It’s really common for mums to worry if they are making enough breastmilk for baby, and this is often highlighted even more if mum is expressing milk with a pump as she can monitor the volume that fills the bottle. Don’t be surprised if you don’t pump much at all – a breast pump is never as efficient at getting milk compared to a baby feeding at breast. It also takes time to get use to pumping, enabling letdown on demand, and time to build up the amount of milk that you can express at each session. It’s very common not to get a large volume of milk straight away. It also takes time for your body to adjust to the changes in demand and therefore supply.
Just remember that whatever breastmilk you are providing for your baby – we think you are doing an AWESOME job, and congratulate you!!!!!!
We asked this question with our mum community, and have the following experiences about expressing breast milk to share.
Q: What volume of milk can you pump?
Q: How much milk do you get?
Q: How much did you get when you first started out?
Here are their replies about expressing.
it’s been a while since I had to express but I was expressing full time, very rarely offering boob (severe pain issues), I’d get about 200ml most of the time, probably closer to 50ml when I first started. I only did it for 9 weeks though
I express after a feed if I’m engorged and would be almost 200mls from both breast within half an hour! I only express before a feed if I’m heading out and I know I won’t be able to breastfeed easily and then give that to my son before we go out or while we are out. I think the very first expressing I did, I got about 80mls.
When my bub was born he was prem so for the first 4 or so weeks he was tube fed. At first I only got a few drops then after a few weeks I could get 200ml each expressing. With his reflux at 3 months he swapped to only ebm. I could only get 150ml each expressing depending on how he was going and I was feeling. Now when I express I get nothing 20mls if I’m lucky bub is almost 1 however I have heaps of milk.
When my second daughter was about 6months old I was easily able to express about 250mls. I always expressed before a feed so that bubs could then drain me (if she was still hungry I used to offer some of the expressed milk or solids – although that didn’t happen often).
When she was first born I was using a pump and was only getting 20-30mls! Once I started hand expressing I was able to get out 100mls easily (she was about 1.5mths by the time I starting hand expressing) 🙂
I would get more at night. They say it’s very important to express at least once in the middle of the night.
I didn’t express with my first and my second I didn’t express till she was about 2 months but was getting between 200-250ml at a time
These days I can get around 180ml, but I don’t have to do it very often these days. I have a 4 month old son. I first started expressing when bubs was born so it built up from nothing to 10ml to around 100 then it stalled and went backwards because I was struggling to get bubs to the breast (so I was exclusively expressing). Went down to 30 – 40ml (total from both sides even without bf first) and had to go on medications for my supply. Went to hand expressing for a little while and got back up to 100ml instantly and built from there. I was taught by the LC at the hospital to feed then express immediately – at first that was fine, but then I was getting nothing out straight away – I soon realized if I waited about 30 minutes after breastfeeding I got more out. Keep up the hard work Kelly – I know it can be really hard to express and have to bottle feed (worst of both worlds as someone put it), but you are doing a wonderful thing for your bubba!
I expressed morning and night without offering boob to bubs so I could increase my milk supply and start a store for when I returned to work. At first I was only getting like 20mls but after a couple of months I could get off over 250mls from just one breast. I’ve now returned to work and am expressing while at work to give to my baby the next day. I def don’t get off as much now I am working and its no where near what he can eat (I am only getting around 100-150mls now) I’ve also been told you only express off half of what your baby can get off coz they are more effective Keep it up kelly it does get better 🙂
I express Monday to Thursday and I get approx 180ml in the morning off one boob in approx 15mins and at lunch I get approx 150ml of each boob in about 45mins
100ml each breast when my milk came in properly. Used to come shooting out after a feed and I would catch it in a bottle and then transfer to the Breastmates milk bags and into the freezer it goes!
I solely expressed for both babies due to their issues 🙂 I used to get out about 900-1000mls each day which was enough to feed them on just breastmilk. By 6months the supply tended to drop off though. Used a double electric pump.
I only express once or twice a week and do it first thing in the morning and get about 50 – 100mls, I feed on one side first then express on the other side and then feed (about 1/2hr later) on the expressed side. I only express though when I have very full boobs otherwise it’s just not worth the effort! With my first daughter I had to express for every feed, started off very slow but the more you do it the quicker it gets and the more you get, once back on the boob I still expressed every morning and normally would get enough for 1 feed easily.
I would get 70 mls in the morning, which dwindled down during the day to about 20mls at night that was solely expressing and post breast reduction
I expressed for both my boys (first for 3 months, second for 6-8 weeks).
