backup supply is for, how much should you put away?

Recommendations vary, and it depends to some extent on what will make you feel confident when you go back to work.  But here is a guide to figuring out a rough estimate of how much milk you might need by your first day back at work.

Start by figuring out how many feedings you'll be missing each working day.  For example, if your baby normally eats at roughly 10:00, 1:00, 3:00, and 5:00, and you'll be gone (including commute time) from 8:30 to 5:30, you'll be missing four feedings.  Of course, the number of feedings depends on how long you'll be gone.  Moms with long commutes or double shifts will miss more feedings.  

Take the number of feedings you'll be missing (in this case four), and multiply that by an average of 3-4 ounces per feeding (this is the average amount for breastfed babies between 1-6 months), and you'd need something like 12-16 ounces per day.  

Now let's shoot for having between 3-5 days worth of milk stored before you go back to work.  Multiply 12-16 ounces by 3-5 days.  If you'll be missing four feedings per day, multiply 12-16 ounces by 3-5 days, and you'll get a total of somewhere between 36 and 80 ounces.  

Is there anything wrong with pumping more?  No, though you have to balance the time it will take to pump with time spent with your baby or having a bit of time to yourself (naptime is precious!).  And any mom with an oversupply should recognize that the more pumping she does the more milk she will make.

One caveat:  If you find that you regularly don't pump enough to cover the next day's feedings, you'll depend on your stash more.  If you know in advance that you won't pump enough you will want to build a larger stash.  You may also need to more faithfully replenish your stash by, for example, pumping once or twice over the weekend.

Pump one day at a time.  It might feel overwhelming to have a goal of 36 to 80 ounces, but if you take pumping one day at a time it will feel more manageable.  Your pumping will be most productive if you do it early in the day, when your supply is highest.  You can pick a point in between two morning feedings to pump.  Avoid the end of the day, when your supply is lower and babies tend to want to cluster feed.

If you start pumping once a day, three weeks before your return to work, and you pump 3-4 ounces per session, you’ll have 63-84 ounces by your first day back at work.  To build a bigger stash, start four weeks before your return date.

Store it away.  Freeze in small amounts - no more than 3 ounces - to minimize waste if your baby doesn't take a full 4 ounce bottle.  To keep your stash organized and avoid a freezer takeover, consider freezing your milk by lying the bags down so they freeze “flat.”  Then you can organize them in a shoe box by date - almost like a milk filing cabinet.

Replenish your backup stash from time to time.  If all goes according to plan, your backup stash will gradually dwindle.  That's normal - you're using it for its intended purpose.  It's also normal to experience a decline in pumping production over time. So you may want to monitor and occasionally replenish your freezer stash.  Try pumping once on each of your days off, and you should see your stash grow.  Breastfeeding USA suggests pumping once or twice over the weekend to replenish your supply. 

Have questions?  Get help!   If you need help figuring out anything related to returning to work never hesitate to seek out help from a lactation consultant (IBCLC), a La Leche League leader, a Breastfeeding USA counselor, or your local WIC office breastfeeding peer counselor.  Breastfeeding support works best when you get it early!





Anna

Discord Servers also has several text chat channels as well as personal messages between users. This is great when you can not or do not want to use voice communication channels to chat.

tovar linda

My milk is not much, every time I express milk I only reach about 250ml of milk, I am almost stressed because of this, do you have any way to guide me? novel updates

mickeylie

The IP address 192.168.1.254 login
is a private IP address which means it will fit up to a certain range which is reserved from IANA as a private range.

temple run

The information you share is very good. It helped me a lot in storing milk for my children. I have a clear grasp. thank you very much.
fnaf world

angelicamandy

If you discover that you frequently don’t pump enough to cowl tomorrow’s feedings, you may rely upon your stash more.  If you understand earlier that you may not pump enough you may want to construct a larger stash.  You can also want to greater faithfully refill your stash by, for instance, pumping a couple of times over the weekend.pay someone to do my university essay for me online

Andrew

yes

Ernest

It’s really great to post my comments on such a blog. I would like to appreciate the great work done by the web master and would like to tell everyone that they should post their interesting comments and should make this blog interesting. Once again I would like to say keep it up to blog owner!!!!  brain teaser games

dummy nick

Great news. Thanks for having us over here. Learn many useful knowledge and insight. Thanks for having us over to learn and engage the support. I would like to invite you to our next upcoming show here 2019 jan. Park Colonial,

Lennon

Thanks for all the help and support. I would love to come back to read and engage you for more services. Grateful to be here and come across your site. I wish to see you once again some time. Thanks for helping us back then. Cheers. Riverfront Residences, Margaret Ville,

Lina

Thanks for all the useful content here. Uptown at Farrer is located at farrer park. Please do visit us sometime. You will find many interesting entertainment located near Uptown @ Farrer. Nearby you will find 8 Hullet at the corner of the location. Feel free to visit once a while.

Tina

Great to have all of you here with us. Thankful to have your support. I would love to invite you to our latest show in 2019, please register with us over here. Parc Esta, JadeScape, Treasure at Tampines, Treasure @ Tampines,

John

Awesome and excellent post. We would love to revisit here sometime. Please keep us update here so we could keep coming back to learn more. Feel free to join us here for our latest upcoming 2019 Jan showcase. Cheers. Tre ver, the Tre ver, Garden Residences, Jovell, The Jovell,

Karen

Great to have you has our guest. Please and pleasure to meet the support team. Feel free to join us our latest and hottest coming development showcase. Register here over at our latest sites. Feel free to review and comment. Kent Ridge Hill , Kent Ridge Hill ResidencesStirling Residences , Tapestry, The Tapestry, Whistler Grand, Parc Clematis, Affinity at Serangoon, Affinity @ Serangoon, Normanton Park, Florence Residences,

John

Thanks for joining us to our latest showcase of 2018. We are extending our latest showcase invitation to you. Please register here early and we would be pleasure to meet you here once again. Thanks for your help and support! Renovation singapore, Renovation contractor singapore, Renovation singapore, Renovation contractor singapore, Renovation singapore, Renovation contractor singapore, Space Walk,

blakelively

Much gratitude to you such an incredible sum for sharing! I will form a post soon about continuing with your direction expertise comptable Cayenne.

suman andi

Awesome and excellent post. We would love to revisit here sometime free gift card generator and free gift code generator and free gift card generator

alisha

All the details are in this post is very interesting and brilliant and I am glad to see this post.
Escorts Service in Alwar ,
Call Girls in Independent ,
Palam Vihar Call Girls ,
Escorts in DLF Phase 1,2,3,4,5 ,
Bhiwadi Escorts Service ,
Sohna Road Escorts


Leave a reply