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What is the average milk pumped per session?

Pumping breast milk is an important part of many new mothers’ routines. For working moms or those who need to be away from their baby, having a stash of pumped milk on hand ensures baby still gets all the nourishment of breastmilk. Knowing the average amount pumped per session can help moms set expectations and ensure their supply is adequate.

How much milk should I pump per session?

There is no single correct amount of milk to pump per session. The average amount pumped varies between women based on factors like:

  • Stage of lactation – Milk supply is still establishing in the early weeks and is highest around 1-3 months.
  • Time since last pump – Longer intervals between pumps means fuller breasts and more milk output.
  • Individual anatomy and physiology – Breast storage capacity and letdown vary.
  • Pump type and flange fit – Hospital grade pumps and properly fitted flanges improve output.
  • Pumping circumstances – Relaxation and hydration improve letdown.

Pumping output is not necessarily indicative of supply, as a baby is often better at removing milk from the breast than a pump. Focus more on your baby’s weight gain and output rather than pump totals.

What is the average amount pumped?

Research indicates the average pumping session yield is around 2-6 ounces total when pumping both breasts combined. However, this can vary significantly:

  • First 1-6 weeks: 1-4 ounces per session
  • 2-3 months: 5-8 ounces per session
  • 4-6 months: 9-11 ounces per session

A pump dependent exclusively on pumped milk often needs at least 19-30 ounces per day to meet baby’s needs.

Factors affecting pumping output

Several factors impact how much milk you can pump each session:

Time of Day

Milk supply follows circadian rhythms and is often greater in the morning and lowest in the evening and overnight. The early morning pumping session usually produces the most milk.

Stage of Lactation

Supply is still establishing in the early weeks and is highest around 1-3 months postpartum. It regulated around 3-4 months but remains substantial throughout the first year.


Mammary glands produce milk on a supply and demand basis. Longer intervals between pumping or nursing lead to fuller breasts, which results in higher output.

Pump Type and Settings

Hospital grade pumps empty the breasts more thoroughly. Pumps with suction and speed adjustments allow mothers to customize the settings to their body’s response.

Flange Fit

A tight flange compresses milk ducts while one too loose fails to empty the breast properly. An ill-fitting flange reduces pumping efficacy so having properly sized flanges improves output.


Stress and discomfort inhibit letdown and milk flow. Warm, relaxing settings and massage during pumping enhances milk ejection.


Dehydration impedes milk production. Drinking to thirst and consuming fluids during pumping helps optimize results.

How to increase pumped milk output

If your pumping output seems low, try these tips:

  • Pump after feedings or bursts of nursing
  • Add pumping sessions
  • Use breast massage and compression
  • Relax with meditation or favored rituals
  • Seek hands-on assistance from an IBCLC

Allowing plenty of time to build and maintain an adequate pumping stash is also key. Most moms need to pump at least 2-3 times per day to stockpile around 500+ ounces over several weeks.

Average milk pumped by week

Pumping output changes as breastmilk transitions through various stages:

Colostrum (Birth to 5 days)

  • 15-100 mL per day
  • Thick, yellowish appearance
  • Highly concentrated nutrition

Transitional Milk (2-4 weeks)

  • ~2 ounces per pumping session
  • Increasing white appearance
  • Higher lactose, fat, and calories

Mature Milk (3+ weeks)

  • 3-5 ounces per session
  • Mature white color
  • Balanced nutritional profile

This table provides an overview of typical milk volumes during the first 6 months postpartum:

Weeks Postpartum Average Ounces Per Session
0-1 week 0.5-1 ounce
2-3 weeks 1-3 ounces
1-2 months 3-5 ounces
2-3 months 5-8 ounces
4-6 months 7-10 ounces


The average amount pumped per session varies widely based on the stage of lactation, degree of fullness, pump type, and many other factors. While 2-6 ounces per session is typical, there is substantial individual variability. Focus more on ensuring your baby is satisfied and gaining weight appropriately rather than meeting a specific pumping output goal.

Mothers wanting to build a freezer stash can optimize pumping efficiency by adding sessions, pumping after feedings, massaging the breasts, staying hydrated, and seeking lactation support if needed. With consistency and effort, most mothers can produce plenty of milk to meet both baby’s and storage needs.