Texas Health and Human Services

Breastfeeding Support 24/7: 855-550-6667

Breastfeeding Support 24/7: 855-550-6667

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By Texas WIC

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How much milk do I need in my freezer?

Many moms worry that they need a freezer full of milk before returning to work — but not all mothers need a big supply. If you are able to pump at work for every missed breastfeed, you don’t need much frozen milk at all. The milk that you pump on Monday would be fed to your baby on Tuesday. The milk that you pump on Tuesday would be fed to your baby Wednesday, and so on.

However, it’s nice to have a backup supply for those times when:

  • You miss a pumping session.
  • Your baby is having a growth spurt.
  • Someone accidentally spills a bottle of milk.
  • Needed to cover situations outside your normal routine.

Many moms have a temporary drop in their milk supply when they return to work, so having a backup supply in the freezer can help you feel less stressed about running out.

Create a pumping schedule that’s right for you and your baby

Every mom will need a different amount of milk based on her specific circumstances. Some moms have challenging work situations and are not able to pump enough to meet their baby’s needs, while other moms are unable to pump at work at all.

Call the Texas Lactation Support Hotline at 855-550-6667 to speak with a lactation consultant who can help you create a plan that’s right for you and your baby. If you’re a WIC client, contact your local WIC office to speak to a breastfeeding peer counselor who can help.

Pump and Store FAQ

How do I pump enough for storing?

It may feel overwhelming to think about how to store milk while also feeding your baby. We’ve got a great strategy.

  • Nurse your baby in the morning and then pump both breasts afterwards for about 15 minutes.
  • At a feeding later in the day, have someone else offer your baby an ounce or two of pumped milk while you pump again for about 15 minutes.
  • When you are done pumping, offer your baby your breast.
  • Add any extra pumped milk to your freezer supply.

Your breasts will get used to this routine within a few days, and there will be plenty of milk for both the baby and your freezer supply.

How can I boost my pumping output?

Because milk is made on a supply and demand basis, the best way to make more milk is to take more milk out. Any breastfeeding or pumping you add to your day will help boost your supply.

What is “power pumping?”

Power pumping is a technique that imitates a baby who is cluster feeding.

To power pump:

  1. Pump both breasts for 20 minutes.
  2. Take a break for 10 minutes.
  3. Pump again for 10 minutes.
  4. Break for 10 minutes.
  5. End your session by pumping again for 10 minutes.

This is a total of one hour of on-and-off pumping and can help boost your supply.

Do lactation cookies help?

While some foods are commonly believed to increase your milk supply, evidence shows that they may only have a very small impact. The most proven way to increase your supply is by breastfeeding or pumping more often.

What about herbal supplements?

There are several supplements that may have a small impact on your milk supply. However, depending on your medical history, some of these herbs may reduce your supply instead of boosting it. Talk to your doctor and a lactation consultant before taking any herbal supplements.

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