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Freezing breast milk, can it be done????

(36 Posts)
GoodGollyMissMolly Fri 06-Jul-07 13:29:29

I know it is a little early for me to be thinking about this as I am 21 weeks pregnant with my first child. I will be breast feeding (Hopefully, if all goes well, )

But I have just spoken to my mum who has told me that she has booked for me and her to go away on a spa weekend in January 08 , baby will be approx 8-10 weeks old.
DH will be looking after the baby while I am away.

I will be away from a friday to a sunday, so the question I am asking is there any way I can 'stockpile' breastmilk and freeze it so that DH can still feed DC breastmilk while I am away.

Please feel free to tell me to stop being so stupid and didn't I know it cant be done!!!!!!!!!!

Tootiepegs Fri 06-Jul-07 13:32:59


Yes you can freeze breastmilk. Boots sell a box of freezer bags marked with a measuring scale on them so you know how much is in there. I think you can freeze milk for quite a while - it should tell you on the box - and just defrost it as it is needed

NineUnlikelyTales Fri 06-Jul-07 13:35:11

If I were you I would ask your mum to cancel that holiday and wait until you have had your baby to re-book. I would not have left my 8-10 week old baby even for a day (in fact I still haven't and he's 10m!) and I would be surprised if you wanted to. Nothing wrong with it if you did, but I would wait until nearer the time before you make that decision. Plus you may think a spa sounds great now, but you might not want to bare your body when everything wobbles and you have huuuuge boobs

You can freeze breastmilk, but at that age you would still need to express to avoid becoming painfully engorged. You might also find that expressing is not easy and it could take quite a while for you to make enough for one feed, let alone a whole weekend worth.

Congratulations on your pregnancy and on having a nice mum - I'm sure she'll be a great support but you might have to pint her in the right direction

GoodGollyMissMolly Fri 06-Jul-07 13:42:31

TootiePegs, thanks for that I will have to pop in to my local boots and have a look for them.

NineUnlikelyTales, do you really think it may be a bit early? I hope that I would feel comfy leaving baby with DH or leavinf baby full stop Will have to see nearer the time. If I cant go my mum can always take her BF.
But I'm a use to being a bit wobbly as I have always been a bit on the bigger side Also have always been v big in the boob department anyway.
Your right I do have a really nice mum, I love her to bits


tiktok Fri 06-Jul-07 14:02:49

Molly, I agree with Nine. It's actually very possible you will not feel comfortable leaving your baby for a whole weekend....and it's too soon now to guess whether you will or not.

The practicalities are just about possible - but you will need to spend many, many hours expressing to get enough to stockpile for a weekend. You will have enough to do without doing that - seriously, you will need something like 3 litres to be sure you have enough, and even if you are a brilliant expresser (many women are not), you will not get more than maybe 60-90 mls per session. Do the maths...45 expressing sessions, all of which will increase your milk supply and may risk you becoming engorged and uncomfortable....when you are away you will need to express at least 8 times every day to prevent you feeling uncomfortable and to maintain your supply.

I'm gonna be directive here and say nothing about this sounds relaxing or enjoyable.

Plan a weekend later, when things are easier all round.

brightpurplecow Fri 06-Jul-07 14:03:38

I left my baby with her dad at 8 weeks for a day and had to express 3 times while I was away to avoid the pain of engorgement!

It all went well though - you'll probably have to start expressing fairly early on though to make sure you can get enough and it is a bit more difficult when they are tiny as they are bit unpredictable with feed times.

You may express some milk and then find your baby is hungry straight away in which case you may have to give them the milk you have just expressed!!

Good luck with everything

tiktok Fri 06-Jul-07 14:05:44

Brightpurplecow - if the baby wants feeding immediately after expressing, then the baby can go to the breast. The pump will not drain the breast.

Having said that, I think you are still underestimating Molly's difficulties !

