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Thread: When do I use frozen milk?

  1. #1
    Join Date
    May 2013
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    New Jersey
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    158

    Default When do I use frozen milk?

    I am sorry this is so long but I am confused!
    A little background first-
    I am pumping at work for daycare and nights I have to work late. I do not give any bottles on the weekend unless I have to be away from my LO which rarely happens.
    During the week Ellie eats about 10.5oz/day at day care and a 2-3 days a week she gets another 1.5oz if I am going to be late. I am pumping on average 14 oz a day so I wind up with about 3oz a day overflow. This is 15oz/week going into the freezer plus what I pump on the weekends (about 10oz). So for every week I storing about a days worth of milk. The milk is in a closed drawer in the freezer so it only gets opened once a day and we keep our freezer colder than necessary by a few degrees. Assuming I continue pumping until Ellie is about a year and my supply stays where it is (and where it has been save a few scares where I dropped a little for a day) I will have about 1000oz of milk frozen. The oldest milk will be 10 months at that point.
    And now my question-
    When do I use this milk? I do not want it to go bad. If I stop pumping around a year this would allow me to send 10 oz of bm to day care a day for about 5 months but i thought at that point the amount of bm Ellie was drinking would start to decrease so it would last even longer. I also am assuming I will still be breastfeeding before and after work, at night and on the weekends.

    If the milk is only good for a year I do not know if I will use it all before it goes bad if that is all I am using it for. If I start pump weaning at a year and finish around 15 months (which is what I am estimating) The oldest milk will be over a year before I can use it.

    Second question-
    Should I start sending frozen milk to daycare and freezing the new milk to avoid this? I cannot use the oldest milk because of dairy elimination so I may loose about 2 months worth anyway but every time I add to my stash I wonder if it will all go to waste in the end. I would donate but I did not mark the dates when I was taking medication and I have been on a bunch of antibiotics so I don't feel comfortable with that. I dont mind giving it to Ellie because she did not react to it and the pediatrician and infantrisk calmed my concerns.

    Im sorry if this is all over the place. I tried to organize it but I think faster than I type
    Any thoughts would be greatly appreciated!
    mommy to Ellie - 2/28/13 8lb 3oz 19.5in

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Aug 2012
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    292

    Default Re: When do I use frozen milk?

    Great that you are pumping plenty of milk! I have a couple of thoughts--

    Rotating your stash is a good idea. I used to freeze all of my pumped milk on Friday and send frozen milk on Monday. That way your oldest milk slowly gets used up.

    It will be great to be able to send frozen breast milk for a few months after you pump wean! It is a lucky toddler who gets to drink mamas milk at daycare. I don't think my DD's fluids consumption went down that much after a year. She still drinks a few oz of cows milk or water at daycare 3ish times per day which is what she was drinking when I was pumping so your baby will probably be happy to drink up your stored breast milk pretty quickly I would think.

    I see no reason why you can't pump wean a little earlier than a year if you have lots of milk in the freezer. I pump weaned at around 11 mos. I was nervous that it would cause my supply to drop enough that I wouldn't be able to keep my baby satisfied on evenings and weekends but i got a lot of encouragement here and it was totally fine and I felt lucky to be able to put away the pump a little earlier than I had planned.

    You may find that you go through times where your supply dips and you start needing to use your freezer stash so it is great to have for backup if that happens.

    I am not sure what your reason for pumping on the weekends is but if you are making excess milk during the week and nursing on demand all weekend, I would forget pumping on the weekend!!

    Finally, I don't want to try to talk you in to donating because if you don't feel comfortable wih it then I totally believe you shouldn't do it but I wanted to just offer up a couple of points. If you donate to a milk bank they have pretty conservative criteria about what is OK and what is not so I think you can trust that they will make a sound decision about whether your milk is OK. Also keep in mind that some of the babies who benefit the most from donor milk are in intensive care nurseries in the hospital and many of them are on IV antibiotics anyway. Obviously no one wants anyone exposed to more antibiotics than necessary but what is in your milk would be a drop in the bucket for lots of those babies. My baby was in the NICU at birth and I remember a conversation wih her neonatologist where she said that for some babies donor breast milk is one of he most important things they can prescribe. So it really is liquid gold!

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jun 2012
    Location
    Austin, TX
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    465

    Default Re: When do I use frozen milk?

    Hi there. Agree with everything the PP said. A few things to add, in no particular order:

    You might see your supply regulate a little and start bring home less (or no) excess beyond what LO eats. That was my experience at least. In the first few months back at work, like you, I was bringing home more pumped milk than LO was eating in daycare. Around 6 mos, my supply synced up almost perfectly to his demand.

