Feed the baby, not the freezer.
So often I hear moms say that they gave up on breastfeeding because they didn't produce enough milk. These stories then haunt expecting and newlyly postpartum mothers who are trying to get the hang of nursing and pumping.
Somewhere along the way, society created the idea that moms needed to build a huge stash of frozen milk to keep in their freezer before returning to work. Thousands of ounces bagged and cataloged, representing thousands of hours of work involving blood, sweat, and tears.
How much milk do you really need saved before you go back to work?
Enough for one day away from your baby.
Because the milk you pump while separated will be the milk your baby drinks the next day. And then the milk you pump that next day will be the milk for the following day, and so on.
A breastfed baby only needs 1-1.5 ounces per hour. That amount does not change as your baby grows! Instead, your milk changes to accommodate your baby's needs! That means if you are gone for 8 hours a day, you only need 8-12 ounces for baby split into 2, 3, or 4 ounce bottles.
As a rule of thumb, the average mom’s pump output will vary greatly. If you are pumping between breastfeeding sessions, it’s normal to express between 1 & 3 oz TOTAL per session.
That amount will decrease if you’re pumping immediately after nursing.
Have a little extra? AWESOME!!! It is nice to know that there's a little cushion if/when you need it. But a baby can only eat so much in a day, and I don't want anyone stressing themselves out if they aren't able to produce massive amounts of milk, or if their bodies don't respond as well to the pump.
We are all susceptible to falling into the "Comparison Trap." Especially as mothers. We see these crazy freezer stash pictures on social media, which makes those of us who are “just enoughers,” or those who are struggling to meet baby’s needs feel pretty dang inadequate.
Ladies, your worth is not measured in ounces!
Every drop is a representation of your time, and your love and dedication to your babies. Whether you have 8 ounces saved or 800, you are doing a great job, your body is amazing, and YOU ARE ENOUGH.
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