Hey guys! So I’m finally getting to write about my most asked question!! Breastfeeding and milk supply! And let me tell you it is something that I totally underestimated. Before having Emrie, I literally thought, you just put a baby on the boob and milk comes when whenever, wherever, and however much will come out. HA. boy was I wrong. Well anyway, whether you’re a new mama or a soon-to-be mama, I thought I’d share a blog post on MY personal guide to breastfeeding.
So here we go! I’ve broken down this blog post into sections, so it’s easy for everyone to come back and find the info they need.
My Milk Supply
I get a lot of DMs asking me about my milk supply and why it’s great. Just like everyone, my supply goes up and down all the time, but I believe my milk supply is so great because I established it in the first few weeks. Emrie has always had a good latch thankfully which is very important with nursing. So with that being said here’s what I did…
The first 8 weeks:
During the day, I nursed her every 30min to 2 hours. She was hungry ALL THE TIME it was extremely hard in the beginning. I mean like draining. But I kept at it and just breastfed her. I’d be lying if I said I didn’t think about giving up one (or maybe two) times. But THIS is key to building your supply in the beginning. Consistency and frequency is key! When nursing her on one side, I would use the Haaka manual pump on the other to catch any leakage. I would feed her 15 min. on one side and then switch sides for another 15 min.
I started pumping using my Spectra S2 pump at like week 2-3. Probably a little too early than what a lactation consultant would suggest (I believe its anywhere between 4- 5 weeks they suggest), but I had no choice! I was so full of milk at night because I was nursing her so much during the day, and because she was sleeping pretty good at night. We also came up with a system of Jay bottle feeding her my expressed milk at least one feeding at night so I can get more rest, I had to get the milk out! I’ll get more into pumping in another section, but this is also what helped. But if you have a Haaka (I definitely recommend you getting one!) you can always just use that manual pump to express the first few weeks or to just catch the leakage because as hard as it is to build and maintain, that’s LIQUID GOLD and we don’t waste none of that stuff! By the 3rd week when baby was sleeping longer through the night, I was pumping as if she was waking up every 3 - 4 hours and would pump 10pm, 2am, and 5am.
To maintain and build my supply:
I try to nurse her 8-12x a day, as much as I can, even if I don’t get much out. I try to increase the number of letdowns, so I can tell my body that I need to produce more milk. (the more you feed and pump your body starts adjusting and creating more milk – really is supply and demand) I try not to stress about it. When you stress, your supply will go down. When ever I feel like I’m producing less one week than the other I try to never worry about my milk supply and always go into it confidently that it will build back up! DRINK WATER I can’t stress this enough don’t forget to stay hydrated.
When I Pump:
As I mentioned above, I started pumping at like 2-3 weeks, because I had so much milk. I would only pump at night and as soon as I woke up in the morning because I was so engorged the first few weeks. My milk supply has leveled out since then, but here’s what I did in the beginning and here’s what I do now.
Again, as I mentioned above, I was pumping at night a lot the first few weeks because baby girl was sleeping pretty good and Jay helps out with one feeding so I can rest. If you’re a new mama and your baby is waking up for feedings or you just want to exclusively nurse, obviously you don’t need to pump!
Emrie goes down around 8:30pm and I would pump at 10pm before bed then again at 2am and at 5am. By 8 weeks, I dropped my 2am pump. It hurt a little to drop that pump, but eventually, my body was in-sync with me and the baby’s sleep schedule. I mainly pump to build a stash. I pump twice a day. Once in the morning immediately after her first feeding. On average, typically get around 6oz on my right side and 4oz-5oz on my left. My morning pump is typically my biggest since that’s when I’m the most full! I can get any where from 6oz to 9oz on both sides. My second pump is at around noon. Now that baby girl is older she is more efficient at nursing and can be full off one breast at just 10-15 min of nursing. (and yes I did consult with a lactation consultant to make sure she was actually getting what she needed in that time span – the girl just eats fast) due to this I have to pump mid day to not be so engorged. Then we go into the night, my 10pm night time pump is where I get anywhere from 4oz-7oz each side. I find this pump just depends on how much she ate before bedtime.
Nursing vs Bottle
We introduced Emrie to the bottle at the mid-end of week 2. (We use the Philips Avent bottles. I didn't want to nipple confuse her so I did tons of research on which bottles to introduce and these were one of the top rated and closest to a mothers nipple.) We would have Jay or my mom give her one bottle a day, just so she would get used to it and did that until she was about 10 weeks old (pretty much until we were confident she would take a bottle whenever, wherever). We also started giving her cold milk, warm milk, room temp milk, just so she would take it at any temperature.
Emrie is just about 16 weeks and when we are out and about during the day, depending on where we go and how long we will be gone for, I will take a bottle just in case (and my pump! Don’t forget the pump biggest mistake ever! You will not have a good time – trust me!). I do always try to nurse her if possible, but if we’re going to be in the car a lot and on the go, it’s nice to know that I have that bottle.
My Breastmilk System
Okay, here’s what I do; milk lasts 6 hours in room temperature, 6 days in the fridge, and 12 months in the freezer. I always keep 2-3 bottles of pumped milk in the refrigerator, for her night feeding (we feed her at midnight one bottle and she sleeps through the night till about 5-6am) and if we are going out and about. Since I’m pumping twice a day, I typically pump about 2-4 bags a day, so whatever milk I don’t use, I put it in the freezer.
I hope that helps you guys and again, I am no expert, but this is what I’ve learned and what has worked for us!