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Thread: What is a good milk storage goal?

  1. #1

    Default What is a good milk storage goal?

    Hello!

    I am a mother of 4 and have successfully nursed all of my children. My youngest is now 6 weeks and I find myself in a new situation. I will be returning to work in 4 weeks and I am wanting to build up my stored milk supply. I make adequate milk and I am currently pumping at night (he sleeps through the night), and after he has finished nursing a few times through the day. I am planning to nurse him as long as possible, but my issue is my work situation.

    I have a place to pump and my employer and supervisors are supportive, however- I work 12 hour night shifts in a very demanding high stress job. Most nights I will be able to pump routinely 3-4 times during lunch and breaks. I know that is not going to be enough to feed him through the day. On my days off I am planning to just nurse him and continue to pump and store the excess. My question is- knowing that my demanding job may cause me to not be able to pump enough during my work day, how much milk should I set as a goal to store before I go back to work?

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Aug 2012
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    297

    Default Re: What is a good milk storage goal?

    I'm not very experienced so I don't have a good answer for you. But I wanted to throw the idea out there of pumping on your commute (using a hands-free setup in your car) OR arriving at work 20 minutes early to pump before you start your workday (easier said than done, I know). This has been a HUGE revelation to me because it allows me to get an extra pumping session in that I wouldn't otherwise have time for during my work day. And if you can do it while you drive, you are really multitasking and saving time. Just an idea!

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Mar 2010
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    Northern Cal.
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    Default Re: What is a good milk storage goal?

    So, first of all, I would make pumping at work a major priority. I know we have folks on these boards who work night shifts in the medical field, and it is really tough. But if you're not pumping enough to meet his demands (going by a 1-1.5 ounce per hour rule), it could really endanger your supply long term. (This becomes less stressful after you get past the six month point. Of course, if your baby isn't eating much while you're gone because he's sleeping, but getting plenty the rest of the day, that's fine and you don't have to pump as much. The goal is to pump what he needs while you're gone, no more.) So don't think of this as a forever thing - it's temporary - but for the first few months, do everything you can to maximize your pumping output.

    Normally, I'm not a big fan of big frozen milk stashes, because the goal is to pump enough each day for the next day, and if you're relying too much on your stash, something needs to be adjusted - either your baby is being overfed, or you need to increase your pumping production. So I'd say, you just need enough for the first day and then some extra in case you spill some milk or it spoils. But if you know that you're going to struggle to pump enough, it does make sense to have some stash. Hopefully you'll only need to dip into it a little here and there to make up a deficit. You have plenty of time to pump, so I would start pumping once a day (or twice at the max) and stashing away that milk in the freezer. There's no set amount of milk you need, but if you do this every day until you go back, you should have a good amount set aside.

    I also agree with PP - with a long shift especially, pumping on your commute (if you have a commute) is a GREAT idea and can really help you get the milk you need for the next day.


    You can call me JoMo!

    Mom to baby boy Joe, born 5/4/09 and breastfed for more than two and a half years, and baby girl Maggie, born 7/9/12.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Mar 2010
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    Default Re: What is a good milk storage goal?

    P.S. If you pump around the same time each day, your supply will increase over a few days and you'll pump more during this session. I recommend doing this at a time when you'll be at work when you go back, so that you have that increased supply kind of built in when you start up. So I've been pumping for my stash in the morning, around the time I'd probably be pumping at work. This could be a challenge with a night shift, though!


    You can call me JoMo!

    Mom to baby boy Joe, born 5/4/09 and breastfed for more than two and a half years, and baby girl Maggie, born 7/9/12.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jun 2009
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    6,562

    Default Re: What is a good milk storage goal?

    It sounds like your baby doesn't nurse at night? Are you going to be pumping for him for during the day - when you are presumably sleeping? I'm sorry if I'm missing something here. If I were you, and someone was going to be caring for my baby during the day when I wasn't with him - then I would set an alarm to wake me every three hours to pump during the day too. Your baby gets all of his calories during the day. Also, you could set an alarm on the weekends and pump once in the middle of the night. Or pump before you go to bed or something. If I'm understanding what you are saying, you are going to want to pump at night on the weekends anyway because your body will be producing milk at that time that your baby isn't going to be taking from you.

    Am I understanding your schedule correctly? Sorry if I'm missing something. This would help you not to worry about not being able to pump enough on your night shift.
    Tracie

    Mommy to
    Lilah 10/08 nursed 25 months
    Beatrix 01/11 nursed 30 months

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Mar 2010
    Location
    Northern Cal.
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    4,983

    Default Re: What is a good milk storage goal?

    Yeah, okay, I reread your post and I'm confused too. If your baby sleeps through the night and you work night shifts, why would you need to pump enough to keep him happy through the day? Can't you nurse him during the day?


    You can call me JoMo!

    Mom to baby boy Joe, born 5/4/09 and breastfed for more than two and a half years, and baby girl Maggie, born 7/9/12.

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