Honey, have you begun your pumping journey and noticing you aren't expressing as much as you'd like or even thought you would!! Actually, you’re doing just fine if you’re pumping between 1/2 - 2 oz TOTAL for BOTH breasts.
The main concern for most moms is the amount of milk their baby is getting. And many moms measure their output based off what they have pumped.
Reminder you’ll never pump as much as baby will suck out!
Pump output is dependent upon many factors such as breast storage capacity, frequency of pumping sessions, time of day you pump, supplementation, hormones, psychological factors, baby’s age and your pumping parts.
So let‘s break it all the way down on why Moms THINK they are pumping so little.
Large Storage Capacity
If you get more than 4 oz per pumping session both breasts with missed feeding, honey, you have a large storage capacity which is considered above the average.
So honey, when you’re scrolling and you see a mom that has pumped what seems like half a gallon of milk just know this, that Mom has a large storage capacity which is BEYOND average or maybe Mom missed a feeding.
Medium Storage Capacity
This is when you pump on average 4 oz total for both breasts or ~2 oz if pumping 60 minutes after feeding. Your baby may take one or both breasts during feeding.
Small Storage Capacity
This is when you probably never pump close to 4 oz even with missed feed, in average you may get ~75 ml per pumping sessions.
So, how will my baby get enough milk?
The secret?? Lean in...a little closer...ready...
If you have a small storage capacity expect to feed more frequently....12 times a day!
So let's look at a few reasons why your milk production might appear low,
Are you pumping frequently enough?
The key to milk production is nipple stimulation. Practice makes perfect and don’t get discouraged by the amount because it will build up overtime especially if baby is a newborn. N important pumping tips on how to effectively into your breast as well.
What is your baby’s age?
Don’t expect to pump a gallon of milk if you have a week old baby. Your body produces just enough milk in correlation to your baby stomach size. Baby’s stomach is the size of a cherry so you won’t pump a gallon of milk to fill up a marble sized stomach.
Are you supplementing with formula?
If you are supplementing and feeding baby with formula and you’re not removing the milk from the missed feed, your output will begin to lower. You’re sending a message to your brain that you no longer need this milk so you will see a decrease in your pump output. When Moms introduce formula expect to pump less than what your baby needs, especially in the beginning when you just started to increase your supply if you are not effectively moving the milk out of your breast AND supplementing.
What time are you pumping?
Milk production is the highest in the morning and specifically between the hours of 1 to 5AM so adding a pumping session during these times will produce an optimal amount of milk. On the flip side night milk production is lower which is why you might run into cluster feeding at night. Babies know what they’re doing so step back and let baby lead the way.
Have you changed your pump parts?
Pumping parts aren’t meant to last long they basically last about 60 to 80 sessions depending on the type of pump that you have. It’s important to replace your parts routinely to express the maximum amount of milk. We recommend the Spectra 1 or the Medela pump. Get out of your head. It’s all mental!
Honey, breast-feeding is 90% determination and 10% milk. How you feel about breast-feeding will affect your pumping output. When you stress out you release hormones into your bloodstream that inhibit and lowers milk production.
So, when you are pumping,grab a pair of your baby’s socks nd cover those bottles so that we take the numbers out of this equation and RELAX!! I used the traffic time during my days to pump, kept me distracted from my output and focused on the road and I usually pumped more when I was distracted.
Are you hor-motional?
Hormones play a part too. Birth control, menstrual cycle, insulin issues, I could go on. Also being pregnant will have an affect on the amount of milk you produce as well. Your body focuses on making a baby rather than making milk.
Pumping takes practice and will increase gradually so be patient, honey. I recommend not to pump until at least 6 weeks when your milk supply is established unless there is a medical or personal decision to exclusively pump. Excessive and early pumping can lead to an oversupply which can lead to medical conditions such as engorgement or mastitis if you don’t know how to properly express the milk in a timely manner.
I can help you, honey! Come on in and get this T.E.A.
Jada, The Milk Mechanic
3 Dewey, K.G. (2009). Infant feeding and growth. Advances in Experimental Medicine and Biology, 639, 57-66.