CantSleepWontSleep Fri 06-Jul-07 14:07:57

Agree with the others I'm afraid. Not a chance I could/would have left dd at this stage. I could never get much from expressing, and since dd wanted to feed constantly for the first umpteen weeks anyway, there wouldn't have actually been enough opportunity to express.

I know that leaving the baby sounds great in theory at this point in your pregnancy, but things are very different once babies actually arrive.

Give yourself a break by avoiding the stress of needing to express!

bookthief Fri 06-Jul-07 14:10:05

I agree that it would be worth getting your mum to put off the weekend or make it a day thing. There's no way I'd have left ds overnight at that age. I wouldn't have enjoyed it but like you I don't think I could have known how I'd feel before I had the baby.

Seriously, you'd likely spend the whole time thinking about your gorgeous newborn. Why not plan to do something relaxing with your mum but leave the details until nearer the time?

tiktok Fri 06-Jul-07 14:10:58

Just thought of something else - all that sterilising of the pump...and labelling of milk....and putting it in date order in the fridge....bloody hell, life is too short.

Not trying to put you off or anything, Molly

Queenee Fri 06-Jul-07 14:13:55

Not to scare you or freak you out or anything but I found planning anything pre-bab for after-bab was a waste of time! I did bf for one year but it took a good 10 weeks before I could do it without being stripped to the waist with 3 pillows and crying So going away or even expressing was lower on priority list. The others are right, a whole weekends feeds will mean LOADS of pumping whilst still having to feed and likely you will increase your supply with all the extra pumping so sore boobs likely! Don't mean to be neg, just stuff worth knowing. BTW in answer, you can store bm in freezer for up to 2 months. Avent do bags and little plastic clips with stickers on so you can write the pumping date.

GoodGollyMissMolly Fri 06-Jul-07 14:24:13

Thank you all so much for all of your advice.
TBH I am a little worried (Knowing myself and what I am like) about leaving the baby at such an early stage. Also I am worried about the ammount of breastmilk I will have to stockplie in order to be able to go on the weekend.

I really want to breastfeed (not for me ) for the benefit of my baby.

I was planning on taking my breastpump with me and my travel steriliser, I can just imagine my small holdall becomming a very large suitecase, LOL

TBH now I cant even think about what I'm gonna need to pack and do. I'm going to see my mum tonight so I might see if she would mind maybe putting it off for a bit or even maybe go for one night instead of two. My mum is really good with things like that so she probably wont be too upset, hopefuly.
Although she has already put the deposit down on it so I might suggest that she goes an takes her BF.

OOOHHH I dont know what to do, you all make such valid points and I just cant get my head into the right thinking point with this.
I dont know how I'm gonna feel about leaving baby. But I dont want to feel like I can never leave baby and I also think that it will be a great oppourtunity for my DH to bond and have some alone time with baby.

Ooh went on a bit there didn't I, Sorry for how long it is!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

popeye123 Fri 06-Jul-07 14:36:51

hi molly -
honestly? get Mum to postpone to when YOU say you are really after the birth. generally you need to establish bf before you should express - about 6 weeks, even then it takes a while to start pumping decent volumes of milk. i honestly don't think you will be caplable of pumping enough that soon to leave baby for that long.
its hard to imagine how you will feel after the birth but personally, i found dealing with other peoples expectations of when I should/could leave dd really hard. some people can make you feel like you are being an anxious/clingy new mum if you aren't ready to leave your baby when all you are doing is acting on instinct. i even found this with other mums particularly bottlefed ones who could, and therefore, did leave babies earlier. even mums with older children forget how they felt when their babies were tiny.
its a lovely idea, but you want to be able to sit back and enjoy your newborn rather than having to deal with the logistics of leaving it.

popeye123 Fri 06-Jul-07 14:40:17

molly - sorry , cross threads there.
You will be able to leave your baby, its just better if its you that decides when.
Your DH will bond - there's plenty he can do other than feeding. Allow him time to bond when you are there and have a rest.

