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How much milk should I express?

Too much or too little...

That’s the question that every new mUm worries about. It can feel very disheartening in the early days when it seems as if you are only producing a dribble of milk when you EXPRESS, especially when other new mums are complaining about feeling like dairy cows!

It is worth bearing in mind the following though before you start to worry so you don't become disheartened:

Relaxed breast pumping
  • A baby is much more efficient at getting milk from the breast than expressing.
  • You will produce less milk in the early weeks than when your baby is a little older.
  • It can take a while to train your body to get used to expressing – remember, this is all new.
  • You will produce more milk in the morning.
  • You will produce less milk if you are upset or stressed, so take a break and try again later if that’s the case.
  • You will produce less milk if you have just breastfed or expressed than if it was a few hours ago.
  • A high-quality, comfortable breast pump will encourage greater milk production.

On top of all of this, the amount you can express varies from mum to mum — and it has nothing to do with breast size or milk supply! It may be as little as 0.2oz or as much as 7 oz.

Feeding baby with Tommee Tippee bottle

Plus, don’t worry if your little guzzler seems to be taking more milk from the bottle than you are producing in one expressing session. This does NOT mean that your supply is low — the fast and steady flow of baby bottles just means they feed faster and may not realise their little tummies are full.

Finally, remember your milk production will vary depending on how you are feeling. Tiredness, stress, even hunger can all take their toll, so try to put your needs first and take care of yourself. It's not being selfish – a happy mummy really does equal a happy baby.

For more information about the amount of milk you should be expressing, contact your doctor or a similar suitably qualified health professional.

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