How Much Milk Should You be Pumping??
How much milk should you be pumping?? Many moms want to know this, but, unfortunately, there is no one size fits all answer. While we can’t tell you exactly how much milk you personally should be pumping, we can guide you to how often you should try to pump and whether you really need to be pumping at all. This blog post will cover how much milk you might pump if you’re exclusively breastfeeding and pumping occasionally, or if you’re exclusively pumping and pumping a lot!
If you’re a working mom who is worried about your milk supply, you are not alone! We’ve got a whole community of moms in your same situation in the Pumping for Working Moms Program. Here, moms bounce ideas off of each other and support one another. But, most importantly, the Pumping for Working Moms Program includes individualized help and support from a professional. Book a call to see if this program is the right fit for you!
New Little Life has a few different videos about milk supply. Check them out, below!
Celebrate Any Amount of Milk You Can Pump!
Before we dig deeper into how often you should pump, remember this: all breastmilk is amazing and any amount of liquid gold you save is precious! Try not to compare your stash with the month’s worth of frozen milk we often see on social media.
If you can only pump an extra 2 ounces a day, great! 10 oz? Awesome! Celebrate any amount of milk you work hard to pump for your baby.
In short, it doesn’t really matter how much milk you can pump. Get what you get and if you need more, try again tomorrow. You’ll find a system that works for you and in 3-7 days your milk supply should adjust to your extra pumpings. Be patient and thankful for every drop you do get!
Did you know? Most women have one breast that produces more than the other. It may not be apparent until you start pumping! Don’t worry if one breast consistently out preforms the other and size has nothing to do with it. In fact, most women have one breast slightly larger than the other and it’s often the slightly smaller breast that produces the most milk!
How Often Should You Pump When Exclusively Pumping?
The textbook answer for how often you should pump when you’re exclusively pumping is as often as baby would be eating at the breast, you should pump. This means pumping every 2-3 hours (8-10 times a day) when your baby is first born.
But, in the real world, this doesn’t always work out perfectly. Everyone is different! Your schedules are different, how you respond to a pump is different, and how much milk you are able to produce is probably different, too.
This is why we like working closely with moms in our Pumping for Working Moms Program on an individualized basis. With the help of a professional, you can work on a pumping schedule that will fit YOUR goals and needs. Book a consultation call, here, to see if this program is the right fit for you!
You can also check out this video for Allison’s take on Pinterest pumping schedules and how to create your own pumping schedule.
How Often Should You Pump When Exclusively Breastfeeding?
First, make sure to watch this video if you are exclusively BREASTFEEDING and feel like you should pump but you don’t know why.
Exclusively breastfeeding moms might want to pump to have a freezer stash for times they will be away from their baby. Remember, you really only need enough milk to feed your baby for the time you will be away from them.
If you really want to build that freezer stash, but you’re mainly feeding at the breast, start with adding in one pumping session every couple of days when the timing is right. If you want to start an aggressive stash, you can shoot for pumping once a day.
Pumping more than once per day really isn’t necessary unless you’re trying to stock up for a major event, a long time away from your baby, heading back to work soon, etc. More than once a day will be difficult and you risk not having enough milk to keep baby nourished and healthy.
You Can Cause an Oversupply From Pumping
We hear so much about low milk supply, but did you know oversupply is also a problem for breastfeeding moms? If you add in 3-4 pumping sessions on top of exclusively breastfeeding, in a few days you’ll end up with A LOT of extra milk! This can cause engorgement, clogged ducts, mastitis, and other problems with oversupply.
Find the balance between building up a breastmilk stock and your sanity. What are your reasons for having some extra milk in the freezer? How much do you really need? You may find you only need 5-6 bags to have “just in case” and that’s fairly easy to do over a months time. Don’t let the fear of running out of milk cause more stress than it’s worth.
Get Breast Milk from or Give Breast Milk to a Milk Bank
What can you do if you run out of your freezer stash of breast milk or you’re not producing what baby needs? You can try your Local Milk Bank or Human Milk 4 Human Babies on Facebook (There’s a different FB group per state) to find some donor breastmilk near you.
These milk banks are also great resources if you end up with EXTRA breastmilk! Many moms for a variety of reasons need extra breast milk. You can really make a difference in tiny lives by donating or selling your extra breastmilk.
Don’t skip this section! After you’ve worked hard to pump extra breastmilk, you need to store it properly or it’s wasted effort.
Breastmilk stays fresh for:
- 4 hours at room temperature
- 4 days in the fridge
- 6 months in the freezer (up to 12 months if in a deep freezer)
- Frozen milk is good for 24 hours in the fridge after being thawed
Breastmilk specific freezer bags are best for freezing your milk.
What to Do about High Lipase
If you’ve never frozen milk before, you’ll want to freeze some, thaw it, and feed it to your baby to make sure there aren’t any issues. Many moms find their milk tastes/smells sour after thawing and their babies won’t drink it. You’ll definitely want to know this BEFORE you freeze all your hard pumped milk!
You can read more about this common high lipase issue in this post here. You can also watch our video on scalding your breastmilk before freezing to avoid a high lipase problem.
Keep in mind, you’ll want to store milk in 2-3 ounce bags to avoid waste, even if you pump more in a single session! If you freeze in large quantities, you have to thaw and use the entire amount within 24 hours.
Where to Find More Info on Breastfeeding and Pumping
Combining breastfeeding and pumping is our specialty here at New Little Life. We’ve got our Pumping for Working Moms Program for moms that need individualized help and support in meeting their breastfeeding and pumping goals.
We’ve also got our Facebook page, Breast Pump Reviews: Pumping Support for Working Moms. It’s a great community full of moms and breast pump enthusiasts that share great tips and tricks!
And, our YouTube channel has TONS of video resources covering all things breast pumps, milk supply, pumping schedules and MORE!
We’re happy you found us and hope these resources help you along your breastfeeding/pumping journey!