As I’ve shared before, I am currently an exclusive pumper — for the third time. I have been blessed to have had an oversupply of breastmilk all three times, so over the years I’ve found ways to “manage the milk” for feeding and freezing. If you’re able to freeze any breastmilk at all, you may benefit from the tips below.
On a recent Takeover Tuesday on the New Orleans Mom Instagram account, I shared my process for freezing my breastmilk. I received a lot of questions so I thought it might be helpful to elaborate here.
I use the pitcher method for pumping milk and making bottles. If you’re interested in learning more about that, this is a great resource.
Here’s how I use the pitcher method: I pump and, if I’m with my baby, I make a bottle for his next feeding and then put the remaining milk in the fridge. If I’m at work or otherwise away from my baby, I simply save the milk in my cooler bag until I’m by my fridge. Once the milk is cold (usually a few hours later when I go to add my next pump session’s milk), I add it to this pitcher (which is actually for mixing formula) and repeat that process throughout the day. This way, cold milk is added to cold milk. In the evening after my last pump of the day, I give the milk in the pitcher a good mix and fill the bottles we will send to daycare the next day. Any milk that is leftover afterwards gets packaged in 6-ounce breastmilk storage bags and frozen.
When I first started freezing milk, I just laid the bags flat in the freezer and then stuck the frozen bags into a gallon-sized freezer bag. That worked fine, but each gallon bag ultimately had different amounts of milk depending on how the smaller bags had frozen. When my first baby was about 3 months old, I came across these little things on Amazon called Freeze Flats. I ordered two of them and immediately LOVED them so much, I ordered several more. I’ve since found a similar product called the Freeze It Flat made by mom-owned company!
I’ve heard that freezing the milk between two cookie sheets produces the same result, but I don’t have the freezer space for that. Freezing the milk in the Freeze Flats allows me to stick the milk wherever I have some free space (vertically or horizontally as you can see in the photo) and still freezes it as flat and as thin as possible. Because they are so uniform in shape and size, I am able to fit 12 of those thin bags of frozen milk in a gallon-sized freezer bag! I make “bricks” of milk to store in my chest freezer. I number the gallon bags and since I know each bag contains 72 ounces of milk, I can easily do the math to see how many gallons of milk I have stored. We bought a chest freezer after our first exclusive pumping journey and it’s currently dedicated to only breastmilk.
Also, since I have pumped since Day 1, we were able to store that “liquid gold” colostrum as my milk transitioned to regular milk. We keep those 2 bags within easy reach in the event the baby gets sick and could use a little boost.