How Much Milk Should I Be Pumping In One Week?

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It’s not unusual for nursing mothers to be concerned about their milk yield or production.

Many nursing mothers have spoken to me in the past, expressing their concern about their milk yield.  

These nursing mothers often feel they are producing an insufficient quantity of milk from their breast pumps or during their pumping sessions. 

They say things like “my neighbor pumps two full bottles and me usual pump only one full bottle.”

These mothers are always second-guessing their production, comparing it with the quantity produced the previous day.

You don’t have to freight about how much you should pump anymore after reading this write up. The first thing I would let you know in this article is the right amount of milk you should be pumping in a week. 

So how much milk should I be pumping in one week as a new mom?

You should be pumping, on average, a full milk production of up to 800 mL (about 30oz every 24 hours. This will not happen instantly, so there’s no need trying to hit this target on day one. If you have adequate milk in the bottle, babies may take more of that than when they’re breastfed.

I would include actual numbers expected (8), this number would help you know what to expect and help you worry less.

These numbers are not some bogus, cooked-up but from actual nursing mothers who pump. 

One thing, experience has shown that when most mothers compare their pumping numbers with lots of mothers, theirs are not far off. These usually allay their fears for some time. 

However, before we can tell you how much milk you should be pumping in a week, we should let you know factors that can affect the quantity of milk you should be pumping.

Less Produced In the First Weeks.

Nursing mothers should expect less milk would be pumped in the beginning when they start to breastfeed exclusively.

The quantity of milk would pick up gradually as days turns into weeks and months. 

After the first month of exclusive breastfeeding, the number would increase from approximate 30ml to over 800ml by the end of the first month. 

Additionally, pumping the breast often would increase the quantity of milk produced by your chest. What nursing mothers should understand is your body produce more milk- boosting hormones as your baby nurse. 

Mothers who have more than one child often compare their milk production from their first baby to the current one.

There may be some misplaced thoughts from some of them because they often remember when the pump quantity was at their peak and not the amount produced at the beginning. 

One thing most mothers should take note of is that they should pump less as their milk production rise.

Storage Capacity 

Though it’s true, your milk production would rise gradually. The quantity produced by nursing mothers during each pumping session differ.

While some would produce as much as 120ml in the first one week, others might produce 30 to 40ml in the first one week per pumping session. 

The reason for this difference is because of the breast storage capacity of each mother. There are three primary forms of storage capacities for mothers.

1). Large storage capacity.

If you as a nursing mother producing more than 140ml each pumping session from your two breasts, you have ample storage capacity.

As nursing mothers don’t panic or become worried when you see your neighbor or friend produce this quantity, and you are producing less.

The difference in storage capacity does not mean you are not producing enough from each pumping session. All you should worry about as a nursing mother is the health of your baby and if he is getting adequate breast milk.

2). Average storage capacity.

Mothers with average storage capacity produce about 110mL per each pumping session from each breast.

3). Small storage capacity.

Mothers with small storage capacity never produce more than 75mL per pumping session. 

As a mother, you will know the form of storage facility you belong to from your baby. If your baby nurse from both breasts once during each breastfeeding session, then you have an average storage capacity.

When your baby can only nurse from one breast at a time, you have ample storage capacity. For those in the small storage category, your baby would nurse regularly — up to 10 times in a day or more.

Practice Leads to Perfection

Before you engage in pumping, you should know that your body would need a little time before it responds to your pumping the way you would want.

Initially, your pumping session would produce Little quantity of milk, but the number would start to ramp up with time.

The general misconception most mothers have is the quantity obtained by each pump session is the amount produced. This statement is not usually the case. Especially in the initial stage of pumping.

Generally, in the first few days of pumping. Though your body is producing the right quantity of milk and use of a high – quality pump, mothers find engaging in pumping tricky at the initial stage.

Time is a Factor

The time you are pumping your breast during the day affects the yield; you can get out of your breasts.

Hormones responsible for milk production is most active between midnight and early hours of the morning. 

Most nursing mothers don’t know that the hormones responsible for milk production in breasts fluctuate during the day.

If you take advantage of these fluctuations and pump at the stipulated time, you will get the best of your pumping sessions. 

The knowledge of this fluctuation would also help you stop worrying when you don’t get the same quantity of milk at other times of the day.

Check the Pump

When you have been pumping for some time, and the quantity of milk begins to drop.

You need to check the pump valves in it. Blocked valves or damaged valves can affect the pump yield.

Another thing you need to be aware of as a mother if you notice a decrease in the return is to check the quality of the pump used. Whether the pump valves fit as well should be considered because if it doesn’t fit, it can cause the nipples to be stressed.

