Weekend + Adventures in Breastmilk Pumping + Storage

Hey guys! Happy Monday! Matt and I had a fun weekend – it was our first weekend where we got out and about (both on our own together, as well as by ourselves) post-baby! I’m starting to feel a lot more like “myself” emotionally now, which is nice, and we are still tired obviously but feeling like we have a little bit more of a routine/handle on things (at least until everything changes in 5 minutes, right?! Ha). I also started experimenting some with pumping so we have some stored breastmilk on hand… more on that in a minute!

First, let’s rewind to Friday! We continue to be really spoiled with friends coming by to say hello, meet Riese, and gift us some food. On Friday, my friend Karen came over with lunch! It’s our tradition to always eat at Le Pain Quotidien together, so she brought my favorite salad (the lentil and avocado with a side of quinoa tabouleh). So sweet!


Matt had to head out to do some work-related errands so Karen and I caught up and ate while he was gone. Riese was pretty fussy so lunch was broken with various feeding and rocking breaks – when Matt got back over 2 hours later we were still finishing our salads, lol. Oh well! Karen – thank you again, and so good to see you! <3

The rest of Friday was spent chilling at home! We ate some leftovers for dinner before calling it a night (aka going down for our first “nap” of the evening…)

On Saturday, I had not one but two big outings planned! First up was a brunch hosted by one of my running buddies – so sweet of her to have our running gang over! Matt offered to stay home with Riese so I could go and enjoy, so I headed over solo! It’s weird how totally normal and also not normal it feels to be out and about solo.

solo outing post baby

Mimosas? YES PLEASE!

mimosas postpartum

Brunch was so delicious – especially the sausage and egg casserole. Yum! Thanks again for the yummy feast, Diane and Drew!

brunch feast

I was gone about 2 hours – perfectly timed in that I made it back before Riese got hungry again, whew! I made sure to feed her RIGHT before I left too so she was nice and milk drunk for Matt while I was away. ;) Exclusive breastfeeding is a wonderful gift and such a sweet bonding experience, and I’m so happy that I’ve been able to do it so far, but it’s also hard obviously because I’m her only food source and therefore have to make sure I’m not gone from her for too long! Hence wanting to have some backup milk on hand so other people can feed her if necessary… again, more on that in a minute!

Saturday night was our first big outing as a couple – my parents babysat while we headed to our friends Heather and Mike’s housewarming/holiday party! Hello again, beer – it had been a very long time! This was a good one. I also enjoyed some cheese and crackers, and some pulled pork BBQ! And when I got home I had part 2 of dinner – some soup and veggies.

beer postpartum

It was fun to be out and socializing together – a huge thank you to my parents for babysitting for us! We are SO lucky to have them nearby. Also, my mom is amazing and since Riese was pretty chill while we were gone she also folded our laundry for us. Mom, you are awesome.

Yesterday, I was determined to finally try to do some sort of pumping to get a little bit of milk on hand for later – I want to start storing some in the freezer for when I have longer stretches away for work or social purposes. Thank you for all your pumping/storage tips on Friday’s blog post – SO helpful! A ton of you mentioned the Haakaa, which is a hands-free suction bottle that you basically stick on one breast at the start of a feed while your baby feeds on the other side. It catches letdown, and it’s only one piece so it’s way easier to clean than a pump. Sounded good to me! I literally opened the box for my breast pump and was so overwhelmed with all the pieces I closed it again – I’ll try that another day. ;) Haakaa it was – seemed like a good place to start!

I actually first tried the Haakaa last week, but I tried it AFTER an afternoon feed and only got a few drops – so after you guys said the key was to put it on at the start of a feed when let down is happening anyway, and also that morning is the best time for pumping, I gave it a shot yesterday morning. And what do you know – in 5 minutes I had 2 ounces! Sweet!

haakaa pump review

And there was still enough milk left to switch Riese to that breast later for her to finish off the feed. I used the Haakaa again yesterday for her late morning feed and then this morning for the first feed of the day, and now I have 6 ounces of milk on hand. Exciting!

easy way to save milk when breastfeeding

I decided to go ahead and freeze this batch rather than use it now – I bought some breast milk storage bags that are pre-sterilized and good enough for the freezer, so I put one 2 ounce stash and one 4 ounce stash in the freezer. Some of you said it was helpful to have different quantities stored (vs. having all the bags have the same amount), so I’ll play around with that some – any other thoughts there? Does it make sense to store in larger quantities? Or a mix? Or…?


