Stockpiling Expressed Milk

Archived Q&A and Reviews

Using up leftover breastmilk ... yogurt?

March 2004

This is going to sound bizarre, but I'm curious. I got a yogurt maker for Christmas and am also nursing. Has anyone ever tried to make yogurt out of their breastmilk? If it works, what kind of culture is okay to use for it? Sometimes the milk that I pump is at it's three day limit in the fridge and I end up having to dump it out. I thought this might be a way to use it before it goes bad. (I plan on giving it to my non-nursing toddler, not to my 2.5 month old.) Melissa

I read once about breast milk cheese. The article reccommended against it consdering all the various things humans consume that bovine do not. Do you eat meat, processed foods of any kind, coffee, or alcohol? It would make me think twice about trying this. But that's just my opinion. Stephanie
I don't know about the yogurt idea, but I've seen a number of more lenient guidelines for use of refrigerated breast milk. The chart on the refrigerator magnet that came with my Ameda pump says 8 days for use of refrigerated milk; I think those are the LLL guidelines as well. I've used milk after as long as 7 days in the fridge with no ill effect. (But smell it first- if it's still good it shouldn't have much of an odor.) Evette
You're not alone in wondering about this. I actually tried this, but the milk just wouldn't coagulate. Let us know if you are successful! good luck
Regarding the breastmilk yogurt topic, I just remembered it's Dan Savage, author of the column Savage Love, that researched the topic of breastmilk cheese. You can find the article by doing a Google search. It's interesting to say the least. I am just wondering if the same information applies to yogurt. Stephanie
While I have no experience with yogurt, I do have a friend who made breastmilk ice cream. I'm sure it would work just fine and I'd think you could use the same recipes you'd use with any other kind of milk.

But you mention a ''three day limit'' on your milk in the fridge, and unless you've actually tested this and know that your personal baby won't take your personal milk after that long (in which case, ignore and forgive me), you should know that breastmilk is usually fine in the fridge for at least 5 days and often as long as 8 days. So you needn't be so quick to toss it out! You can also freeze it after 3-4 days and it will still be fine in the freezer for at least 3 months. Holly

How to pump extra milk to save for later?

April 1998

I am looking for suggestions/ advice on beginning to pump and store breast milk while still actively nursing a young baby. My son is one month old, and I am beginning to think about trying to get out of the house every now and then. The problem is, we really want to keep him solely on breast milk, and he doesn't let me go more than a few hours, at most, between feedings during the day. And, for a significant part of every day, he seems to want to feed every hour--and I can never predict when that will be. I know this is fairly normal, but it leaves me at a loss as to how to feed him, pump, and still have time to get out of the house. I have been trying to pump and feed him, but in addtion to the time problem of fitting it all in, it seems like he spends even more time eating when I have pumped sometime during the day-Im assuming that its becuase my breasts have less milk if I have pumped once that day. Does anyone have advice or suggestions as to how to keep feeding him solely on breast milk while also building up a stockpile? If I don't get a break from these constant feedings, Ill go crazy! Thanks! Ann

Regarding the mom wanting advice breastfeeding and stockpiling pumped milk

My only suggestion (and it is not an easy one) is...if your baby is sleeping more than 4 hours during the night, set your alarm and try to get up during this period to pump. In the beginning it is very difficult to ge the timing down and I would not try it unless the sleep period is very predictable( there is nothing worse than having a hungry baby wake up and want to feed right after you have pumped). I started this in the third month and am still doing it even after returning to work at month three (my baby is now 5 months). I also pump at work and now have a supply of milk in the freezer that makes me the envy of my new mom's group. My baby has had essentially only breastmilk since day one.

Contact the folks at La Leche League for help with this. One friend of mine is Tricia Jalbert, and her e-mail is tjalbert [at] . She can give you phone numbers for other LLL leaders in the area. The Berkeley/Oakland branch has meetings in the day in Albany (2nd Thursdays) and in the evening (3rd Thursdays, at Zion Lutheran Church on Park Blvd, 7 pm).

My personal advice is: try nursing him on one breast only, and pumping the other one either simultaneously (if you can manage it!) or right after. This WILL mean that you will have to feed him again sooner. However, if you keep this up for a while (2 or 3 days, probably), your milk supply will increase (more demand always means more milk, eventually), and it might not be a problem after that.

I also had good success with pumping after my baby went to sleep (I'd wait 1 to 1 1/2 hours after the last feeding, then pump), or sometimes first thing in the morning before she woke up. And I always figured if she woke up and was HUNGRY, I could always give her what I just pumped, and no loss (other than my time!). Be patient: pumping sometimes takes a while to get established. As you get better and more experienced, you'll get more in a session. And make sure you have a good pump. The Gerber ones are awful. Get a Medela or something like it. Good luck! Dawn

I started pumping and giving bottles of breast milk to my daughter when she was around 1 month, which I have heard is the optimal time. And she breast fed, no formula, until she was two and half.

The technique that worked best for me to stockpile a supply might not work for everyone but it's worth a try.

She was still at the point that she nursed several times a night, and for the most part she slept in bed with us. During these night nursings I would only feed her on one side. And when it was time to get up the morning my other breast would be very full, and sometimes a bit uncomfortable, but not too bad, while she was nursing, still on the other side, I would pump the full side with a small electric pump, medela. The bottle always filled very very quickly. I built up a stockplie in advance of when I needed by doing this every morning for awhile. I do remember though being very frustrated if anyone every wasted any. That stuff is like gold, it represents freedom. Elizabeth

I think if you try to pump every day and preferably twice a day (because you may only get an ounce each time at first), your milk supply will increase--basically you will trick your body into thinking that your baby is even more voracious than he is (and mine were too!). And eventually you will regularly make enough milk for your baby and your freezer, but be patient because since your baby is now growing daily, his demands are increasing too, so it may seem like you can't catch up... But you will be able to get a small stockpile of milk. (be sure to eat and DRINK enough yourself)

And best to start him on the bottle anytime now and make sure he has a bottle at least once a day, even if you're not gone. Otherwise you'll find yourself in the position of the parents who can't get their 4 month olds to take a bottle! And once he does take a bottle, be sure to pump and store that milk, so you don't skip a bout of nursing and suggest to your body that it's ok to slow down production.

Good luck--you will soon able to get out of the house w/o your baby! Deborah

I had the same experience as the other mothers who wrote in about pumping and stockpiling--the best thing is to wait about an hour after your baby nurses and then pump, even if the little one is going to be hungry again soon. You can always fit in an extra nursing later in the day and you have to start persuading your body to produce essentially for a regular extra feeding. I found that once I adjusted my body to this and as my baby began to sleep for longer and more regular periods I was able to pump every day at the same times and get enough milk to stock pile. It's great that you're startign this now so that you can get your body used to the extra production and your baby can get used to the bottle. Lea