How Much Milk Should I Pump?

Jun. 18, 2024 | 2 min read

Annabella Team
Topics & Categories: Pumping Tips and Tricks

How Much Milk am I Supposed to Pump?

Pumping enough milk is one of the greatest concerns women have when it comes to pumping and breastfeeding.

Your milk production changes (milk production) throughout the pumping and breastfeeding period.

The amount of milk changes throughout the physiological stages of milk production, and in accordance with your nursing and pumping patterns.

First Days – Colostrum Versus Mature Milk

First, it’s important that we identify your milk production stage.

During the first days after birth, your body produces Colostrum, the first form of milk. Colostrum is produced in small amounts, in accordance with the size of your baby’s stomach. This milk is thicker and often sticky. The amount of milk will increase with every passing day, and for most women, the colostrum will transform into mature milk around the third day after childbirth.

When Colostrum changes to mature milk, so does the amount, a rapid rise from 1-2ounces a day, to dozens of ounces . The texture of the milk also becomes thinner more "liquidy". The milk you express in every pumping session will practically pour out.

As your milk transforms, your breasts might feel fuller, and perhaps, you’ll be expressing more milk than your baby actually requires around those days. Just remember, your baby will soon enough “catch up”. If you’re breastfeeding and your breasts feel uncomfortably full after a feed, you can relieve the pressure by pumping.

Exclusive Breastfeeding Versus Combining Breastfeeding and Pumping

In order to discuss milk output when pumping, it’s important to differ between pumping for an occasional bottle while exclusively breastfeeding and replacing a feed with a pumping session when mom is away from her baby or when exclusively pumping.

We should mention first, that you won’t always be able to pump a full feeding volume, and that's completely natural! an exclusively breastfeeding young infant is, they will consume most of your milk by breastfeeding. Therefor, you shouldn’t expect to “fill up the bottle” . Quite the contrary, anything between 0.5-2 ounces of milk is considered normal. you're asking your body to produce more milk than the baby actually consumes.

In this stage you'll likely need to combine pumped milk from a few pump sessions to prepare a bottle for one feeding.

However, when replacing a feed with a pump session particularly when spaced 2-3 hours from your last breastfeeding session, you’re likely to pump a larger amount of milk. You should except 60-100 ml from both breasts. After you pump, your breast will feel softer.

In conclusion, remember that every woman is different and so is her milk supply . Pumped milk volumes varies according to your supply and the baby’s breastfeeding habits and consumption. Furthermore, the timing, duration and frequency of a pumping sessions also effect your output. It is normal to get different amount in different sessions.

If you think you’re not producing enough milk, we suggest taking a look here to read our tips on how to increase milk production.

If you think that your baby requires more milk that what you can produce, or you’re experiencing a decrease in milk production, we highly recommend seeking a lactation consultant for professional assistance.

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