Building a Frozen Milk Supply

By admin. Last updated February 5, 2013.


Who Needs to Build a Frozen Stash?

Frozen Milk Stash

One mom’s large stash before she returned to work!

Having a stash of frozen breast milk is not something every breastfeeding mom will need to worry about.  However, some reasons for doing so might include:

  • returning to work
  • traveling away from your baby
  • undergoing certain medical procedures or hospitalization
  • taking certain medications
  • wanting the peace of mind of having extra milk “just in case.”

When Should I pump extra milk?

Babies typically only consume 70% of the milk in a breast at a feeding. 1  Therefore, there are several strategies you could use to pump extra milk for a frozen supply:

  • express immediately after nursing your baby to harvest the remaining milk
  • wait 30 minutes and pump the new milk that has developed in your emptied breasts (Remember an empty breast makes more milk so waiting 30 minutes is optimum if your baby typically drains your breasts each feed)
  • pump in the morning since you tend to have more milk earlier in the day

This last option has the added benefit that your baby is usually less fussy and nursing less often than later in the day.  Therefore there is not only more milk but your baby may wait longer between feeds, giving you the opportunity to express milk.

How Much Milk Should I Freeze?

How much milk you store depends on your reasons for wanting a frozen milk stash.  However, an average baby consumes 25-32 ounces of milk in a 24 hour period between months 1-6.  Once solids are started sometime around the middle of the first year, breast milk in take will begin to decline.  For additional information see the article on how to decide how much milk you will need for your baby.

Please see the milk storage guidelines for time frames of how long the milk can be stored in the freezer.

Show 1 footnote

  1. Kent, J. (2007) How breastfeeding works. Journal of Midwifery & Women’s Health Nov-Dec; 52(6):564-70.