With my return to work looming on the horizon, its time to start building a freezer supply of breast milk. Not my favorite part of breastfeeding, but necessary none the less. Luckily, we ended up finding a chest freezer on Craig's List so storage is no longer a problem. Time to start pumping!
With a toddler and a newborn hanging around, however, there isn't a ton of time during the day to get in a session or two. Pumping, labeling, cleaning, and storing needs to be as efficient as possible to keep the day moving.
I keep my pump set up 24/7. When I go back to work, I keep one AC adapter plugged in at home and one at work, so there is no climbing behind or under furniture to plug it into the wall. I sit it next to the couch, so when I need to pump I can just set it next to me, set up, and go. I keep extra breast pads, lanolin, and a burp cloth in my pump bag so they are within reach should I need them.
Cleaning pump parts is annoying. I hate doing it, so I don't....at least not every time. Fresh milk is good in the fridge for about 3-5 days. Therefore, you can put your pump parts in the fridge between pumping and they'll stay fine without cleaning! This little tid bit of information saves so much time during the day and is invaluable when you're pumping during a quick work break. A zip top bag or plastic tub work great for storage.
Since I am working on saving milk, everything goes right into freezer bags and into the freezer. The process of finding a bag and then a Sharpie to label it (both of which seemed to migrate around my kitchen) took way too long. This little bit of genius I'm genuinely proud of. I cut a slit in the top of the storage bag package and put a magnet inside the package behind the bags, sticking it on the side of the fridge. The Sharpie is right in the top and whenever I need one, I know exactly where they.
While the typical storage bag (I use Lansinoh brand) is made to stand up, you should always freeze them flat to save room and make storage easier. There are a lot of ways to store frozen bags, but my favorite is standing up like files in a basket or box. I don't have enough milk to fill one yet, but I bought square baskets at the dollar store to keep things organized in the freezer. Always remember the FIFO rule (first in, first out) so you're pulling the oldest milk first.
With this system, I can get through a pumping session in just under 25 minutes. If I needed to set up my pump, actually pump, then clean parts, find bags, label, and store everything it would be closer to 40. That's a big difference, especially to two kids demanding your attention!
Now that I'm on the road to a nice milk stash, the next step is getting G to drink from a bottle....something she hasn't actually done yet. While I'm very happy and proud of that fact, it does make me nervous that we haven't given it a go yet. Wish us luck!