How Many Times a Day Should I Be Pumping Breastmilk?

Updated on August 27, 2006
L.S. asks from Sherwood, AR
10 answers

I have a nine month old that I started out breastfeeding. I had it in my heart to breastfeed until my daughter kept on biting me during nursing...that was 5 months ago. For the last 5 months I have been pumping 5 or 6 times a day to have for my daughter the next day. It's been pretty easy (especially since she's eating solid foods now) to have bottles for her at daycare that are breastmilk. Anyways, My question is how many times a day to I have to pump? If I went to 3 or 4 times a day pumping milk, will I have the supply to make it to her one year mark? I want my daughter to have breastmilk until she is at least one. I can make it like I've been doing but if I don't have to pump as often to get the same supply...I'd rather not pump as often. I'm afraid to take away pumping times because I don't want my supply to go away. I don't want to stop completly yet....

What can I do next?

  • Add your own comment
  • Ask your own question
  • Join the Mamapedia community
  • as inappropriate
  • this with your friends

Featured Answers



answers from Houston on

My lactation consultant made it very easy for me. It's supply and demand rule: the more you pump the more milk you have. I know how much patience it takes, believe me :))
The best of luck to you both!

More Answers



answers from Houston on

Your msg indicates you are pumping one day for her supply for the next day. There is nothing that indicates you already have a stock pile. If you had some stored I would say go ahead and try to decrease. If you supply is currently just barely keeping up with her daily needs, then I suggest not going down. Whenever you DON'T pump you are telling your body NOT to increase the milk supply and that you DON'T need as much as it is making.

Each and every women is completely different. Each baby can bring in different challenges.

K. Traylor, MA, Lactation Specialist, Doula

1 mom found this helpful


answers from San Antonio on

I think if you should try going to 3 times a day and see if that is enough for her. If you find after a week or so that its not go to 4 times a day and try that. Remember the more water you drink the more you will be able to produce at one sitting. Is she nursing at home at all? You only have 3 months to go I think you can make it. Try that to see if it works, if not you will be able to tell right away. Good luck, and remember you are doing a great job.




answers from Victoria on

I breastfed 3 babies for one year each, just so you know my experience. I think pumping 4 times a day would be fine. As long as you empty the breast, the demand will still be the same, so your supply should be the same. I hope this helps.



answers from Shreveport on

My second child was a very lazy baby boy that didn't like to breastfeed. I gave him only breast milk for at least 7 months by exclusively pumping. Since I worked full time, that was not easy. I pumped only 4 times a day, making sure to completely empty each breast at every pumping session, because your body will sense the "mechanical" demand you place on it and produce milk accordingly. That was enough to feed him plus have a little extra to freeze for later. But remember that your milk supply will depend on a lot of different things like stress and hydration level, and not just pumping. So, when you drop the number of times you pump and are sure you've had enough water and you still don't get enough milk, you can always go back to pumping more often and your milk supply should return. You may hear that suckling is important to maintain supply, but it actually has very little to do with it; mechanical stimulation can work as well if you are comforable with it.
Just so you know...I'm a 37 year old mother of 3 and an Assistant Professor of Physiology.



answers from New Orleans on

I have 7 month old twins, and I have been exclusively pumping since they were around 3 months old. I found it faster & easier to pump and bottle feed than to try to breastfeed 2 babies. Anyway, I was pumping probably 6-7 times a day until I recently came down with a stomach virus. I was too weak to pump that often, and somehow my body adjusted to pumping only 3-4 times a day. I still end up having more than enough milk (and they don't eat solids yet). More often than not, I have to throw some out b/c they don't drink as much as I produce. I pump on average two 9-oz bottles at each pumping (so about 72-oz per day). But that is for twins, so not sure how it would be for a single baby. When I went longer periods between pumping, I ended up pumping a larger volume at each pumping session. I like this much better b/c it allows me to go through the night without pumping. Hope this helps.



answers from Houston on

Since she's probably not eating every three hours, you don't need to pump every three hours or 8 to 9 times a day. Since you only have 3 months to go, you can gradually reduce the number of times, but I certainly wouldn't go less than 4 times a day. You don't want to dry up too soon and you risk producing less if you decrease the number of times. I commend you for getting to 9 months! You've already given her the most nutrients she could get with breastfeeding. So, if you miss the mark by a month or so, the only thing you hurt is your goal.



answers from New Orleans on

hi, I am a breastfeeding counselor...everybody is different, but, basically, the more you pump the more milk you'll produce and the less you pump, the less milk your body will make. Not have the child suckling at your breast with skin-to-skin contact reduces endorphins and milk production as well. It is very difficult to keep milk going with a pump so I would say to pump as often as possible on a regular schedule. If you can handle how you've been doing it, I'd say just tough it out a little longer because the benefits for your daughter are immense! Great job on being able to work full time and make sure your daughter gets mommy's milk. Remember this is the only chance you will have to do this for her and YOU are the only person on earth that can do it!! Feel free to call me if you want ###-###-####



answers from San Antonio on

Hi L.,

I was in the same situation as you pumping breastmilk for my son until he turned one last year.
I guess it may be different for each person but when I decreased the number of times I pumped per day my supply gradually decreased as well. I ended up pumping the same amount each time. So when I pumped 8 oz 5 times per day I produced 40 oz per day and when I dropped down to pumping 3 times per day I still pumped 8 oz so produced 24 oz per day. My son was eating solids (8 months) but his appetite demanded around 32 oz so I gave him one bottle of formula a day. I guess I was a text book case of supply and demand.
As others have said, the amount of breastmilk she needs will decrease somewhat as she eats more solid foods.
I used the following website as a guide:
The other issue I dealt with as well when I decreased the number of times I pumped was the natural birth control thing disappeared!

Good luck and great job for sticking with breastmilk and working fulltime!




answers from Fayetteville on

I am a mother of two and breastfed my first until she her 2nd birthday (and then quit cold turkey) and my 16mo old is still nursing. That said, think about it this way...Even if you don't pump (you just nurse your baby,) they will nurse less and less as they get older (my 16 month old usually only nurses two to three times a day during the week, when she is in dayceare, and more often at home.) As long as you pump enough to keep up with the ammount that she is eating, your supply won't run out. It will slow down but as long as you don't stop all together, you won't stop producing. Its kindof like in the beginning when they nurse almost constantly and you produce so much that if you don't feed them, you get engorged. But then, within a few months they start eating less often. At that point, you start producing less milk but you still produce enough to kep them fed.

I hope that this helps. I really commend you on your effort. A lot of moms would have given up and went to just formula after getting bit. (That's why I am greatful that both my girls has the grace to wait until after their first b-day to cut any teeth.) You're doing awesome!!!!!!!!