Freezer Stash

If you plan to be away from from your baby for work or for fun and plan to feed your baby breastmilk while you are not present, you will need a freezer stash.

Work Milk 

  • Plan to have about three daycare days worth of milk in your freezer. Label this “WORK MILK.” 
  • For most who work an eight hour work day, you can expect baby to each about 12-16 ounces in an 8 hour period at daycare, so a comfortable freezer stash is 36-48 ounces.
  • By four weeks old, babies hit a plateau of total daily intake of about 24-32 ounces of milk per 24 hours. They remain at that daily total until about six months, when solids are added and milk continues to primarily sustain their growth. Collect this milk by pumping after a direct nursing session, within about 15 minutes of finishing nursing. 

To estimate how much milk your baby should drink at daycare: 

  • How many times does your baby eat in a 24 hour period? 
  • How many hours does your baby reliably sleep at night  without eating? Some are eating throughout the night, some have a 5-8 hour stretch of sleeping without eating. Either is normal, but helpful to consider when estimating bottle sizes. 
  • Divide what we estimate to be baby’s total daily intake (24-32 ounces) by the total number of feedings per 24 hours to estimate the range of the volume baby eats in each session.

8 feeds/per hours

24oz /8 feeds = 3 oz per feeding

32 oz/8 feeds= 4 oz per feeding

Now, estimate how many daily feedings will be completed at home (nursing or bottle) and how many will be completed at daycare.

Total number of daily feedings – total number of feeding completed at home
= total number of feeding cycles completed while apart from baby. 

Using and rotating your freezer stash

  • In your work milk stash, keep the oldest milk in the front, the more recently pumped in the back.
  • The night before a work day, remove the estimated amount of milk your baby will drink.  Let it defrost in the refrigerator overnight. You’ll have 24 hours to use it once it’s completely defrosted. 
  • The volume of milk you remove should be equivalent to the volume of milk you replace at the end of the work week. Throughout the week, plan to feed the baby the fresh milk you pumped the day before.

For a traditional five day work week:

  • Let’s estimate the baby eats 12 oz of milk every day at daycare. 
  • On Sunday night, you will take 12 oz from your freezer stash to defrost for Monday.  Monday, whatever milk you pump you will send to daycare for your baby to drink on Tuesday. Tuesday’s milk is for Wednesday, Wednesday’s milk is for Thursday, Thursday’s milk is for Friday.  Whatever you pump on Friday should go back in the freezer. 
  • If you don’t have enough milk to replenish your freezer at the end of the week, you know your supply needs some loving attention over the weekend and your freezer stash needs extra ounces returned to it. Plan to add 1-2 extra pumps over the weekend after nursing to make up the deficit and get your freezer stash up to par.
  • Fresh milk is preferable to frozen milk, so it doesn’t make sense to freeze fresh milk and defrost frozen milk. Use whatever fresh milk you have first, frozen milk if you need to.

Fun Milk

  • If you have segmented your work stash of milk and find yourself with more frozen milk than you need for this work stash, you now have a second stash of milk I like to call FUN MILK.
  • Oftentimes, lactating parents can become so protective of the milk in their freezer, they deny themselves of the freedom and flexibility that comes with using the milk in fear they will impact their freezer supply for work. 
  • By designating any milk that isn’t WORK MILK as FUN MILK, it will remind you that this milk is here to be used!