Increasing Pump Output

any advice to increase my pump output and supply in the evenings?

Overnight and during the day baby feeds really well, but come the evening she fusses at the breast and gets distressed. As a result she won’t latch properly and can’t get any milk.

Milk supply varies throughout the day, and then also changes over weeks and months. As long as baby is offer breast on cue, your milk supply will typically accommodate baby’s needs. However, it is very common for babies to be much fussier in the evenings, and I can understand that it feels like you have no milk. I see you said you have tried pumping, but that you don’t have anything available when you try at those times.  Remember that a baby suckling at your breast is always more efficient than using a breast pump. So it may be better to try and offer baby breast more often in the evening, or cluster feed, rather than pumping off milk. It can be disheartening when a pump doesn’t get much milk.

TIP: if you are worried about volume when you use a pump, cover the bottle so that you don’t see the milk so you aren’t focussing on that.  Use a baby sock to cover the bottle!

If you feel like you need a little assistance to boost your milk supply in the evening, you could try any of our Milk Boosters  such as the biscuits or drinks.   We suggest you try one at a  time, don’t take everything at once.


I try pumping around that time to increase the likelihood of there being readily available milk but I get nothing.

Do you feel like you have low output from a pump?
If you are pumping and feel like the amount of milk and output is a problem, it could be due to a few factors.

  • The amount you pump each day will vary, you won’t always fill the same volume.  Variation is normal, so don’t get caught up on volume.
  • It can be stressful if you feel like you’re not going to be able to express enough for baby’s feed.
  • No pump can remove milk from the breast as well as a nursing baby, so pumping does not maintain milk supply as well as breastfeeding.
  • It is not unusual to need to pump 2-3 times to get enough milk for one feeding for baby
  • Milk pumped when you are breastfeeding full-time is “extra” milk — over and beyond what baby needs.
  • Don’t get discouraged if you are trying to build up a freezer stash when breastfeeding full time and don’t get much milk per pumping session — this is perfectly normal and expected.
  • It is normal for pumping output to vary from session to session and day to day. Having an occasional low volume day is not unusual.
  • Remember that the amount of milk that you pump is not a measure of the milk supply available to your baby at the breast!
Breastmates Breast Milk Storage Bags
Breastmates Breast Milk Storage Bags

During a growth spurt, don’t be surprised if baby drinks more expressed milk than usual, or is fussy and harder to settle; making it harder for mum to provide enough expressed milk. Growth spurts are temporary – try increasing nursing and adding a pumping session  until the growth spurt is over.   Growth spurts are the most common reason for fussy babies in the evening.

How can I increase pumping output?
To speed milk production and increase overall milk supply, the key is to remove more milk from the breast and to do this frequently, so that less milk accumulates in the breast between feedings.

Increasing frequency

  • Breastfeed more often when you are with your baby. Nursing with baby is always going to be the best way to produce more milk
  • Are you pumping frequently enough? If necessary, when pumping times are very limited, adding even a short 5 minute pumping session is better than not pumping at all.
  • Try pumping after baby feeds at breast, or pump one side while baby nurses on the other side. You might also try pumping while baby is napping, at night, or when baby goes longer than usual between breastfeeding.
  • Try cluster pumping, instead of a regular nursing/pumping session. Sit down with your baby and your pump, and nurse and pump every half-hour to hour for several hours.
  • Some mums find it helpful to do a 2-3 day long power pump every couple of weeks to “super charge” their milk supply.
Breastmates Booster Biscuit Mix
Breastmates Booster Biscuit Mix

Galactagogues and Milk Booster
• Eating oatmeal and staying hydrated is very helpful for increasing pumping output. It can be helpful to snack on protein-rich foods during the day and to have something to drink every time you sit down to pump or breastfeed.
• Many mums have gotten good results using to increase supply, either on a short- or long-term basis by using any of the Milk Boosters on our Breastmates website, we have a range of low calorie options here.

Give yourself a pat on the back, you are doing awesome!!!!