How Much Milk Will I Express?
Most moms make just the right amount for their baby.
When you start pumping or hand expressing, you may wonder how much breast milk you'll make. The good news is that most moms make the right amount for their baby. Your WIC breastfeeding staff can help you understand what to expect when you express milk.
If you are feeding your baby only breast milk, and it's going well, your milk production will increase over time to meet your growing baby's needs. Don't forget, your baby's tummy is tiny! When your baby nurses at your breast, you won't know exactly how much baby is eating. But be assured, draining your breasts well and often will naturally boost your milk supply during these early weeks.
Practice Makes Perfect
Expressing milk takes practice. You are training your body to respond to your hands or a pump like it does to your baby. In general, your baby is better at removing your milk than a pump or hand expression will be.
At first, you will probably be able to express small amounts. For most moms, this gradually increases as time goes on.
Factors That Affect How Much Milk You Express
There are many factors that affect how much milk you get from pumping:
- Your baby's age. In baby's first few weeks, your milk supply is still building.
- Whether you're exclusively breastfeeding—feeding your baby only breast milk.
- Time since your last breastfeeding or pumping session. Remember to keep all your feeding and pumping sessions. Skipping sessions will cause your breasts to make less milk.
- Time of day. The morning is a good time to get a lot of milk.
- Your nutrition. Eat well and drink plenty of fluids.
- How much milk your breasts can hold.
- Your pump quality and fit. Have your pump's suction tested, and make sure your flange is the right size. Your flange size can change over time or may be different for each breast.
Worrying is a normal part of being a new mom. Expressing milk is more pleasant when you know what to expect. Pumping and hand expression can be a great way to meet your breastfeeding goals and give you flexibility in feeding your baby. If any questions come up, check in with your WIC breastfeeding staff.