How much milk do I need to pump?

Beth - posted on 01/23/2010 ( 8 moms have responded )

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My son is almost 4 months old and I've been very fortunate to be able to stay home with him until now. For the last couple of weeks I've been casually looking for a part time job, and ended up getting hired on the spot yesterday for a great pt position. The only problem is that I start on Monday with an 8 hour shift and I'm nervous I won't be able to pump enough to feed Tyler all day! I hadn't been stockpiling in the freezer because I didn't expect it to all happen so quickly. He typically eats about every 3-4 hours, but we've really kept the bottle (pumped milk) to a minimum since until now there was very little need, so I'm not sure how much he's eating. How much do you think is enough?

Thanks!!!

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Patricia - posted on 01/23/2010

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Okay I'm a veteran breastpumper! :) I've always used a medela dual electric pump that will empty you in 10 min or less. Like the pump in style model. Others may have different opinions on the best brand, I think the only one that compares is Ameda brand also.
Anyway, the little calculation Jessica posted is nice HOWEVER with a caveat.. I've worked full time (after 12 weeks maternity leave) and pumped my milk and fed 3 kids ( the latest one is still nursing, age 7 months) so far without formula. But I've always had a stock pile of milk before going back to work b/c I knew it was coming. None of my kids have ever gone beyond 4 (yes FOUR) ounces of milk per bottlefeeding. Our milk is not like formula where you have to keep going up in quantity to get the right # of calories and nutrients to a growing child. Our milk adapts its fat and protein concentration based on the age of the child and 4 oz of mother's milk for a 9 month old is not exactly the same as 4 oz of mother's milk for a 2 week old. So go ahead and see how that calculation turns out for your baby but I advise you don't go past 4 oz even if the calculation says so (unless it's after a LONG hiatus like if your baby slept through the night and you're not there to feed him your full breasts when he wakes in the morning.) I remember when I first started with my first child, I would see how much milk I was getting per pumping session and think about all those kids I had seen sucking down 8 + oz out of a bottle and say to myself, there is no way I'm gonna have enough when my daughter is bigger and needs to drink 8 oz!! But I met a wonderful lactation consultant who gave a seminar on "nursing mothers returning to work" and I asked her that question and she said it never has to go above 4 oz as they grow.

You are fullest in the AM, so you can start trying to stock pile or pump a little extra if you have a little time after feeding him in the morning before going to work. At first you may not get more that 1 or 2 oz at best but your breasts will adapt and will produce more with time. It is especially crucial if he sleeps a long time and he doesn't completely empty you in the morning. Even if he does, you still may be able to squeeze out an ounce or two, 30 min later. You can keep in fridge a couple days until you accumulate 2 to 4 oz and then freeze or it will likely be used during the day while you're at work.
You may have to have some formula on hand just in case, especially for the first couple days you go to work as you may not have enough saved up to feed him while you're gone.
Good luck!

Christine - posted on 01/24/2010

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My 4 month old goes to daycare 15 hours per week (I only work part time too) and she drinks 4 oz bottles every 2-3 hours throughout the day at daycare. If I were you I would start pumping after every feeding and try to accumulate atleast 15 ounces to get him through the day. You could also try getting up in the night for an extra pumping session. I do agree with the other poster though, with this short of notice, you may have to send some formula to have as a backup. I HATE formula but you don't want your babes first day at daycare to be miserable cause of hunger!

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Lucia - posted on 01/24/2010

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Hi Beth, Iwas on the operation with my toe nail last Monday so we needed do express milk fot 24 hours, and we know now that Ema is eating in day time 70 ml, and when is she going sleep than 150 ml. and we had express for 24 hours 0,7 dl of milk. I hope that will help you. Lucy

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My son is & months and is in daycare while im @ work and i pump about 2 5oz bottles a day. I send him with 3 4oz bottles & he will come home with aleast 1 full bottle. When they are not with u they try & sleepalot...

Kelly - posted on 01/24/2010

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what i have told other moms is what i do is when i would nurse i would latch baby onto one breast and while baby is nursing pump the other breast at the same time when the baby is done nursing take your pump and pump the breast baby was on this way you empty your breast out completely and the next feeding you will produce more the best storage bags for your breastmilk i found is made by lanasol its in a purple box the bags say my mommy's milk it has a double zipper and ounces labeled on the bag for marking after you pump put milk in bag and throw it in the freezer you will start a nice little collection and this way while you are working you can pump and store and when you get home you can nurse and you should be able to have a nice supply

Sarah - posted on 01/23/2010

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according to a chart my doctor gave me they are suppose to eat 6-8 oz, 4-6 times a day. pumping in the morning is best, I usually get about 4 oz on one breast and she feeds on the other.

Jessica - posted on 01/23/2010

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Take your babies weight in pounds, and multiply it by 2.5oz, then divide this by the number of feeds he has in the day, this is roughly how much he should eat!

eg: 10lb x 2.5oz = 25oz.

25oz / 10 feeds per day (24hrs) = 2.5oz per feed! (give or take half an ounce or so depending on your baby- give the (eg) 2.5oz and then if hes still hungry add a little more at a time, so you dont waste it!

I hope this helps. It might also be a good idea to buy an electric hospital grade pump to take with you to work so you keep your supply up, a poor pump can greatly reduce your supply, pumping at least every 2-3 hrs helps too, even if your baby doesnt actually feed this often! Good luck!

Kristen - posted on 01/23/2010

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Just try to pump when he would normally feed and be sure to try and completely empty both of your breasts. Since you aren't exactly a faucet with a measuring cup, I'd recommend just trying to get as much as you can because its not like it won't get used. Some mom's have a dip in supply when they switch to pumping, so be prepared. I was never really able to pump all that well and its really hard on your nipples. Best wishes!

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