I breastfeed my children for as long as I can. And each one stop because I got pregnant. 3 had at least 4 months exclusivity. But I continue breastfeed whenever they are with me, evening feeds, night feeds, weekends...etc. For the 4th one, I made a commitment to myself to give him 6 months exclusivity, plus continue to give expressed milk for as long as I can (1 year? 2 years?).
This is how I do it:
- Start stock-up early! In my case I start from the second week. When the milk start flowing generously.
- During confinement, whenever I breastfeed my son, I pump the other breast. At this stage, you will not need much. Just 2 to 3 oz per bottle. (that is how much he will drink when you start work at 2 months. Thsi stock is also useful when you want to leave the baby for a while to do your own stuffs - take some rest, do some shopping etc.
- When start working, pump at least 3 to 4 bottles per day of 3 to 4 oz per bottle. Do it at least 3 to 4 times daily (1. early morning (before going off to work), 2. before lunch time, 3. before going home or immdiately when you reach home, 4. middle of the night)
- When the baby is growing, you need to increase your milk supply, at least until he start solid food. By month 3, I start to pump 4 to 5 oz per bottle.
- But I do keep small portion (2 to 3 oz per bottle) for evening feed (just before I came back from work) . It's good to leave the baby hungry a little bit in the evening, so that you can feed him right after you come back from work. It's a pleasant reunion. The small protion is also useful during the weekend when I need to leave the baby for a while (2-3 hours).
- I do not have much stock in the freezer actually, because I use the same freezer to keep our food. My stocks are only enough for 4 to 5 days (during the day consumption only). So the milk I pump today, it will be use in the next 4 to 5 days.
Most lactation counsellor / breastfeeding advisor recommends using double funnel, electric kind of pump to be success in breastfeeding. But I use a single funnel and manual system. I bought it when I had my second child. But it works well for me. I couldn't afford the expensive system then. So, I continue using it for my third. Now that I have my 4th child, even though I can somewhat afford the double funnel, electric system, I still use the same manual pump because I think if I can do it previously (due to budget constraint), why I can't do it now? In term of time, I spend about 30 to 45 minutes for each pumping session. And I still manage to pump about 8 to 10 oz.
I think everything is in our mind. In fact, when I had my first child, I use a battery-operated, inefficient single pump (to be honest, everytime I pump, it hurts). Plus, I didn't have a place to pump, so I pumped in my car at the basement parking. It was a very bad experience but I still managed to give my baby 4 months exclusivity. At the end of 4 months, I didn't celebrate it as a success, but more as a relief.... it was a hard work to feed my baby with my own milk. But today, I'm proud for I have strive to give the best for my babies...