Our next step is going to be introducing a bottle to Riese – I’ve heard it’s best to just give her a tiny bit from the bottle at first (like half an ounce?), then finish her off on the breast – do you guys agree? Any tips for how to introduce the bottle for the first time would be helpful! We want to get her comfortable with it this week so next time we go out on our own (later this week!) she’s able to take a bottle for a feeding from my parents if necessary.

Anyway! Yesterday’s fun was my friend Stephanie came over with some stuffed peppers for us for dinner (seriously, we have been insanely spoiled). Matt was off at his first big solo social outing – watching football with the guys – so Steph kept me and Riese company for a bit. Great to see you, Steph, and thank you for the delicious peppers! I had two for dinner last night… mmmmm. I forgot to get a photo, so here’s a funny one of Riese looking VERY intensely at her source of food instead. ;)

baby ready to eat

Time to wrap this up and get ready for our big outing of the day – a family walk! It’s warmer today and sunny and I’m excited to get out there. We have been doing one longer walk every day and it’s so fun and feels good to move a bit – I’m so stiff from all the sitting and awkward feeding positions.

family walk


  1. 1

    I’m so impressed with how much you guys are trying to still take time for yourselves while also balancing new baby responsibilities. Yay!

  2. 3

    There’s lots of info on Kelly mom about pumping and storing. but for now, I would free in about 2 oz bags (3 at a max.) Once you defrost the milk is good for 24 hours, so you really don’t want big bags that you can’t keep around. You can combine pumping sessions if the milk is the same temperature.
    And finally, have “not mom” offer the bottle at first. Babies typically prefer mom’s breast over the bottle.
    good luck!

  3. 5

    That’s so great that the Haakaa is working out!! Love that thing! I would suggest introducing a half oz. or so from the bottle after she’s already eaten from the breast. Making sure she’s hungriest when she’s at the breast is key for another few weeks while your supply regulates. I’d also suggest being out of the room or even out of the house and having Matt or someone else give her the bottle. She may literally smell you nearby and refuse the bottle. And, most importantly, don’t stress if she fights the bottle! My daughter went through waves of fighting it and taking it. It was really hard not to get stressed about it, but like everything else, it’s about finding the balance between your need for sanity and her needs. If she fights it, don’t get discouraged – just try again in a few days. Good luck!!

    • 6

      Great tips – thank you!

    • 7
      Briana Lucas says

      I was going to say something similar. Nurse first for a few minutes, then try a bottle. If she’s hungry beforehand, she will get more frustrated that it’s not a typical “sensation” while eating and may not take to the bottle first. Do it when she’s calm and has had a little bit to start. I always froze milk in 2-3 oz. bags and took out/defrosted as needed. Also – with breastfed newborns, it’s best to go with the slowest flow nipple as possible. So I think some brands make preemie sizes. That mimics the flow of breast-milk. If she has a bottle and it comes out easier, it MAY be hard to go back and forth, as babies typically want whatever gets them fuller faster, lol. Also – Check out Paced bottle feeding on Kelly Mom. She’s pretty young still, but usually the rule of thumb is 1 oz of milk needed for each hour you are away from baby… Just some tips I’ve learned along the way after nursing 3 babies!

  4. 9
    Nicole Watson says

    It’s great to see you already starting pumping. I would say start the bottle as soon as possible even if it seems overwhelming. The quicker your baby can get used to it the better. I tried at 3 weeks with my son and then didn’t again until 3 months and it was a major problem. He eventually figured it out when I went back to work. Also I used to feed him in the morning and then pump. You would be surprised how much you have left on those morning feedings. Freeze as much as possible because in the end when you are pumping more on days you work your supply will get less although it seems like your supply is doing pretty well. Good luck and also don’t ever read google:) It never helps except to worry you.

  5. 11

    Before you freeze a lot of milk, I’d make sure your milk doesn’t have high lipase making it taste soapy and gross to the baby once it has been thawed. I’d hate for you to have to throw out all the milk you stored.

    Also, milk produces faster when the breast is emptier. So when you say you have milk “left” in a breast after feeding, it’s really that your body produces more in response to Riese sucking.