    A 1 year lifespan on your frozen milk is a bit optimistic unless you are using a stand-alone deep freezer. I couldn't tell from the way you worded your post, but I *think* you were describing the freezer drawer attached to the bottom of a refrigerator? If your milk is being stored in that type of freezer drawer, the expiration date is going to be closer to 6 months. Here's a good reference:

    http://kellymom.com/bf/pumpingmoms/m...orage/#storage

    You're also going to run out of space in your fridge freezer. A few hundred ounces filled my freezer drawer to capacity and I had to move all the milk to our stand-alone freezer in the garage. So, this just gives you a few logistical things to consider. If you are on track to have THAT much frozen, and it's really important to you to get that 1 year lifespan on your frozen milk, you might want to think about buying a separate deep freezer. (Doesn't have to be expensive -- the chest-style types are very affordable.)

    Rotating through your stash is a good practice regardless. It will extend the lifespan of your stash. I did this by putting all of Friday's freshly pumped milk into the freezer, and baby's bottles on Monday were made from my oldest frozen milk.

    I also have to ask why you are pumping on the weekends? It sounds like your supply is more than adequate, and your frozen stash is going to be ample just with your weekday extras.

    Regardless of where your store your milk, my strong recommendation is to spend $15 and buy a freezer alarm to protect your milk against any potential loss (mechanical problems, door left ajar, etc). I lost a sizable frozen stash to freezer failure and it was devastating.

    Please don't rule out breastmilk donation. The screening process is exacting -- they are thorough because the milk often goes to vulnerable babies (like preemies). They don't accept anything that would be risky. If the idea of donation appeals to you at all, you might want to go ahead and do the donor approval process with your closest milk bank, as it can take a few weeks. It's not hard -- for me it was a written questionnaire and some blood work -- but if you're approved already, then if you find yourself with frozen milk that's on the edge of expiring and you don't want to waste it, you have a donation option already lined up. And if you couldn't be approved by a milk bank but wanted to do an informal milk donation (mother to mother), then you could be conservative and give away only more current (and/or future) milk that you know was pumped when you weren't taking any medications.

  4. #4
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    Default Re: When do I use frozen milk?

    Quote Originally Posted by @llli*elliemommy View Post
    When do I use this milk? I do not want it to go bad. If I stop pumping around a year this would allow me to send 10 oz of bm to day care a day for about 5 months but i thought at that point the amount of bm Ellie was drinking would start to decrease so it would last even longer. I also am assuming I will still be breastfeeding before and after work, at night and on the weekends.

    If the milk is only good for a year I do not know if I will use it all before it goes bad if that is all I am using it for. If I start pump weaning at a year and finish around 15 months (which is what I am estimating) The oldest milk will be over a year before I can use it.
    Oh and on this point -- the main times that *I* used my frozen milk were:

    -Date nights and other times when the grandparents were watching LO -- i.e. I always pumped enough for his daycare bottles but I didn't always want to pump an EXTRA time to make a bottle for an occasional night out with my hubs ... so the freezer stash came in handy for that.
    -Growth spurts: Very occasionally, when LO was a bottomless pit for milk, he would need a FEW more ounces than I was pumping during the day. I gave my daycare a handful of frozen 2 oz packets that they kept in their freezer and used as a "top off" for those times. You have to trust your daycare provider though to not overfeed, try other comfort measures first, etc.
    -Sickness: Whenever I was sick (which was a lot, LO brought home so many bugs from daycare) my supply would take a hit. Frozen milk would make up the couple ounces difference between pumped milk I brought home and what LO needed for daycare. (You don't NEED a freezer stash for this -- you can just add an extra pump session in those situations -- but I never had supply problems overall so I wasn't worried about it).
    -Travel: I never had to travel for work while LO was EBF, but for moms who do and can't bring baby with, you need a sizable frozen amount at the ready for your caregiver to feed LO while you are away. (This is restocked when you come back, with whatever you pumped while you were away). But I have traveled in the past to conferences etc, so I wanted to be prepared. Any similar situation where you might be separated from your baby for days at a time would require this. But if you know you won't ever find yourself in that circumstance though, the "need" for a large frozen stash is much less.
    -Solids: You can use your previously frozen milk for cooking once LO is into solids. You can mix it with foods, cook with it, etc. I also made LO smoothies out of it I also mixed some of the freshly pumped milk with fruit puree and froze in popsicle molds. He's enjoying those now as a summer treat You can do breastmilk only popsicles now if your LO isn't doing solids yet. Great for hot days.
    -Allows you to start pump weaning at work but continue to send LO to daycare with expressed breastmilk. This can also let you delay introducing cowmilk or other alternatives. As it happens, my LO started to REFUSE pumped breastmilk after 1 year (in bottles or cups) and developed a distinct preference for his milk straight from the tap! So there are no guarantees with this anyway.

