If you are a parent who has pumping needs, chances are you have asked yourself if the amount you are pumping is normal or if it is enough to feed your baby. The answer is, probably!
Both of these bottles of pumped milk in the picture are totally within normal range when it comes to pumping output. And these bottles have expressed milk from *both* breasts combined.
The first bottle has close to three ounces, and this milk was pumped to replace a breastfeeding session while mom was at work.
The second bottle has about one ounce of expressed milk. This milk was pumped in the morning about an hour after a breastfeeding session. This milk was just being stored to use later.
Both of these amounts are appropriate when you are pumping milk. Sometimes it can be shocking, especially for people who are first time pumpers, to see that their milk may not be filling up these seemingly small bottles. But guess what? This milk fed babies, and it fed them exclusively and without supplementation.
If your normal is different than this, that’s OK too. Some people respond super well to the pump and have no problem pumping more than several ounces from each breast. As long as that isn’t interfering with your daily routine or feeding goals, you’re good to go on that front!
If you have the need to pump for your baby, chances are, if you have a pump that fits your pumping needs, if your flanges fit well, and you are pumping frequently enough, you’ll have the right amount of milk for feeding them. And if you aren't sure about your pump or pumping routine, your IBCLC can guide you to a pump and pumping plan that fits your needs and feeding goals.
So what is normal pumping output? Well, if you are pumping in addition to feeding your baby, it is completely normal to pump anywhere from .5-2 ounces for both breasts combined.
If you are pumping to replace a feeding session, your output will likely be higher - anywhere from about 2-4 ounces for both breasts combined.
Is that enough milk to feed your baby? Yes! Breastfed babies generally take small meals frequently, so anywhere from about 2-4 ounces every 2-3 hours or so is enough milk for most babies if you are giving them expressed milk in place of direct feeding.
Some babies do take a little more. It's important that you consider your baby's growth (we love when babies are growing well!) as well as their cues for hunger and satisfaction with feedings. Pace-feeding bottles and using the appropriate bottle nipple is very helpful too.
Lactation consultants love to help you feed your baby, and this includes every way that you want or need to feed your baby - breastfeeding, pumping, exclusive pumping, supplementing, and everything in between.
If you feel like your pumping routine could use some tweaking, or if you need help figuring out how much milk your baby needs to be happy and growing well, we can help with that.