    • 12

      Interesting – that’s a good tip! I’ll have to thaw some in a week and see if it’s soapy! Makes sense about the empty breast, too – I didn’t know that!

  6. 13

    Breastfeeding and pumping and learning how to be someone’s food source is so hard! You are doing great! I haven’t tried the Haakaa but I loved having a manual breast pump in addition to my big electric one. I used the Medela Harmony Manual Pump and found that wonderful to have around to pump a little after a feeding or if I needed relief, or if I was going out with friends and needed to pump a little to relieve pressure without the hassle of lugging the big pump everywhere. Also, I’m sure you’ve already found it, but is a wonderful pumping/feeding resource. I was on there daily when my daughter was still breastfeeding. Good luck!

  7. 14

    One thing that we did when my son was tiny and still taking foreeeeever to nurse was switch one feeding to bottle with Dad. During that time, I would pump, so I always had a fresh bottle in the fridge just in case. Does that make sense? So I would pump for 20 min while Dad fed the bottle I pumped the night before to Emerson. At the beginning, I pumped for several minutes after the milk stopped flowing to encourage another letdown and eventually my supply caught up/got used to the pump and I could pump more than what Emerson needed so I had some extra (if numbers help, I was eventually able to pump 8-9 ounces each night and we were only feeding him 4-5, if memory serves.) We did this around 10/11–before what was hopefully the longest stretch of the night. It helped them bond and sped up the process since nursing could take so long and at that point I was ready to sleep. Eventually (around 4-5 months maybe), nursing became much faster so we switched back :)

  8. 15

    What an incredible weekend! I love how much you are both able to go and enjoy while being new parents. All of your food looks so so good. Take care, Anne and have a great day!

  9. 16

    When I started pumping, I would pump about 30 minutes to an hour after her first feeding. I felt like I produced the most in the morning. I also think sooner is better to introduce the bottle. I was so worried about it, but my husband gave her the first bottle and it was totally fine. My kid’s only issue was that the milk had to be the EXACT perfect temperature or else she wouldn’t drink it. We ended up buying a bottle warmer which was so helpful.

    I also noticed you said that you feel stiff from the different nursing positions. My advice for that is to try and sit naturally. I had such a stiff neck from looking down all the time that my right arm started to spontaneously go numb. I also developed mother’s thumb in my left hand. It took A LOT of massages to work out all the kinks! Sounds like you’re doing great!

  10. 17

    Surprised you liked the Haaka! I tried it when A was about 6 weeks old and it just didn’t work for us. Once the babies start squirming around a little more — BAM — they’ll knock it right off your boob with their flailing limbs. Enjoy it while it lasts! I ended up just holding an empty bottle under my boob with one hand, holding the baby on the other side with the other hand (you will have very strong arms doing this).

  11. 18

    Additional tip: Don’t buy a bottle warmer. I’d buy a hardcore thermos instead. We bought a warmer and ended up returning it for a thermos.

  12. 19

    YAY! That was such a fun brunch – so great to get the running gang together! :-)

  13. 20

    Glad you guys have so much good support from family and friends locally that you can get out and about once in a while :) Riese continues to be adorable in every photo! (A little intense in that last one, lol! Eyes on the prize!!)

  14. 21

    Love the Haaka.

    The most important thing to remember about pumping/bottle feeding to pace feed and to always pump when she gets a bottle so you protect your milk supply (which is why a lot of mamas find it easier to just nurse when baby is nearby vs having someone else bottlefeed baby because they would end up pumping anyway).

    • 22

      I agree! Pace feed with a slow flow nipple to avoid nipple confusion (YouTube pace feeding). Also make sure someone other than you gives the bottle. Baby may refuse bottle if you’re around.

  15. 23

    I’m so glad you are sharing all of this helpful information – I’m just saving and piling these posts away for a few months from now when I need them :) Glad you are starting to feel like yourself emotionally – I’ve heard it can take some time with so much change going on!

  16. 24

    Love the haaka, but be careful that the baby doesn’t kick it!

    Have you read about paced bottle feeding? Basically how to feed the bottle to make sure that the baby doesn’t get milk too fast and prefer the bottle to breast.