    Hope that gives you some ideas.

  5. #5
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    May 2013
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    Default Re: When do I use frozen milk?

    Thank you so much for all of your advice. Just a few things in response.
    I pump on the weekends because I wake up very full and need to drain whichever side Ellie doesn't eat for comfort. When Ellie does not have a 3am feed I easily pump 4-5 oz from the side she does not nurse.
    I will look into donating. I believe one of my local hospitals has a bank so I will talk to them. If they say it is okay I will reconsider.
    I am hoping to ditch the pump a little early. I am anticipating 2 big trials in January and March but if my clients take plea deals ill be able to continue to a year.
    My freezer is a drawer freezer but it has an inner drawer where I keep the milk. That drawer is airtight so when the freezer opens there is no change in temp in the drawer. I have a chest freezer that I can switch too but it doesn't have an alarm on it and it is not hooked to our generator so I thought the freezer I was using was better?
    Using in smoothies and as milk pops is a great idea. I think I'll try the pops this week. Smoothies will have to wait for solids but I will def do that!
    I am going to start using the frozen milk and freezing the new milk to try to avoid any issues.
    If any of this changed any of your advice let me know please. Otherwise I thank you all for your help. I don't know what I would do without the ladies on here.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Aug 2012
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    Default Re: When do I use frozen milk?

    My understanding is that the main advantage of a chest freezer over a regular fridge-freezer is that chest freezers are not frost free, ie they don't have an auto defrost cycle to melt the ice crystals that build up. The auto defrost essentially warms up the contents of the freezer a little bit every few hours. The partial defrosting of the outside surface of food is a cause of freezer burn and will shorten the life of your breast milk. I would say that if you hope to store it longer than 3-6 months your chest freezer is still your best bet. Is there a way to hook it up to your generator?

  7. #7
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    Default Re: When do I use frozen milk?

    Thanks for that info. That makes sense. It is in the garage so an alarm won't really do anything but I can probably get it hooked to the generator. We don't usually have an issue but if we have anther sandy like storm ill just have to make sure.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Oct 2009
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    Default Re: When do I use frozen milk?

    I would also want to just say donor milk is such a beautiful gift. I just had premature twins who were in NICU 13 days. By day 3 they wanted them to have milk since their bilirubin levels were rising and babies need to poop to get it out. I began expressing milk within an hour after birth but still my milk didn't come in until day 4 (which is totally normal but they wanted them to have it day 3). We bought donor milk and it helped us have enough that my babies never had to have formula and especially premature babies need good, human milk. I am grateful to the women who donated their milk to the milk bank. It's still very expensive (5 dollars/oz) but babies need it. I wish I had extra milk so I could donate. Maybe I still will but I'm still working on getting my supply up for two growing boys!
    Nursed my sweet daughter 3 years, 3 mos.

  9. #9
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    Default Re: When do I use frozen milk?

    Krystine-Im so glad you were able to get milk for your twins! Do you mind me asking how you would have felt knowing that the donor milk had antibiotics in it? I generally dont take any drugs but i had 3 infections and surgery since my LO was born. If you had full disclosure would you be ok with it?
    mommy to Ellie - 2/28/13 8lb 3oz 19.5in

  10. #10
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    Default Re: When do I use frozen milk?

    I'd be fine with it. The only things I'd worry about are Hepatitis and HIV and those are two big things they screen for. Some of my milk was accidentally given to another baby during our NICU stay and the nurse manager had to inform me and the baby's parents and the parents requested I'd be screened for that (which I knew I didn't have) but I consented because I knew I"d want to know that for my baby. Of course she apologized for the nurse's mistake and I know people make mistakes so I wasn't horribly upset about it but those are the only things they asked about. After my c-section I was on narcotics and that was considered fine for my babies.
    If you pass donor criteria then I wouldn't worry about any thing they didn't ask about. I'd much rather give my baby milk that had antibiotics than formula. There are long-term risks to giving a premature baby formula and I didn't want to go through that which is why we were willing to pay 100 dollars for donor milk to help the first 2 weeks and now I am using some of my sister's milk while pumping 15-16x day to get my supply where it needs to be.
    Nursed my sweet daughter 3 years, 3 mos.

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