In the early days I would get about 30 mls per boob, it would take about ten minutes each side. Once my milk came in (and BOY did it come in) I would get 80-100mls each side taking about five minutes each side.
I used to express after each feed – in the early days I would breastfeed first (unsuccessfully) then express afterwards and I always had about 2-3 feeds in the fridge ready for feeds.
If I do an ‘express o’ clock’ (aka, a set time to express every day) and supplements, about 120ml in about 30 minutes, both sides with a medela swing pump. I started at around 20ml from both sides 🙂 And that’s with bub being 13 months 😉
I get 125ml off after a feed. I express every 2nd day so DH can give a bottle sometimes.
when I started I could get about 100ml altogether each night at 9pm while bubs was asleep- his last feed being at about 6/7pm. now I express at work and get only 20-80ml at a go. I have a manual pump which I find works a lot better for me than the electric pump that I tried. I have also found that I get a lot more milk off when I am away with my husband than I do at work ;). Talking on the phone to my husband- about our son- also helps.
I express, usually in the morning when I’m feeling very ‘full’ and can be immediately either side of my boy’s first feed. I’m a very good dairy cow and get anything from 170-200ml from one side (started out getting about 100ml). I’ve only ever BF from one side at a time. Hope this helps.
First child, I would feed from one side then express from the other and get 200ml. 2nd child I could do the same but he wouldn’t take a bottle so the need wasn’t there. Never had any problems expressing with those two even in the early days. Baby no.3, I had heaps of problems getting milk out but I rarely felt let down with her even when feeding her.
Baby no.4, no problems expressing could get 200mls a time.
my milk came in like mad when Seth was 5days old so much so that he couldn’t latch so I had 2 express and was able to get 180mls (60 out of each did this for about 4odd days) but I never stuck to the expressing only done it every now and then and was only ever able to get very small amounts after that (have tried to express again lately and was only able to get 10ml if that) Seth is now 5months and breast fed – maybe a hand expresser would be different
My son is almost 10mths, I express when I’m at work and get 80-100mls off each side (so about 180ml total) using a manual pump. I’ve tried and electric one but didn’t like it as much.
I expressed full time due to my son not latching. Expressed after each for 10-15 minutes & would get about 250mls from each breast. Did this for 5 months but at about 3-4 months was expressing less & some days would only get 100mls from each breast. I had a good stock in the fridge & freezer. I’m sure if I have continue expressing after each feed the supply would not have gone down too much.
I don’t need to express for my son, he just has it straight from the tap. However, I do express once or twice a day for another baby, and I am able to get about 50-100ml each time, sometimes my breasts don’t cooperate
though and will only let down for my son.
I started with just boob and at about 2 months my daughter started doing this thing where she would pull off and scream every 2 minutes so I switched to expressing and would pump out about 30 mls at first but that increased to about 60 to 120 mls. I later went back to boob at about 5 months and have been bf ever since (My girl is 1 in 4 days!!)
I expressed when my nipple was sore Which was quite a lot in the beginning .I would get 50 to ml or more depending if I was stressed or not.
I’m back at work I express twice a day and give the morning and night feeds straight from the breast. When I started off I struggled to get 80ml total from both breasts, but two weeks later get 120ml – 300ml in a session. I found lactation cookies helped up my supply, I’d recommend giving them a try.
Have been having some thrush issues at the mo so doing a lot of expressing. 1st thing in morning can get 200ml easy per boob more if I try. As the day wears on I seem to produce less or it flows slower but can still get 100 – 150ml each time. My baby is nearly 4 months old and is a massive baby with a large appetite though so I wouldn’t expect everyone to get the same amount. Just remember you make what you take so if you pump too much you will make more the next day.
I expressed fulltime exclusively from the time my baby was 3 weeks old to 5 months old. I expressed about 6 – 7 times a day and expressed around 1.2 litres of milk a day. In the earlier days I would get up to around 1.5 litres a day, and then I would aim at getting around 1.2 litres a day once I knew on average what my baby needed. Any excess milk I would freeze, and had about 5 litres of milk in the freezer.
I don’t express at the moment, but when I did I would get between 180-220 mls. When first starting out I would about 120-150
I did receive a lot of comments that if I exclusively expressed that my milk supply would slowly diminish. I found these comments to not be true in my case, as I could have carried on expressing for many months. The only reason I stopped expressing was because I returned to work fulltime when my baby was 3 1/2 months old and obviously was trying to get a balance with the expressing during work hours.
It’s also worth trying different pumps – I started off with a Tommee Tippee electric one, and while ok for occasional expressing wasn’t the best for frequent pumping – I switched to using the Medela Lactina double (it’s a hospital grade one you can hire) and the milk just shoots out now.
