If you're away from your baby during the day—or if you want to relieve engorged breasts—you'll need to express milk in order to keep your baby fed. This is easiest with a pump, which you can buy from a baby-supply store or rent from a hospital. A manual pump is less expensive than an electric one and perfectly fine if you're only going to be pumping occasionally to relieve engorgement, or if you need a spare for work. But if you plan to pump regularly, consider an electric model; it does most of the work for you. Some have double pumps that can empty both breasts at once in less than 15 minutes. Breast milk stays good in the refrigerator for up to 48 hours, and in the freezer for as long as six months. Pump at work, store it in a cool pack or in the refrigerator, and when the caregiver gives it to baby later, she should shake the bottle to evenly distribute the fat within the milk.
If you're not breastfeeding very frequently, pumping is important; your body makes milk on a supply-and-demand basis, and if you're not pumping or feeding consistently, your body will begin shutting down the milk supply. If your child is born prematurely, you can pump milk even if you can't be with your newborn yet, and this will ensure sufficient milk later on. Working mothers pump breast milk that can then be bottlefed to baby.
You can't easily tell how many ounces a breastfed baby is getting, but the infant should be wetting six to eight nappys a day and becoming noticeably heavier.
Our parenting advice is given as suggestions only. We recommend you also consult your healthcare provider, and urge you to contact them immediately if your question is urgent or about a medical condition.