When I was nursing, I never had the greatest supply and on top of that my son was a terrible weight gainer (ahem, not like his mama). For a couple of months after he was born, I would nurse him, put him down and pop on the pump immediately after to get anything left for additional bottle feeding in between nursing. Needless to say, as someone who chose to exclusively breastfeed, every drop of my milk was precious. Anyone who’s breastfed or pumped in any capacity will surely understand, if nothing else because you want to make this uncomfortable, time consuming, occasionally painful activity of someone or something squeezing stuff out of you worthwhile.
Whether you had a great supply or a terrible supply, at some point you likely experienced letdown, and a letdown that leaky on the side you weren’t nursing from. As the baby nursed, the boob they aren’t attached to may express milk on its own and not only is that another bra and shirt to change when you’re already changing (maybe) from spit-up or poop covered clothes, it’s precious milk. I’m not going to lie, I was often tempted to wring my shirts out into a bottle to get it, and let’s not discuss the spots of breast milk decorating my floor that were left and dried for um, days.
Enter this precious, ingenious invention, the kind you see on Shark Tank and wish you thought of, the Milkies Milk Saver:
It is a silicone receptacle that you pop it into your bra, right before you nurse and it catches up to 2 oz of your letdown. In my case, I was perpetually in a uniform of a tank top with a bra shelf liner like this that worked just as well as a bra – that way the milk saver stayed in my shirt but I didn’t also need to sleep in a bra. Your nipple fits in that little hole (it is NOT sexy). Once you’re done nursing, take it out and put it on its stand while you settle yourself and the baby down.
Once the babe is sleeping soundly (we hope), pour the milk into the bottle or milk storage of your choice and refrigerate. The brand that makes this, Milkies, has great milk trays that freeze your mlik into 1 oz sticks that fit through bottle openings as an alternative to breastmilk bags. Here are some things to consider:
- Don’t sleep with this in your shirt (intentionally) – it’s not meant as a continuous milk collection system and how infuriating would it be to roll over and spill all that milk you collected.
- If you can safely do this, pull the milk saver out of your shirt before putting the baby back in the crib or bassinet. I cannot tell you how many times I could have just put the baby in my lap and took it out, but instead got foolhardy, leaned over the crib and spilled all the collected milk out either on the baby, his crib or the floor. You can also cradle the baby in one hand and pull the device out. Just don’t lean over with it in your shirt for the love of liquid gold!
- If your baby is over 6 months old, I wouldn’t recommend this just based on my experience. 6 months is the point at which my own supply had dropped, the baby started eating solids, and I never really let down like I did in the early days.
There you have it! Perhaps something for the baby registry, as I recommend having this as early as possible, from about 2 weeks when your supply has ramped up. Good luck nursing mamas!
If you are breastfeeding and have questions or need advice, have a listen back to our episode where we chat with our own lactation consultant, Judy McArdle! Listen to episode #22 and check out our show notes and resources here.