I feed off one boob, and at the same time express off the other – this way I get the most milk at time of let down – can express up to 150ml at a time (this is done usually at 4am feed or 7am)
I started pumping when my baby was 8 weeks old, to prepare for going back to work at 13 weeks. It took me about a week to get anything at all, (visually waterfalls finally worked) and then it took ages to build up to 25-50 mls. I used to pump after breastfeeding, and by the time I had gone back to work, I was freezing 250 mls a day as well as feeding full time. I expressed for 6 months and only stopped a couple of weeks ago, it just got too hard. (I now pop down to daycare for one feed, and he has one bottle of rice milk). I was never able to express enough to match what I would give him when I was with him, but he got into the routine of less bottles at daycare. I averaged 300 mls a day. (Pumping three times, set times) I noticed that days I didn’t eat breakfast BEFORE I left home, it was less, and if I didn’t drink insane amounts of water, it dropped immediately. Expressing really showed me how much you need to eat and drink water while breastfeeding.
I expressed while still pregnant (my milk came in b4 the birth), breastfed both twins for 14months and still boobfeed one.
My miss 5 wks has problems feeding so I breastfeed her for 30min then give bottle of ebm. I started out getting 50ml now I get between 100 and 250ml. I express 30min after feeding start with breast didn’t feed bubs from
I used to get only 15 mls when babe was little-I expressed because of mastitis- I express when at work once in 12 hr shift and get between 200- 400mls . My boy will feed up to 10 times a day, so there’s always a lot to drain.
My bub is 10 months and expressing when at work and can get 150ml with electric. At first I expressed around 100ml as I had to bottle feed at 3weeks due to nipple thrush (painful)! When we dropped night feed I could get extra 200ml after morning feed.
There are some awesome breast milk producers out there 🙂 I tried expressing but found I’d get sweet nothing so I ended up leaving it till I settled bubs in the evening and knew I’d get about 3hours break, so about 10 I’d get maybe 50ml after about 10mins of expressing (took that long for me to letdown) I think my personal best was 80ml off one side, but in the beginning it was maybe 10 -20mls so disheartening.. Needless to say I gave up the whole idea of expressing and just have my kids feeding off me now.
WOW, I used a hospital pump for 6 weeks, pumping after EVERY feed to get up my milk supply and got 10-15mls after each pump. That was on domperidone as well ended up having to give it up as my wee girl was just so hungry and I was giving more formula then breast milk anyway.
I have been expressing exclusively since my baby was 1 week old due to damaged nipples and mastitis. I initially got 10ml!! But then was advised tohire a medela breast pump which worked really well. I started getting 80-100ml every 3-4 hours but now (7 weeks down the line) I get 40ml per hour in total so about 240ml every 6 hours. Now that my milk is flowing better, I have returned the medela pump and am using my Avent electric pump. I do not find it much of a mission as I e-mail or watch TV while I do it and make sure that I am always one bottle ahead of baby so that I express once she has eaten and gone back to sleep.
I had to start express the day my son was born and every day for a wk as he needed surgery. first time I got 70mls and 120mls 2hrs later after that every time was between 250mls-300mls for the rest of the wk. the following week I was allowed to feed my soon but I had to express off 100mls first, feed him then express anything left which was usually 180mls. Had to do that right up until I went back to work when he was 13wks when I would then express every 2.5hrs 400-500mls in 15mins.managed to keep that up for a year.
I express 2 x a day (I work part time) so I express at night (before bed) and get about 125ml & during the day at work I express about 150-175ml (on a good day – 50ml on a stressful day). So = about 300ml a day. It usually takes me 10-15 minutes to get this. I have found looking at pictures I’ve taken on my cell phone really helps the flow come really fast, oh and a huge deep breath in and out really relaxes me. I use Medela Harmony (hand pump) and its ultra easy. Biggest advice if your having problems is to try to relax, if its not coming, go have a shower or take a drink of water and try again. I do have off days were about 10-25 mls comes out and that’s it, but I just try again later and it tends to work. I now have a big supply in the freezer (as he only takes 50-100ml at daycare while I work) so will be good for solids time… I had a really hard time starting out and was ready to give up BFing all together. The more support I got the easier it was.
Started out only getting 20ml ended up getting 120ml off each side. Reducing stress helps!
Oh, and I found rescue remedy helped my milk supply more than other natural remedies or supplements because I think my low milk
The most important ingredients are the brewers yeast and the oats; you can get the brewers yeast at a health food shop.
