My baby is 4 weeks old and I'm heading back to work in 4 weeks. I want to continue to nurse my baby for a year. How do I start pumping to build a stockpile while still nursing? When do I pump and for how long?
Thank you for getting in touch. It is a great time to be asking about this so you can get used to pumping and so you can stockpile a stash for the freezer. Breastmilk production works on supply and demand so what is pumped or nursed by the baby gets replenished by the body. You can pump after you nurse so you can ensure that you have drained as much as possible from your breasts that your baby did not consume. If baby nurses on one side, Still double pump so you can get the stimulation. If baby nurses on both sides, that is ok too. Still pump afterward but dont expect too much output. it is the stimulation that you are looking for in that session. You can also pump when baby is napping and because baby is generally most efficient at getting milk out, you will still have enough for your baby when she awakes or is ready to nurse again. Feed on demand as much as possible as, again, baby is the most efficient at removing milk. You should also start introducing baby to the expressed milk so he/she can get used to taking it from another person other than you. This is an important nuance as it is really better for someone else to feed baby with a bottle so she does not get frustrated at you not nursing her. If and when someone else feeds her, it is important for you to still stimulate your breasts so during those times, you would also want to pump so your body does not think it is a missed session and that it does not need to make less milk. When you return to work, you would want to pump at the same times that baby would be nursing so you can get the stimulation and so you can express milk for you to leave when baby is apart from you. Pumping sessions vary and as your body gets more used to it, you will know more specifically how long it will take you. Watch your flow through the cone and when the sprays start to lessen or stop, you have pumped as much as you will get in that session. There is no specific time for pumping. But, if you find that you and baby will be apart and dont have much time to pump, still pump as your body needs that stimulation.
Let us know if have any more questions and best of luck!
Gina C, CLC