GoodGollyMissMolly Fri 06-Jul-07 14:45:37

Hi Popeye123,
I must admit I know what I am like and I am a clingy person by nature, I know that I will be distraught at leaving my baby at any point. I Think that is why I am so up for going away then, as I think to myself the longer I leave it the harder it will be. I know my mum will understand so thats not gonne be a problem.

TBH I'm probably not gonna go as although I want to, it's just gonna be so damned hard that early, I will have to express and freeze as soon as the baby is born !!!! I dont want that pressure added on to all the other pressure that new mums are under.

But hey never mind at least I'll have just a bit more time with my new baby

foxybrown Fri 06-Jul-07 14:56:51

FWIW, I think you've made the right decision. It took me a good 8 weeks to get my milk supply established for easy expressing, never mind anything else.

But how lovely is your mum, and your DH for being happy to get on with it for a whole weekend with a new baby

GoodGollyMissMolly Fri 06-Jul-07 15:03:32

Hiya FoxyBrown,
The more I think about it the more I think that I have made the right choice.

Yes, you are right I ma very lucky to have a supporting DH, who is only happy to get on with looking after the baby and happy for me to take time out for myself.
(But dont tell him I said that )

My mum is really supportive of me aswell and always helping out. When I was in my first trimester and DH was working weekends my mum came to my house to do the cleaning cos I was just to tired after a week at work

foxybrown Fri 06-Jul-07 15:07:39

Awww, can I borrow your mum please?

GoodGollyMissMolly Fri 06-Jul-07 15:09:59

Nope, she's all mine, ha ha

foxybrown Fri 06-Jul-07 15:12:03

oh go on! I'm a week overdue with number 4! my mum is ok, but wouldn't do my cleaning

GoodGollyMissMolly Fri 06-Jul-07 15:25:04

TBH Foxy I hated having to ask her, but the house was in dire need of it, DH did general tidying, but he doesn't clean how I like it done, bless him
But my mum was lovely about it said she remembered how hard it was being so tired from being preggers and from working all week.

God a week overdue, I bet you possitively willing baby here by now. 4 DC's I bet your supermum keeping on top of it all.
Do you know what you having or is it gonna be a suprise??

mawbroon Fri 06-Jul-07 16:00:43

GoodGollyMissMolly - my ds is 20 months and I still don't leave him for more than an hour or two with anyone else. I echo what most others have said about you having no idea how you are going to feel about leaving the baby for so long at that early stage and if it were me, I would ask my mum to cancel. This might sound harsh, but if she booked it without asking you then her losing the deposit isn't your problem. Did your mum breastfeed btw? I am guessing not (apologies if I am incorrect) or she probably wouldn't have organised this with such a young baby in mind. Perhaps now is the time to start drip feeding her with breastfeeding information to prepare her to be able to support you in a useful manner once your baby is born.

Chirpygirl Fri 06-Jul-07 16:04:12

I had to leave my DD for 8 hours when she was 5 weeks old and wholly BF. I had been expressing since 3 weeks, which is not recommended, but had stockpiled about 20 oz in the freezer for DH.
I had to do it again 2 weeks later and again had a load stockpiled.
I would definately get the freezer bags boots or lansinoh do some and also a tupperware box to put them in in teh freezer as they can split if you arent careful! I did end up with about 20 bags each with about 1 or 2 oz in but the bonus was they defrosted quickly!

Chirpygirl Fri 06-Jul-07 16:06:57

Sorry, didnt read it all and didnt realise you had made a decision! I just wanted to say it can be done for a day, but I wouldn't say overnight as well, I had to express twice in that 8 hours as well as I couldn't even move I was so engorged!
(and I rang home every hour!)

foxybrown Fri 06-Jul-07 16:11:34

GGMM, yes I've 2 x DS and a DD, and having another DD . Don't know about keeping on top of it all ...

The Avent bags for freezing aren't great - I found they leak. Boots ones are meant to be OK.

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