How much milk should I expect?

How much milk you can pump will vary. These are some of the factors:

  • Your baby's age. When breastfeeding is going well, you make more milk at one month than at one week.
  • Time since your last breastfeeding or pumping.
  • Time of day. Most moms pump more milk in the morning.
  • Pump quality.
  • How much practice you've had with your pump.
  • Your mood. If you're relaxed, you'll likely be able to pump more milk than if you're stressed.

If you are fully breastfeeding, here are some averages:

  • If you pump between breastfeedings, expect about half a feeding.
  • If you pump for a missed breastfeeding, expect a full feeding.

Feeding amounts will vary by your baby's age. During the first week, a feeding is about 1-2 ounces (30-60 ml). In weeks two to three, a feeding is about 2-3 ounces (60-90 ml). After week four, a feeding is about 3-4 ounces (90-120 ml).

Babies often take more milk from the bottle than you pump in one pumping session. This does NOT mean your milk supply is low.

The faster, steadier flow of the bottle may cause many babies to overfeed. When fed from the bottle, many babies feed less often. When fed at the breast, babies often feel full on less milk. These smaller, more frequent feedings promote healthy eating habits.

If your baby will be getting regular bottles, you may want to get the bottle with the slowest flow. A slower flow may help discourage overfeeding.

This is general information and does not replace the advice of your physician or healthcare provider. If you have a problem you cannot solve quickly, seek help right away.

Every baby is different, and your baby may not be average.
If in doubt, contact your physician or other healthcare provider.

Nancy Mohrbacher, IBCLC, FILCA, Lactation Consultant, Ameda Breastfeeding Products
Coauthor of Breastfeeding Made Simple: Seven Natural Laws for Nursing Mothers