Wednesday, April 2, 2014

Storage solutions for breastmilk

When I reviewed my blog's page views, the most visited entries were not the ones where I bled my heart out and shared my soul. Nope, no consolation for all that carnage. It was my posts about tips and reviews and everything practical that garnered the highest visits. So... In the guise of helping out fellow breastfeeding moms in their quest for wise storage solutions for their breastmilk, I am writing this post to increase my blog hits. (Kidding. Or not.) 

Here's a list of my own storage solutions that I thought could help out other breastfeeding mamas:

1. Invest in reusable storage cups and bottles.

When I had Zohan, my mother bought a lot of stuff for the baby, the Avent Via storage cups included. I used them for storage of breastmilk the whole time that Zohan was nursing. They were practical because they were sturdy, transparent, and definitely reusable. To put labels on the expressed milk, I just wrote through a micropore with pentel pen and then stick them to the cups. I could easily peel the label off when washing the cups.

Now that I have Khaleid, the Avent Via storage cups are making a comeback. I'm using these cups for storing milk that are intended to be consumed at home within 5 days from collection.


For a more organized appearance, you can stack them in twos and place them in small baskets that are available in different storage stores. I got these white baskets from Japan Home Centre for a very cheap price. 


In addition to my Avent cups, I also ordered these Autumnz storage bottles from Mamabella

Image from Mamabella's Facebook Page

I love that the bottles fit my Ameda Purely Yours breast pump, such that I can express milk directly to the storage bottles and put them right away in the refrigerator. 

I am anticipating that these Autumnz storage bottles will be a great help when I express milk in the office. (I only have almost two weeks left of my maternity leave.) Since the milk can be expressed directly to the storage bottle, I can do away with the collection bottle (which I used to tediously wash and pat dry after each session when I expressed milk for Zohan).

2. For the storage of milk expressed outside the house, use disposable plastic storage bags.

The reusable cups and bottles are practical, but they are quite bulky. So, everytime I go out or when we go home to the province, I just bring with me disposable storage bags. These plastic bags are a little pricey though, so if you're matipid like me, make sure to canvass for the cheapest brand. I've tried a lot - Ainon, Precious Moments, Spectra, and Orange and Peaches. They are all relatively cheaper compared  with other brands.

3. Position the plastic bags horizontally in the freezer, instead of vertically. 

I used to store milk in bags standing horizontally, since that was the only way it could accommodate 5-8 ounces of milk. But notice how bulky and disorganized they could get. It also used up a lot of space that the fridge no longer had room for our ulam.


I discovered that storing only 2-3 ounces per bag and filling it out vertically will make a more practical way of storing inside our fridge. 


Just stack them up!

4. Divide the collected milk into volumes of one feeding and store them into separate bags/bottles.

Once a person has gone through the hassle of expressing breastmilk at least once in their life, they are likely to realize that the adage "no crying over spilled milk" really makes no sense. Every single drop of milk is too valuable, you wouldn't want to waste it.

So, to ensure that there will be no spilling or throwing away of expired milk, I store milk in their containers per volume of a single feeding. As a result, it is easier to transfer milk to the feeding bottle (I can just empty the entire bag!). More importantly,  since it's good for one feeding, there are usually no left-overs that get stale.

However, there's a downside to this tip. If one feeding, let's say consisting of 2 ounces, is stored in one bag, it will be impractical and expensive since each bag will not be utilized to its full capacity of storing up to 12 ounces. Even if a reusable cup/bottle is used instead of a disposable plastic bag, it will take up so much space in the refrigerator.

So, mommies, just take this tip based on what you're not willing to discard - breastmilk, money, or space.

5. For expressing milk in the office, invest in a compact and practical storage bag.

I used to carry bags upon bags of pumping paraphernalia when I expressed milk for Zohan. I also carried a small cooler for the ice packs and collected breastmilk. You could imagine how bulky and heavy it was! (You can read about it here.)

Now, I am so glad to have found a small bag that can carry it all. It's so compact it looks like I'm just carrying my baon. Meet my Posh Autumnz Storage Bag (also available at Mamabella):



It's actually a bi-level bag. The top can be used to store breast pump, micropore, and pentel pen. The bottom portion can accommodate all ten Autumnz storage bottles, but if you want to make room for the ice packs, you can store at least six bottles. Both top and bottom are insulated so you don't have to worry that the milk will not be cold enough.





6. Collect milk for short-term and long-term storage.

I am lucky that my milk's supply is more than Khaleid's demand. Since there seems to be an abundance of milk, my first morning collection are intended for long term storage. I place them in plastic storage bags to be frozen and stored up to three months. For the rest of the day, the milk that will be collected are for short-term storage. They are placed in the disposable cups for immediate consumption (meaning within the next five days). 

This system gives me enough assurance that even if my supply dwindles, or when I cannot express milk religiously, Khaleid will still have the frozen milk to consume while I work on increasing my supply.

There you go. I hope I was able to share something practical to the mommies out there. If you have other tips that you swear by, do hit the comments button. After all, they said it takes a village to raise a child, so let's be part of each other's village.


9 comments:

  1. Wow, good job Khaye! Breastfeeding is one of the things I miss as a new mom. Inggit ako sa storage bag mo, I used to carry a bulky one also when Lia was still nursing. Haha, parang gusto ko tuloy bumili ulit! :)

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  2. Mars! Thanks! Sundan mo na si lia para may reason to buy the storage bag! :)

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  3. Yey we're using the same cooler bag and storage bottles! :-) I actually just blogged about both today. Try the "Mom & Baby" milk storage bags in SM. P200++ lang for 25 (or 30 not sure haha) bags. El cheapo! Love how organized your milk bags are! My freezer is a huge milk bag mess!!! :)

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    1. I've read your entry Aimee and hats off to you. I know how it feels to commute, work, and express milk - mad respect to the likes of you who's trying to pull it off =)

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  4. ang galing mo naman ms. khaye! ako din new mom and i'm still breastfeeding my baby A, more than a year na. I bought din electric pump pero nasasaktan ako kaya di na din ako nag store ng milk since SAHM naman ako. Galing mo naman ang dami mo na express na milk.
    I always visit your blog like other blogs kasi i learned a lot sa mga mommy bloggers lik you. Your blog is very helpful para sa tulad kong new mom.

    Thanks! =)

    http://happinessofjoy.blogspot.com/

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    1. Thank you for visiting joy! And congrats on your breastfeeding journey :) i'm sure your milk is just as plenty kasi regular ka nakakapag pa dede. At swerte mo di ka na kailangan gumastos sa mga storage bags! Hehe.

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  5. Sana nga huwag muna mag stop yung milk ko para mapadede ko pa si baby hanggat gusto nya pa. =)

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  6. Sis, we're on the same page! Gawain ko din yan nung buntis pa ako. Anong formula milk nga pala ang naka-stock diyan sa mga storage cups?

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I would love to hear your thoughts!

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