This is actually my first post here and I wasn't sure where to post it. Hopefully I picked the right forum.
In 88 days exactly, I will be leaving my exclusively-bf baby (who is six months old now, will be almost ten months then) for ten days. I have never had a problem nursing him and have always made JUST ENOUGH milk- no extra, but never had supply problems either. I am a stay at home mom and so I have never had to pump a lot before.
However, with this away-time looming, I am trying to build up a freezer stash so that he will hopefully not have to be supplemented while I'm gone. I guess I have a few questions:
1) Given that my boobs have always produced exactly the right amount, I have never felt that I had enough extra to pump. Sometimes when I do try to pump I will pump 30-45 min and only get 2 ounces from both boobs (always pumping after the baby has recently nursed; I'm paranoid about what happens if I pump and drain my boobs, and then baby decides he's hungry). Rarely, when baby has had an off-day for nursing, I will get more (4-5 ounces) but that's it and its simply not enough to keep him going ten days. What are my options? I'd like to increase my supply so I have an oversupply so I have enough to pump.
2) While I am gone, I plan on pumping about three times a day. I am expecting a small dip in supply but hoping that when I get back, he'll be delighted to see me (and my boobs) again and that going back to exclusively nursing him will quickly reestablish supply. Is this a reasonable expectation? Also, right now he is nursing at night once-twice. Do I therefore need to be waking up at night while I'm gone as well to pump? Or will it depend on whether he is still night-nursing when the time comes for me to leave?
3) how do I know how much he eats per feeding? I'm trying to estimate how much I will need (I figured if I pumped 4 oz every day for the next 88 days, that should hopefully be enough.... Roughly 35 ounces per day?) but how do I know? Does this sound on the mark?
Any other advice you can give me would be appreciated. This is the first time I am leaving my baby and I am a first time mom and really anxious. Ultimately, I know there is always formula and he won't starve but I'd rather he have breastmilk and I also don't want this ten days away to mean the end of our bfing relationship- really want to go to 12 months and beyond!