I had terrible trouble with Thrush with my first and the only thing that kicked it was a good dose of Diflucan (8 weeks of it – need a specialist to authorize) for me, Daktarin oral gel for the baby and a low sugar and no yeast diet. Thrush is actually Candida and Candida thrives on sugar and yeast. If the infection goes past the nipples into the ducts as mine did, it then easily travels into the blood and becomes systemic. You then need to starve it out. Takes a long time but you can do it. I also tried gentian violet but that didn’t work as the Thrush was too far gone.
With regards to pumping I fully expressed for my son till 6 weeks as I had major nipple damage, Thrush and a baby who wouldn’t put his tongue down so literally couldn’t latch. In the end with the help of a lactation consultant we got back to bf’ing. I was expressing around 1000mls a day for him and he was drinking it all. When I had mastitis I was only getting 10mls! But with the help of domperidone and fenugreek supplements along with 2 hourly pumping round the clock for 2 weeks I finally got my supply up. Second time around I have had mastitis twice but managed to keep bf’ing. I express once a day now just to empty the breast and massage out any lumps. I give my daughter the milk later in the day.
I haven’t tried expressing for a while now, my son is 6 months old.
In the past when I have tried, I only get around 20mL and I decided that for all the stress of trying to get enough for one feed that I would give him a bottle of formula if the need arises.
Baby is 98% breastfed with a bottle only if I am out and going to miss a feed and takes both the bottle with formula and the breast fine. And I am a lot less stressed.
when I expressed for my 1st baby who was 13wks premie I would double express I would get 2x 100ml bottles + every 2 hrs I felt like a jersey cow but as time went by when he was about 6mths I would get 2x150ml but every 4 hrs n now with my 2nd I just BF
I have exclusively expressed for my son as he was born with cleft lip and palate. He is now close to 12months and still feeding once a day about 250ml which is good coos it’s about all I’m making. But I expressed pre-birth getting about 5 -15mls per day in a syringe. This was done with support and advice of lactation consultant. I froze the milk and took it with me when I was in labour, this was a godsend 4 the first day then when milk came in quickly made up 2 1500mls per day. I express often and double pump – it is not worth mucking around with single. Eat oats my milk always dropped if I didn’t eat porridge 4 breakfast and lots of water. It is a commitment but possible 2 do this. I was lucky with a supportive husband and a 2year old who wasn’t terrible, as well as wonderful professionals.
I’m still breastfeeding my 16 month old. I’ve always had poor supply despite trying all the usual methods/herbs to increase it so it may just be age + less hormones as I’m 42. It took me 3 months when my son was born to switch from formula to being fully breastfed and managed to accomplish this by using domperidone tablets. I express when I am at work for him to use at preschool the following day. I express both sides on 2 separate times to get a maximum of 130ml
I express as I have more milk than my baby feeds on so it can get quick sore especially in the morning if he hasn’t fed well during the night so only way to relieve it
I pump because I’m back at work and need to provide two feeds for during the day while he’s at daycare.
With my first I pumped once or twice/day out of worry, in between feeds & would get 80-180mls in total. Ended up with such a stash of milk I gave it up after a few weeks & only expressed when I could foresee the need for a bottle-feed. The type of pump made a difference. I used an Avent Manual pump & this was excellent.
I’m currently BFeeding my second baby & haven’t expressed much, so haven’t built up an extra supply for it, but when I do I can get around 80ml total.
If you’re worried about how much milk you have, best you can do is just keep on feeding him rather than topping him up. After about three days you should have more milk 🙂
I pump to provide breast milk for my 16 month old son to use at preschool – he can’t drink cow’s milk due to allergies.
I use a Chuchu teat for my son’s bottles when he is in care so he will still BF when with me. He has to work to get the milk out of those teats rather than it just falling out.
I am expressing once a day at work and get about 150-170mls in total aver about 30 – 40 minutes. Is great as is an enforced lunch break! I express at home if my son hasn’t fed that well (he has days when not that interested) to make sure that my supply is maintained as has dropped in the past.
Early on I was told by a lactation consultant to express after each feed to help get my supply up. Later I started expressing maybe 100ml before the first 2 morning feeds (to relieve pressure to make it easier for bub to latch and also so it wouldn’t rush out at her so she’d have to gulp it).
Now that she’s settled into a feeding pattern I’ll express 200ml off before I go to bed (the whole amount from both breasts), and if she doesn’t wake for a night feed I’ll express 100ml off each side in the morning before she gets up too. my bub is almost 4 months and has 4 feeds during the day spaced ~4 hours apart, sometimes she’ll wake for a night feed but other nights she’ll sleep right through. Hard to tell. But I’ve usually for 200ml to freeze everyday