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Milk Bank

06/08/2021 Pediatrics

The Milk Bank consists of extracting and conserving breast milk to give in a bottle later when you cannot breastfeed. It ends up being the solution for working mothers to maintain exclusive breastfeeding, but these reserves are also helpful when mom is not there, for example, if you go on a trip, or as another ingredient for baby food when at six months baby food is introduced.


How do you make a milk bank?

You must have a breast pump to start your bank; the idea is that between feedings, you begin pumping. Remember that breastfeeding is established between the first 2 to 4 weeks of life, so it is not recommended to start extractions earlier (unless there is a specific reason, indicated by your Doctor).

It is recommended to extract milk:

  • Early in the morning. In the morning production peaks, more than if you extracted in the afternoon or at night.
  • Between takes. About an hour before or after breastfeeding your baby.
  • While nursing. While your baby is nursing from one breast, you can extract from the other breast; this is not recommended until you have been extracting milk for two weeks since it can feel uncomfortable to have double stimulation.

Am I going to run out of milk for my baby?

No. Remember that breastfeeding obeys a simple rule: The more your baby suckles, the more you produce milk. Many moms fall into the trap of believing that they are not producing enough milk based on the amount of milk they extract, and that is a mistake, first because a breast pump does not approach the level of extraction that your baby's mouth has, and the natural stimuli that your baby produces are unparalleled. 

The breast pump stimulates, but not as powerfully as your baby, but your body does register it to increase production and satisfy the need. In general, many women refer between a week to two to see the results of the increase in production


How do I start the extractions?

Contemplating the date on which you return to work, start at least 20 days before, this is the average time your body needs to increase production. Remember that you should not be scared if you extract little or nothing the first few times

  1. Hygiene and Cleanliness. Wash your hands before extracting. Considering the extractor model you have bought and the containers, check the instructions indicated for cleaning them. Your nipples do not need to be cleaned before extraction.
  2. Massage. Especially on the first few occasions, a massage helps to relax and promote the milk drop. Do it in a circular way around the entire chest.
  3. Extraction. We recommend performing 15 min extractions for each breast, considering the moments that we discussed before. If you do not have that much time, you should do several short extractions than a few long ones. This is usually more effective because of the effect it has on prolactin.
  4. Register the date. Once the milk has been expressed, identify it with the exact date.


What extractor do you recommend?

The one that is suited to your needs and feels more comfortable to you! We recommend that if you are returning to work, a double electric model might be best so that each extraction is performed on both breasts simultaneously.

A breast pump usually has several parts on which the pump's success also depends, for example, the size of the cups that should be the closest to the size of your breast. Take the time to research these details.

Expressing milk requires patience and learning, and all the way through, the routine will be your best ally to achieve the best results.


How can I increase the amount of milk I express?

There are some tips you can do to increase the volume of milk:

  1. Extract while breastfeeding from the free breast.
  2. Although we recommend pumping in the morning, it is crucial that you observe your body and record the times when you produce the most milk. Remember that each body reacts differently.
  3. A technique called "Power Pumping" has proven to be effective in increasing the volume of extractions from mothers. This technique is intended to replicate what happens during a growth spurt (see our blog "Mom is not a pacifier, nor does the milk run out"), where the production volume is increased. The technique consists of carrying out extraction-pause-extraction cycles, as indicated below:
    • If your pump is simple, repeat the following cycle three times:
      • Extract 10 min from one breast and 10 minutes from the other. 
      • Rest 5 min.

Total Time: 1 Hr.

  • If you have a double pump, repeat the following cycle:
    • Extract from both breasts for 20 min.
    • Rest 10 min.
    • Extract from both breasts for 10 min.
    • Rest 10 min.
    • Extract from both breasts for 10 min.

Total Time: 1 Hr.

Perform the cycle 1 or 2 times a day, for 3 or 4 days, and you will see an increase in production.


How do I save the milk that I extract?

We will deal with this in the "Breast milk preservation" blog, but you should know that expressed breast milk has a particular shelf life; depending on when you want to give that milk to your baby, it's how it will be stored.

If you are starting your milk bank to return to work, label the milk with the date/time of expression and freeze it in doses of 2 to 4 oz each time, this way, if you need to occupy one and your baby does not drink it all, you won't waste so much milk, and if he is left hungry, you can defrost some more. To freeze it, place it in the back of the freezer, where it is coldest. 

When you return to work, the idea is that you offer yesterday's expressed milk, which will only be refrigerated and not frozen. If there is an emergency where you do not have enough milk to offer, you can use the frozen milk from your bank.


Happy Extractions!

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