The best time to pump is in the morning after the first feed. While I was still at home, I pumped after the morning feed and once in the afternoon to try to build up a freezer stash before returning to work. Are your nipples dry? If so, you could try using a lanolin-based nipple cream to stop the dryness. If you're allergic to lanolin, there are creams on the market that don't contain lanolin as well.
When I was trying to start building up a supply I tried to pump at least 3 times a day after DS had nursed. I was able to get about 45 or so 4 oz. bags that way. Unfortunately I had to use them all up when I had surgery. But, I found out though that I'm pretty much able to pump as much as I need at work for the next day. Its just now (almost 5 months) that he's starting to out-eat me, so I'm going to have to try to add an extra pumping session in during the day. I was able to put about 4 ounces in the freezer each day, but now he's eating almost 20 ounces just while I'm at work, so I'm just barely pumping enough. You can also pump on the weekends though too to try to keep a few bags in the freezer.
I agree that you do not need to pump much in advance. What you pump at work, you can feed the next day.
In the early weeks, my baby would nurse both sides. After she finished side B, I would go back and pump a little on side A. While they say there is always milk there for the baby, my baby had issues drawing out milk and would not be happy unless I gave her a full breast. Since she didn't fully drain B, it was nice and full for the start of the next feed. In less than a week, I got my supply up enough to feed only from 1 side. The other side could be pumped if needed before going out, or I would let that poor sore nipple rest.
Itchy nipples could be normal from chapping, or could be a sign of thrush. If they are just chapped, then I actually found rubbing a little milk on them and letting them dry like that helped tremendously. Then, if needed, I would use lanolin. My LC also suggested making a war saline soak to soothe them. Dissolve some table salt in warm water and dip your nipple in. I would use this when it was at its worst, before the milk application and lanolin.
During naps was the best time for me when I was trying to build my supply, generally 2 times/day plus a 3rd time right before going to bed.
Don't worry the volume will get a better with time!
And feeding him 1/2 hour later after pumping never bothered him... but then he has always been nursing way more than an average baby.
Do you have an electrical pump? They're the best!
Karen you took the question right out my mouth! lol,
I'm so worried that I'm not pumping enough nor do I know when I should and I'm only getting about 2-3oz and that's for both breasts! I think I'm picking the wrong times to pump but my nipples are really sore from it (I have the evenflo dual comfort electric pump) and ouch!
I know he gets more from me than when I pump so how can I increase my supply?
Although you don't need to pump much in advance it's probably a good idea if you want to increase your supply. Breastfeeding works on supply and demand. You will only produce what you need to feed your baby based on how often your baby stimulates your breasts to produce milk. Because I pumped at least once a day before returning to work, I was able to increase my supply. I understand that my pump output may be higher than normal but it's because I pumped often before returning to work.
It is a good idea to have at least 2-3 days worth of milk in your freezer when you first return to work because returning to work and leaving your baby for such a long period of time is VERY stressful in the beginning. Stress works against your milk production just as much as lack of sleep does. If you have a small supply available just in case you don't produce enough those first few days back, you'll feel less stress knowing that you have enough milk for your baby even if you don't produce enough.
I think 2-4 oz a day is a good amount for 17 days of breastfeeding. When I was pumping in the beginning, that's about the same amount I would produce and it steadily increased the more I nursed/pumped. The best way to increase your milk supply is to put baby to breast. If you can't do that, the next best thing is to pump. Other people use supplements or drink teas but the more you empty your breasts, the more they'll produce.