My son is two and nursing three times a day. My sister just gave birth but is unable to breastfeed due to medical reasons. She'd like my niece to have some breastmilk and I said I'd pump and provide what I can. I'm really happy to be able to do this for my sister and my niece. How can I increase my supply? I am planning on buying fenugreek and taking 3 pills 3-4 times a day, pumping as often as possible, nursing my son as much as possible, but is there anything else I can do to produce more milk? Also can you suggest a breastpump that would work well for this? My sister said that she'd buy one for me since I'm helping her out. Thanks for your input :)
How to increase supply after I've been breastfeeding a long time
You've already mentioned you'll let your son nurse as often as possible. Little Miss and I are at the stage where she is only nursing 1-2 times a day, and my supply has dwindled accordingly. If she does nurse more, for some reason, I do notice the "over-used" breast engorging. So I would really recommend letting him nurse tons and tons, even before I pumped.
Have you and your sister considering you simply nursing your niece? I'm not certain where you're at on the subject, but there are all kinds of people in this world that wouldn't blink an eye at that. Personally, I don't/wouldn't nurse a friend's child or a stranger (unless it was life and death, ya'know), and I have been in the position to halt and prevent contact between my breast milk and a friend's child (sippy cup), but I would nurse my own family in a heartbeat, if I was in this scenario. Family is... family. In any case, I really support what you're doing, and wish you and your niece all the best.
I would recommend you get an Ameda double electric pump and start pumping 8 or more times in 24 hours including during the night. This will mimic a newborn's feeding pattern and help to build up your milk supply. If your son also wants to feed that's fine because that will add extra stimulation on top of what the pump provides. You can also try adding the fenugreek if you find you need it. I hope this helps!
If that's not an option, nursing and pumping as often as you feasibly can is the best way to stimulate production. When pumping, pump for 5 minutes after your flow slows to tell your body to produce more.
I nursed my neice shortly after she was born and my SIL went back into the hospital with an infection. I offered to pump but it was just easier to nurse her in person...though they did switch to formula (my SIL didn't have any desire to nurse, sadly).
However, I have also done a lot of pumping for donation. I started it when my 2nd baby was older (closer to a year, I think...maybe a little after). I just started pumping once or twice a day with my single manual pump. I make a LOT of milk so that was enough to get me by, but then I got a PIS and it was CRAZY how much that thing could get out...we're talking like 10oz/side. Anyway, the main thing I've always noticed affected my milk the most was oatmeal...in any form, even cookies. ;) I'd also pump first thing in the morning, even after an entire night of nursing, because I could easily get nice full bottles then.