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    I am a PGY1 Podiatric Surgery resident who had a lovely baby girl in November. My residency director is very supportive, and I will be returning to work in February. Could anyone tell me when I should start pumping and freezing breast milk? How much and how often should I pump? How much “freezer backup” will I need?


    Congratulations! I don’t know what your hours will be like, but here’s my method for breastfeeding and working. I start pumping and freezing right away. I usually pump in between feedings starting in the first week postpartum, when my milk comes in and I’m engorged anyway. You can start now and pump between feedings to increase your supply now. In the beginning you’ll only get a small amount of milk, but keep it refrigerated and combine all of one day’s milk into one bottle in the freezer. To figure out how much is harder. I like to stay about a week ahead of my babies, which gets harder as they get older. To figure out how much she needs at a feeding, pump before a regular feeding and give it to her in a bottle to see how much she takes. Then you’ll know how many bottles to leave on each day. Also–some people pump straight into the disposable bags. I prefer to use bottles. I just fill each one and my babysitter defrosts them as needed. That way any extra can be used for the next feeding, rather than just thrown away. Once you go back to work you may find that you have to pump more often than your baby eats to maintain your supply but don’t get discouraged. It’s worth it! Good Luck! 🙂


    Freeze some now for an emergency supply. Once you return to work, you may not have to freeze much more. I don’t freeze my milk unless there is any left over at the end of the week. What I pump on Monday, the baby gets Tuesday, etc. From the milk I pump on Friday, I leave enough in the refrigerator for Monday. If there is more than enough for Monday, I freeze it. Milk is good for up to 8 days in frig.

    I numbered the tops of the bottles and kept a list on the frig as to the date of each numbered bottle. If the bottle was getting close to 8 days, I would then put it in a freezer storage bag and freeze it.

    Check out La Leche Leagues website for great articles on pumping and storing milk. There is also a discussion board for working Moms who are pumping. Their website is

    Click on “breast feeding information” and you will find the bulletin board, FAQ’s, and articles.

    Good luck. My baby is 22 months and still loves to breastfeed.

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