Thanks again to everyone! You are all SO helpful. All of your wonderful comments have continued to bring up new questions for me, if you don't mind reading on....
Many of you responded sharing that you also fed your babies on just one side per feeding. Here's my question then... if you nurse on the 1st breast at one feeding, and roughly 3 hours later you nurse on the opposite breast... then 3 hours later you're back to the first breast. So do you allow your breasts to go a full 6 hours between every feeding without any stimulation? Do you need to pump during that time to maintain your supply or does your body automatically know how much to produce by the boob's next feeding (6 hours). Wouldn't the body start to think that the baby doesn't need much milk because there is no pumping/feeding for a full 6 hours around the clock? I have done that before and my breasts have still been soft when that 6 hour mark comes around. Am I wrong to think that my breast needs to have a FULL feeling in order to fill my baby's belly? Do I need to pump if she only nurses on one side at each feeding? How many of you have barely touched the pump after your supply was established?
I know I must really sound like I have never breastfed before. This child I am taking a different approach. With Jackson, I pumped before going to bed - in the middle of the night (because he slept thru the night VERY early on) and in the morning. I was able to store four - 5oz. bottles each day (20 oz total). This time around - I am trying to be more regular with breastfeeding and don't want to get that crazy about stashing my freezer. So trying to establish the appropriate amount of milk that my child will take from me - is a new concept.
Now a few of you have advised me to wake her up after 3 hours to feed her, even though she wakes herself up after 4 hours. I understand the reasoning there, but she never ate that close together. Even in the hospital when I tried to wake her - she wouldn't wake up enough to actively nurse. However, when she did wake up - she would be hungry enough to nurse. I have never been fond of waking a sleeping baby if it wasn't necessary. She has surpassed her birth weight by 2 weeks and has about 7-8 stools/wet diapers a day. She literally has a full wet diaper with poo splatters at every diaper change. She also sleeps for one cherished 5 hour stretch at night. Should I really begin to wake her after 3 hours when she has made this progress on her own? My pediatrican didn't bat an eye when I told her Jaelyn goes 4 hours between feedings. But I do value your opinions and views on the matter as I know many of you really know what you're talking about :)