I first just want to say that I have found this forum EXTREMELY helpful over the past 5 weeks.
I have a 5 week (and 3 day) old daughter - Alaina - that I am breastfeeding.
The whole experience is new to me because my older daughter - Nora - (now 4 years old) never latched on, so I ended up pumping for a full year for her. I have flat nipples and she was just never able to latch on. Alaina, however, has been doing fairly well with breastfeeding.
It's been much more difficult than I ever imagined and I have struggled with the idea of switching her to milk that I have pumped for her in a bottle, but the past couple of days seem to be going better and I feel like I am getting the hang of it finally -- I've had a hard time with the on demand aspect of nursing because I am such a "scheduler". But, I really am trying to keep in mind all of the positives of actually breastfeeding instead of giving her my milk in a bottle and also keeping in mind that (hopefully) it will continue to get easier.
So, I have a couple of questions regarding pumping.
When Alaina was born, I was pumping for a few minutes before she nursed in order to draw out my nipples for her.
When she was 5 days old, I got mastitis -- the NP that I saw advised me that I should pump after she eats in order to empty the breasts.
Since then, I have been pumping after she nurses. I have spaced it out so that I pump every 3 to sometimes 6 hours apart; I try to stick to around 4 hours in between, but sometimes have to go a little longer depending on when she nurses.
I pump both breasts using my Medela Pump In Style for about 5 minutes at a time. I typically get anywhere between 5-10 oz per pumping session and at the end of the day end up with between 24-32 oz going in the freezer.
I have a great stash built up in the freezer for when I return to work in a few weeks. I had a great supply when Nora was a baby as well -- I ended up donating a large portion of what I had.
I am questioning whether I am pumping too much -- I find that, especially at night, my breasts get really full.
Alaina typically only eats from 1 side, occasionally during the day she will have a little off of the other side as well, but that doesn't happen very often.
Should I only be pumping the breast that she did not nurse from even if she did not "empty" the side she was nursing from?
I guess I just worry about having my supply drop - especially since I'll be going back to work soon.
Any thoughts/suggestions that you have are greatly appreciated.