Milk Hoarder

Abigail Walston

Posted By: Abigail Walston

I'm returning to work as a teacher in September. I'm not a big fan of pumping and my son has rarely used bottles so I know that going back to work is going to be a big adjustment for both of us.

I'm obsessed. After more than three months of pumping at work, I can't stand to waste a drop of breast milk. This stuff is valuable!

It started innocently enough. When I turned off the pump and removed the flanges from my hands-free pumping bra, a few drips of milk would inevitably drip off of flanges. Consequently, all my work pants have peculiar mid-thigh stains that remind me of blood spatter lessons I used to do in Forensic Science class. I lamented over the wasted milk for a few days until I learned to tip the flange at the perfect angle, ensuring that any milk left after pumping would drain into the bottle before I unscrewed it.

That saved a few drops, but that wasn't enough. When I took apart the pump, I'd find milk left inside the plastic part to which the membrane attached. I next learned to unscrew the flanges slowly, and then carefully touch the membranes to the inside of the bottle to collect those last few drops. Every so often I'll get the angle wrong and milk will dribble down the outside of the bottle instead of into it, and I'd make a mental note to do better next time.

Even with this careful drop collection, the pump parts were still dotted with teeny breast milk droplets. I know breast milk has so many wonderful properties, so I started dabbing the tiny drops on whatever ailed me that day. Breast milk was just the homeopathic treatment I needed to clear up the zit on my chin or dab at the corner of my eyes to prevent wrinkles. With Joshua, I use breast milk in his eyes to ward off the pink eye infection spreading through daycare and on the first signs of diaper rash to nip it in the bud. Even these teeny tiny droplets have value, and I'm determined not to waste such a valuable substance.

So imagine my surprise when I went to pack Joshua's bag for daycare one morning and discovered a full four ounces of breast milk inside a bottle. Ed had forgotten to tell me there was a bottle leftover from the previous day or put it in the fridge himself. For a moment, I was livid. Fortunately before I snapped I came to my senses and realized that it was an honest mistake. I am far from perfect. Ed was apologetic and I couldn't stay mad at him, but it definitely hurt as I unscrewed the cap and poured that four ounces of my milk down the drain.

12:00pm on Wednesday February 16


Dawn Marie Deagle
12:27pm on Thursday February 24

I can completely relate! I make sure that each little droplet of liquid gold makes its way to the freezer! I am having surgery in May and I have started pumping to get a supply for the time immediately after the surgery when I will have to pump and dump. That is going to kill me! ;) My daughter still won't take a bottle (she's 9 mos. old), but I am hoping that she will come May. My four year old has told me that he will drink any milk that his sister doesn't want, so at least it won't go to waste! ;)

Lark Doula
12:57am on Monday February 21

I feel for you! My daughter is 16.5 months and I still pump at work. The other day as I was sterilizing bottles etc I forgot to put 10 oz of milk in the fridge! I almost cried! I try and save every single drop. I am almost to the point of wanting to give up pumping as my work place is not very understanding or accommodating but I also worry about what if my supply dries up and I am not able to nurse when she wants to :( So hard being a working mom!!!

1:47pm on Thursday February 17

Glad to know I'm not the only one who has perfected the art of getting every possible drop in the bottle!

1:20pm on Thursday February 17

I'm breastfeeding baby #2 and I am a still a hoarder. I was sick the other day and had to pump & dump for 30 hours. 'What a waste' I thought. But I have plenty stored in the deep freeze, to which I know my hubby would give me a look if I commented.
My violet plant loves my breastmilk. Everyday after I pump, I rinse my bottles out with 1oz water total and feed it to my plant. It's huge!
Breastmilk has so many amazing purposes!

1:17pm on Thursday February 17

I feel the same way. I don't work, but I had low supply in the beginning, as well as latch issues, so having a stash was imperative. I did, literally, cry when I spilt an ounce half asleep one morning.

Undersupply corrected itself and my freezer stash is ridiculous, but I still can't get over that anxiousness of losing it and not having enough.

4:49am on Thursday February 17

Hey~~you have every right; it's pure liquid gold!!!

I can remember pumping decades before the fancy electric pumps and it took ages to hand express a few precious ounces!

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