How Much Breast Milk Should I Be Pumping?

Breastfeeding is not always easy. It requires dedication, self-control, and the skills to deal with many of life’s challenges. One challenge that breastfeeding mothers may face is how much breast milk they should be pumping per day. This blog post will explore different factors that can affect how much breast milk you pump as well as give some general guidelines on what a mother should expect to produce each day.

How much milk should I be pumping?

How much breast milk you will pump varies based on factors like the age of your baby,

  • the time since you last fed or pumped
  • the time of day
  • the type of pump you are using
  • Whether or not you are exclusively pumping
  • Whether your body is relaxed or stressed

How much milk should I be pumping for my newborn?

Around 1/2 to 2 ounces total (for both breasts) per pumping session is typical for an exclusively nursing mother.

It’s not unusual to need to pump 2-3 times to obtain enough milk for one feeding. Babies tend to nurse much more efficiently than a breast pump.

Week 1

Around a week, your baby’s stomach will grow to the size of an apricot. It will be able to hold around 45-60 mL or 1 ½ – 2 ounces of milk at a time.

Week 2

Your baby’s stomach is now as big as an egg and can hold up to 150 mL or 2 ½ – 5 ounces for each feeding session.

Week 4

A baby needs about three to four ounces of milk every three or four hours, which is about 24 to 32 ounces a day.

How much milk should I be pumping to know if my baby is getting enough?

It’s very hard to tell how much breastmilk your baby received from a single feeding session without using tools like scales or pumps that can track milk intake.

You should be able to tell if your baby is getting enough by observing changes in their stool and urine output, as well as the frequency of feedings they are taking.

If you notice a sudden decrease or increase in feeding sessions, it could mean that they are going through a growth spurt.

What if I’m not pumping enough milk?

If you’re struggling to pump the recommended amount of breast milk each day, you can try power pumping or using lactogenic foods to boost milk production.

If you are still having a hard time with your milk supply, it is best to consult with a lactation consultant or your doctor for guidance and support.

They will help troubleshoot any potential issues that may be preventing you from producing enough milk and give you tips on how to make more milk.

How much milk should I pump to boost my milk supply?

If you want to produce more milk and you are worried that you have a low milk supply, you should be pumping for at least 15-20 minutes each time, pumping after every feeding session, and even try power pumping.How Much Breast Milk Should I Be Pumping?

You should be drinking plenty of water throughout the day to stay hydrated. Also, load up on foods that are rich in lactogenic foods like oatmeal, lentils, flax seeds etc. You can also take fenugreek supplements to help increase milk production.

If you are still not seeing an improvement in your milk supply, consult with a lactation consultant or doctor for more personalized advice.

How much milk should I be pumping to maintain milk supply

If you exclusively pump and want to maintain your supply, you will need to pump for each feeding session that your baby is feeding.

Make sure not to skip any pumping sessions to maintain your supply.

How often should I pump if I am exclusively pumping?

If you are exclusively pumping, you should expect to pump around the same amount as your baby’s daily intake.

For example, if you have a newborn who feeds every two to three hours or so, this would mean that you should expect to pump around ten to twelve times a day.

If your baby takes longer naps and sleeps through the night, it is important for you to not skip these pumping sessions in order to maintain supply.


What if I make too much milk?

Many moms deal with an oversupply and want to make less milk to help with engorgement.

If this is the case for you and you are dealing with too much breast fullness, try using a cold compress to help reduce swelling and engorgement.

You can also try pumping less often in order to decrease supply and make less milk. You should see results within one or two days of doing this method properly!


Things you need to know before pumping

If you are new to pumping, there are a few things to consider when you start pumping.

The pump quality and the quality of the pump parts matters

Double pumping can help with much more effective pumping output.

Use a quality nipple cream to help with soreness.

Use good milk storage bags for your freezer stash

Most moms find that need to try different types of bottles before they find one that their baby likes and protects their latch.

How to reach and maintain full milk production?

In the early weeks of your breastfeeding journey, you will still be building your supply. After about three months your supply should be leveled out.

How long should a pumping session last?

A pumping session should last about 15 minutes long or as long as it takes for you to remove milk from your breast to feel fully empty.

Since breast milk varies according to demand, it can help your body make more of it.

What is the best time to pump?

The best time to pump is generally when your baby is not feeding, but this may vary depending on each individual mother and her baby’s feeding schedule.

Some moms find it helpful to pump right after a feeding session so they can use that milk for the next feeding, while others prefer pumping in the morning or at night before bed.

How Much Breast Milk Should I Be Pumping?

When you should pump?

Breastfeeding is recommended in most cases. It’s a perfect feeding method for your baby. Of course, we recognize that not everyone can feed and take care of their children on demand 24/7.

A breast pump is one of the best means of maintaining a healthy milk supply for infants when you are not always able to be there.

If you are exclusively pumping then sticking to a schedule is your best bet for maintaining your supply.

Your pumping output depends on these things

Many mothers worry about increasing milk supply if they do not pump more than they have wanted. Here are some possible reasons why your pumping output may be less than stellar.

How does your body respond to the pump?

Breast pumps can be less effective in removing milk than a nursing baby. Several women are unable to react well to a breast pump because they need extra stimulation to get a letdown.

If you are having this problem, try using a medical-grade electric breast pump. A double pump will also help get as much milk in half the time.

Are you pumping after nursing or exclusive pumping?

Exclusive pumping will get you a different amount of expressed milk than if you were to just finish nursing your baby.

Your milk supply

Every mother will vary in the amount of milk they make. Lots of things can affect your supply such as getting enough rest, drinking enough water, and consuming enough calories.

Your baby’s age

You will be pumping a different amount of breast milk in the first few weeks compared to an exclusive breastfeeding three-month-old baby.

How many ounces should I be pumping every 2 hours?

You should pump as long as your breasts are empty to avoid clogged ducts. A baby consumes around 19-30 ounces of breast milk in a 24 hour period so the amount that you need to pump will depend on the age of your baby and if they are going through any growth spurts at the moment.

Will pumping every 2 hours increase milk supply?

Pumping twice daily can help increase your milk supply. Breast milk is made from demand and then supply so the more pumped milk you demand, the more you will make.

How often should I pump to increase milk supply?

You need to pump for each feeding to maintain your supply. If you are wanting to add a pumping session to make more milk then power pumping can help.

You will pump for 20 minutes and then rest for 10 minutes. Pump for another 10 minutes and rest for 10 minutes. Do this one more time.

You can power pump once or twice a day for a few days and milk production dramatically increases.

Final thoughts

Pumping is a great way to maintain your milk supply when you are away from your baby for any length of time. Here’s how much breast milk should I be pumping, and what can affect my output? The more often you pump or power pump, the better chance that it will increase your overall production levels.

Be sure to read The 10 Best Glass Bottles for Breastfed Babies and The Best Bottle Warmers

About the author

Lacy Reason is a highly experienced and compassionate lactation counselor, who has dedicated her career to educating and supporting new mothers on their breastfeeding journey.