The problem that this can cause a reduction in the quantity of milk pumped.  The quality of the pump used can affect the ability of the breast pumps to drain the breast completely.

I suggest you consult a lactation expert before you purchase a breast pump. Aside from consulting an expert, you can check the detailed review of different pumps to have an idea of which one to buy.

Also, the technique used in pumping can affect your pumping yield. Let me explain.

If you don’t use the right pumping techniques or tips such as handle the appropriate size of breast shield or do what is known as hands-on pumping, the pump yield can be small. A hands-on pumping is when a mother makes use of her hands to press the nipples during pumping sessions.

The other method is called hands – free pumping. Here the mother doesn’t make use of her hands to squeeze the nipples.

Hormonal Problems

If you are among those who use birth control meds,  diabetes and thyroid problems.

These health issues can affect hormonal balance in the body. The hormonal balance can affect the milk produced through the pumps.

The Baby’s Age

The age of your baby affects how much breast milk they would consume.

For a baby who is around one week old, he won’t drink more than 40mL at a time. With this amount of consumption, the breast milk pumped would be a lot more. 

As the baby becomes older, their feeding improves, and this would mean less quantity of milk pumped.

The baby’s consumption gets to its peak period around six weeks old. So they would consume more at this age. 

We have already started that the more your baby drinks, the more the body would produce. The increase in production would not mean more milk would be pumped because the baby is consuming.

Are You Breastfeeding Exclusively?

A baby enjoying exclusive breastfeeding would only feed with breast milk without a baby formula or any other solids. 

The fact is, a mother who placed her baby on exclusive breastfeeding would produce more milk than a mother who is using the baby formula regularly.

The reason for this is because a mother on exclusive breastfeeding would produce more milk than a mother who makes use of baby formula. 

A mother who is making use of baby formula would produce approximately half of what a mother who is one exclusive breastfeeding, especially if your baby is between one and six months old.

The Time Between Your Last Pump Session

After a mother who is one exclusive breastfeeding which has used breast pumps for some time would expect to pump about half a feeding bottle. Especially if your pumping between regular feeding of your baby.

The actual number would be around 40mL to 60mL. If you are pumping before feeding or after missed feeding by the baby, you might get around 90mL and 110mL if this pumping is after about one month.

A Mother’s Emotional State.

If you are under a lot of stress or angry when you pump,  hormones released can affect your quantity of milk produced or milk flow.

When this happens, you should take a break and try pumping the breast later when you are less stressed or have calmed down.

Use of Supplements or Formula

I know I have talked about this. Briefly, I feel I should shed more light on it. When you make use of supplements to feed your baby, the milk yield will diminish.

The reason for this is your body would notice the decrease in the number of times you breastfeed the baby.

Your body would interpret this reduction to mean you don’t need much milk any more.

As a mother making use of supplements, before you complain about your friend or neighbor get more breast milk out of her pump session find out if they are using supplements or not.

Pump Suction

Most mothers have this misconception that when the pump suction is strong or tight, it will yield more milk after each pump session.

This thought is wrong. From research, we have discovered that when the suction of the pump is too strong, the result would be discomfort. This discomfort can cause milk flow to decrease. 

The right setting of the pump suction differs from one person to the other because of the different shapes of the nipple.

However, the optimal of the pump suction would be the most comfortable one without any discomfort.

Now, as mother worrying about the amount of milk you produce per pimping is not essential. What you should worry about or be concerned about are these:

Total Pump Output

Checking your total pump output should be your primary concern. Don’t panic about your output per session but your complete pump out for the day.

Don’t Compare Yourself With Other Mothers

Don’t feel upset when others tell you they are producing more than you are. You do remember that your body is unique, and so also is your baby feeding habit.

You should be okay with whatever quantity of milk you are producing per day.

Baby Growth Is the Most Important

Instead of comparing yourself with others and complaining. The health and growth of your baby should be you’re most concerned.

Find out if your baby is gaining the right amount of weight. You can have a growth chart to be sure the baby is growing adequately. 

However, you should be careful when using a growth chart because the growth chart for a baby who is being fed supplements or formula and that of a baby on exclusive breastfeeding is different.

Most mothers don’t know this, and it makes them worry unnecessarily. 

You must have confidence in your ability to produce enough breast milk for your baby production.

Loss of confidence can make your milk quantity diminish as a result of worry and panic, causing emotional problems for you.

Conclusion

The quantity of milk you should be pumping after one week differ from one mother to another. 

Based on the different factors we have talked about here. The most important thing is to understand your body and your baby’s feeding habits. This knowledge would stop you from worrying. 

These numbers can be higher or lower depending on lots of factors. Therefore don’t panic if you are under these number after pumping for a week.

From all of us here, we wish you and your baby all the best.