  17. 25

    I don’t want to throw a wrench in anything, but I had an oversupply problem in the beginning with my daughter and would use a milk catcher for the other boob and would get a couple ounces very easily as well. However, this is all the “low calorie” foremilk, as opposed to the fatty hindmilk. I noticed a difference in my daughter’s “output” lol (it was a different color) when she drank this milk, and my ped said it was because she was getting too much of the foremilk. Just wanted to caution you on that. Also, I work fulltime and miss two of my daughter’s feedings. She drinks 9 ounces at daycare right now, and I just give them any combination of bags that equal 9 ounces, so it could be 3 3-oz bags, one 4-oz bag and one 5-oz bag, etc. Basically, if you’re going to be away from her for more than one feeding at any point, it’s fine to freeze in larger quantities than 2-oz without having to worry about waste.

  18. 29

    Great update! Love following your various developments.

  19. 30

    I didn’t read all the comments, so apologies if info is duplicated.
    – for sure try out the bottle sooner vs. later. My husband took over this step for both our kids (at 3ish weeks) and it was so fun to watch and let him experience this piece of life. Just an ounce or two for practice.
    – Experiment with different bottles and nipple sizes. Both my kids loved the Dr. Brown’s. But there are SO MANY options out there. Beg, borrow and steal from friends until you land on the right one. Nipple size is also very important – too big and she chokes, too small and she gets frustrated it isn’t fast enough. Just pay attention and go with it.
    – Keep breastmilk storage guidelines on your fridge for all to see. It can stay at room temp for a good deal of time, in the fridge for so long and in the freezer (or chest freezer) for so long. Pay close attention to room temp and fridge. Losing milk because it spoils sucks.
    – bottle warmer! Life saver. An inexpensive one from Target or Wal-mart will improve your quality of life ;)
    – I used the Nuk breastmilk storage bags. They were best reviewed 4 years ago and did just what I needed. Lay flat to freeze, which will save you room.
    – That Hukkaa thing is genius. I used nursing cups to catch my letdown at feeds (what a hassle!), but I was able to save about 90 oz over the first 8 weeks. Talk about a stash, with little work!
    – Freeze in denominations – much like you’d have cash for a garage sale. I’d say 2-3 oz as you get going. The older she gets and the more routinely she takes bottles, the more you can put in each bag. We did daycare with both kids and knew how much they ate in a day via bottle, so we could store more.
    – If you pump multiple times a day, store your pump parts in the fridge between sessions and wash once at the end of the day. We used fragrance free dish soap vs. the Medela specific cleaning soap and were quite pleased.
    – the grass drying racks are great to get the bottles dry. Get a good bottle brush!
    – Medela sells all sorts of accessories. My VIP for kid #2 was the car adaptor. Grocery shopping? Pump in the parking lot. Road trip? Pump in the car, pass a bottle back and drive on.
    – Has your doctor mentioned vitamin D drops? Our pedi had us give them since breastmilk isn’t fortified like formula is. Every pedi is different though.

    I breastfed both my kids till about 13 months each and worked full or part-time that whole time. I figured out what worked for me, asked lots of questions and got it done. You’ll do the same. My #1 tip: get baby girl on a bottle. It will improve both your quality of life and mental state. And the sooner the better. It also allows others to participate in the feeding experience. A sweet bonding time for them as well. And the bottle will not replace you, I promise.

  20. 32

    As someone else said, def recommend checking out the lipase levels because baby won’t drink the frozen milk. Also someone mentioned that leaking milk is largely foremilk. You can see when it’s frozen, it’ll look light in color like skim milk. Fattier hind milk is much much more opaque. It will separate when frozen, so you will be able to tell the make up. Since it’s likely to mostly be foremilk, you can give it at a time when baby is maybe just thirsty or wanting milk for comfort (i.e. you just fed her maybe an hour or less before). I know that at this point it may feel like how can I know when she’s just thirsty, but in a few weeks you’ll be able to tell! And as you know milk in the freezer is good for a while. One last thing to consider, freezing the milk slightly degrades the nutrients over the fridge. Not a big deal but just something I considered when choosing when and how much to give from the freezer vs fridge vs breast. I was a crazy mom working out of the house starting at 3 months waking myself up twice every night to pump for 14 months, so I know how tough this can all be, but now that my breastfeeding journey is over, I’d do anything to have those special moments back 😉

  21. 33

    Yes, start earlier with the bottle! Two of my girls never took a bottle. As in ever. It was so hard! I would introduce a bottle (warm the bottle nipple under warm water) when she’s not overly hungry, otherwise you’ll just piss her off, lol!

