When we had our first born I could never, EVER get ahead of her. She was exclusively breastfed for 6 months, but would only nurse sporadically, mainly first thing in the morning and at night. Outside of that, I had to pump in order for her to eat if I wanted to stick to breastmilk only.
Sidebar: I’d just like to say that if formula is the best option for you and your baby, for any reason, that is totally okay! There are so many pros on either side of that debate…
Breastmilk Only – pros; cheaper, slightly faster from crying baby to being fed, more natural nutrients that are difficult to reproduce, although formula companies do a darn good job trying to do just that.
Formula Fed – pros; quick to mix, no warming – just use hot water, anyone can feed the baby (nice break for mama), less stigma when feeding in public, not sure why anyone is hard on mamas just trying to feed their kids?
I’m not going to talk about cons because there are none, either choice is a good one and you need to make that decision for yourself and your baby!
Second sidebar: I took the kiddos to the zoo the other day with my mom, not sure why when the monkeys were feeding their young everyone oohed and aahed but when humans do it everyone gets all up in arms about ….OMG, WAIT FOR IT………. BOOBS!
FYI: More often than not, a nursing mother just wants hide out and will go to every effort to do so rather than make a spectical of herself….
Okay back to my main topic here….Because I never got ahead of our daughter by more than a couple feedings worth, I literally had to pump immediately before she ate – insert screaming kid here! It sucked, like a lot.
When we had our son, I was determined not to let this happen again!
Admittedly, our son is much better with nursing so luckily the pumping isn’t as much of an issue but it was imperative that I got my supply up and built up a stash before I went back to work and he started daycare.
Your body responds to your baby’s needs. This means that the more they feed, the more you produce. So when kiddos are going through a growth spurt they eat more and as a result, your supply increases.
In order to “trick” my body into producing more than I needed to physically feed my baby, I needed to increase the demand. Meaning I would feed my son, and then I would pump….
But, I did this at strategic times. For instance, you typically have a higher supply first thing in the morning because your baby isn’t eating in as frequent increments. I didn’t need more in the morning…waking up and leaking was already uncomfortable!!!
During the day was my best option while on maternity leave. Typically babies will eat every 3 hours which left me 3 good feedings between taking our daughter to daycare and picking her up while my husband was at work. I have a pump that does both sides simultaneously, this is nice because it is much faster and more efficient. You’ll get to understand your usual pattern after pumping a few times.
The first few days I started doing this I was pumping a couple extra ounces. It is best to store your milk in small quantities; 2-4 ounces are best to ensure you don’t have a lot of waste.
Have you heard the term “liquid gold?” It’s real, the first time you spill milk, you may indeed, cry over it! I chose to store mine in 3 ounce increments and that’s worked well this far.
Okay so here is the cool part, gradually my supply increased!
I went from producing an extra couple ounces to pumping anywhere from 9-12 ounces (or 3-4 servings). This seemed like a reasonable overage. I wanted extra but not to be pumping all day!
Eventually I ended up with a stash for just over 1 week, assuming my baby was going to eat (roughly) 24 ounces/day.
Gradually started backing off of the pumping sessions in order to return my body back to producing what my son physically needed, although when back at work I was still producing slightly more than he was eating at daycare.
Worked out great for me but honestly everyone is different so take this all with a grain of salt – but I hope it works as well for you as it did for me! Happy milking 🐄🤣😁