By Melissa Portunato MPH, IBCLC, RLC
What is the “Magic Number”?
The “Magic Number” refers to the number of times per day a breastfeeding mom needs to empty her breasts to maintain healthy milk production. This theory is based on individual storage breast capacity and will be different for everyone. Women with larger storage capacity will need to empty less, while those with a smaller capacity will need to empty more often to produce the same amount of milk.
How much breastmilk is normal when pumping?
The average milk output for mothers exclusively pumping or pumping for a missed feed is 2 – 4 oz every 2-3 hours / 25-30 ounces per day. If you are nursing then pumping, expect to see about half the amount.
How to Find Your “Magic Number”
How much milk do you pump in the first breast pump of the day? This amount will determine the number of times to remove milk for healthy production.
|10 + oz
|Maintain Milk Production
|3-4 pumps per day
|5 pumps per day
|6 pumps per day
|7 pumps per day
|8 pumps per day
The “Magic Number” is based on breast storage capacity or the max amount of breastmilk your breasts can hold. Pump more than your “Magic Number” to increase milk supply or when weaning, gradually pump fewer times throughout the day. Avoid waiting to pump until you feel full or engorged because it can lead to reduced milk supply over time. On average, 6 times per day will maintain milk production.
If you are struggling with milk supply or have seen lowered milk production since you returned to work, finding your “Magic Number” can help you readjust your pumping/nursing schedule to continue to meet your breastfeeding goals.
Need help with pumping? Schedule a complimentary consultation with a Spectra baby USA IBCLC! We are here for you, and we support you!
Mohrbacher, N. (2016, August 29). The ‘magic number’ and long-term milk production (parts I and II). Nancy Mohrbacher. Retrieved January 4, 2022, from http://www.nancymohrbacher.com/articles/2010/8/13/the-magic-number-and-long-term-milk-production-part-1.html