  22. 35

    Definitely introduce the bottle sooner than later. And never be the one who bottle feeds her. Always associate yourself with direct breastfeeding and other people with bottles. I actually would stay completely out of the room when we first started bottle “practice” so that they couldn’t hear, see, or smell me.

    Don’t let the electronic pump intimidate you! Once you set it up for the first time it’s easy peasy and it’s the only way you’ll get the fat rich hindmilk that comes later in a feeding cycle.

  23. 36

    Glad breastfeeding is going well! I remember the storage aspect being so complicated (how long it’s good after thawing, combining milk from different pumping sessions, etc.). My pump actually had guidelines printed on the instruction leaflet that came with it, so that was helpful. If you haven’t gone through the box yet (lol), you may want to check for that. I know it seems overwhelming now, but you’ll figure it out!

    • 37

      Haha yeah definitely haven’t gone through the box ;) It feels so overwhelming but I know if I just do it a few times it will be a routine!

  24. 38

    These posts are so helpful since I am just under 3 months away from my due date! I need to figure out the lingo, though, because I don’t even know what a ‘let down’ is. I’ve been meaning to buy a book on breastfeeding so will have to do that soon (A friend recommended Breastfeeding Made Easy or something like that – hopefully it will be helpful). It sounds like, overall, BF’ing has gone great for you, though, which is so awesome! And it’s great that you guys have gotten time away both together and individually. I bet that helps you guys feel more like yourselves. I mean, becoming a parent is a huge and wonderful thing, I’m sure, but I can see how it really changes your identity and sort of makes you miss the way you used to be. So it’s nice to do things like go to a running get together!

  25. 40

    Sounds like you’ve been getting a lot of great advice. I’m a full-time working professional and I have a 3 year old and 11 month old. I nursed my 3 yr old for her first year and I am still nursing my 11 month old (planning to transition at age 1). As far as bottles go, I had my husband or my mom give the baby a bottle (2oz) while I pumped. My son actually liked nursing so much he would fall asleep right away, so for about a month he was bottle fed breast milk while I pumped. Eventually he grew out of it. I agree with you, it is MUCH easier to nurse at night. If you haven’t already, nursing while laying down is AWESOME. As far as milk storage, I keep what will be used within 3 days in the fridge, anything extra in the freezer. One more thing to note, if your baby might for to daycare, the daycare might require you to have 6oz of ready-to-go formula on hand in case of emergency. If that’s the case, you’ll probably want to try the formula with your baby before. Not to worry! I used the “trying” phase as a time to pump (15min on, 10 min off repeat three times). This boosted my supply (stockpiled a bunch in the freezer for work trips)! Hope this helps!

    Oh, one more thing. Inevitably, eventually your baby will get sick. I was so glad I was nursing, as my kids usually refused everything else when sick. It was nice to be ale to “be there” for them when there was nothing else I could do.

  26. 42

    You are doing great!! Breastfeeding is hard work! I work full time and am on my second child. I recommend pumping after the morning feeding everyday starting now. This way when you go back to work that first pump will always produce a lot of milk. This is helpful because it is nice to have some stored… I have found that around 10 months with both kids my pumping amounts drop and I pump 3 to 4 oz less then they need each day, so it is great to have a large surplus from the first 6 months to use now and not stress about it.

  27. 43

    It is an annoying extra step, but I highly recommend freezing your milk in little ice cube trays. Then pop them out and put them into the milk storage bags. That way you don’t have to worry about having 2 oz in some bags, 10 oz in other bags. You just pull out how ever many cubes you need! Obviously figure out how many oz your ice cubes are though… I used a tray that were perfectly 1/2 oz cubes so it was easy.

  28. 45

    Looks like you’re doing great girly! She is so cute! I wish I could help on the breastfeeding front but I only worked at WIC for one year and I don’t remember anything ha ha!

  29. 46

    Keep your frozen milk in small oz since you can’t reheat it. As for bottles, I like the MAM bottles. I had a Doc once say your nipples don’t change in size so why should your bottle nipples change. I’m still using the slow flow for my 9 month old. Keep up the good work!


  1. […] haven’t used the pump since the ladies were here (still rocking the Haakaa – more on that in this post – in the meantime), but I’m going to incorporate it more now that I know how to use it! It will […]

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