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Disclaimer: The information in this post is for educational purposes only. I am not a doctor. It is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice. None of the opinions are meant to diagnose or treat any disease or illness. You should always consult your healthcare provider.

Myth Busters: Will Pumping Show You How Much Breast Milk You Have?

(Editor’s Note: During the month of May, Breastfeeding Place contributors will be sharing posts that address common breastfeeding myths. We sincerely hope this will be an enlightening and helpful series!)


It is common for new breastfeeding moms to question whether or not they are making enough milk for their baby. Breast milk is so mysterious. The new baby is breastfeeding for the first time and he or she may not give you all the information you need to gauge satisfactory output. However, pumping is not an accurate measurement method.

Myth Busters: Pump to see how much breast milk you make


Clues That Baby is Getting Enough

The number one way to tell if your baby is getting enough is that they are gaining weight and/or meeting their milestones. It is very important that a newborn gain weight quickly, but older babies may not grow as fast. In the first few months your baby will be weighed often.

Your baby should nurse frequently and actively suck while drinking. It will be a suck, suck, swallow motion; the baby will fill his or her mouth up and then gulp it down.

It is okay for baby to fall asleep after a big meal (I wish I could nap after lunch), but if your baby is falling asleep just minutes after latching, perhaps he or she is not getting enough and is just tired from trying. There should be no clocking, and proper latch should be assessed. Latch issues are the number one reason for poor feedings.

How to Measure Your Supply

The best way to see how much your baby is eating is to weigh them before a feeding, and directly after a feeding. Not all women respond well to pumping and by trying to gauge success of your baby by comparing it to a substitution for baby you are not getting an accurate assessment. Only your baby’s suckle will get her 100% of what she needs.

That being said, babies don’t need 8 ounces right away. A newborn will need just a teaspoon or so in the first few days for each feeding. By one week you should be up to about 2 ounces per feeding. You have about one month from the time of birth to get to five ounces per feeding. But don’t worry. Moms are amazing and with regular routines you’ll get there in no time!

So What Can I Expect from Pumping?

It is completely normal for moms to get just an ounce from pumping. Most moms need a few sessions just to make one bottle. But if you use your pump regularly and continue to breastfeed, your pumping output should increase and you can perfect a routine that yields positive results when choosing the bottle.

Though it seems intimidating, it is recommended to wait until 2-4 weeks before introducing the bottle to avoid nipple confusion. And pumping too early could leave you with possible engorgement issues. Hold off on the stress of pumping if possible.

And remember, pumping is not an accurate way to measure your baby’s meals.



Shary Lopez is a late-twenties, nerdy gal living in Tampa Bay. Her family consists of a bearded husband and two children: one eight-year-old daughter and one very adventurous toddler boy. As a childbirth junkie and breastfeeding advocate, Shary tries to lean her family towards natural living while still grasping onto convenience and frugality. You can find more of her writings on Shary's personal blog, Atta Mama. Shary is also on social networking sites such as FacebookTwitter, Pinterest, and Instagram.

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