If you’re breastfeeding or pumping milk for your baby, it is important to know how much breast milk you should be producing. Your body has an amazing way of adapting to your baby’s needs based on his or her growth and development.
Every mom and baby will be different in terms of supply output and a baby’s needs. With that said, in this post I will try to give you an approximate idea of how much milk you should be pumping at 6 weeks.
Please keep in mind that this blog post is intended to be a guide. If you ever suspect your baby isn’t getting enough to eat, seek help from a lactation provider and/or your pediatrician.
Please note that this article contains affiliate links, and that means that I may earn a commission if you buy something (at no additional cost to you). Read my full disclosure here. I only recommend products I use and love and recommend to my clients.
How Much Milk Should I Be Pumping Per Session at 6 Weeks?
Your supply will likely regulate in the 6-8 week mark. It will be uniquely based on your baby’s needs at that time.
Per pumping session, you should be pumping 2-3 ounces per breast. Some moms may pump more, but this should be the minimal amount pumped.
How Many Ounces Should I Be Pumping Per Day at 6 Weeks?
Your baby’s stomach can hold about 3-5 ounces now per feeding. You should be pumping an average of 2-4 ounces per breast per pumping session at 6 weeks.
Some babies eat less and some babies eat more. Your baby’s consumption may also depend on other factors such as growth spurts, teething, etc.
This equates to approximately 25-35 ounces of milk per day pumped at 6 weeks, if your baby has at least 8 feeding sessions in a 24 hour period.
You should be pumping as often as your baby is taking a bottle. Be sure you are replacing the milk your baby is consuming through bottle feeding.
If you are pumping and nursing, it’s best to base your output amount on each session. The daily ounces produced won’t be as much since your baby is nursing at the breast also.
How Much Milk Should I Be Producing When Exclusively Pumping at 6 Weeks?
If you’re exclusively pumping for your baby, you should be producing an average of 2-4 ounces per breast per pumping session at 6 weeks. This also equates to about 25-35 ounces in a day.
If you are making far more than this, you may have an oversupply of breast milk. If you are making much less than this, you may have an undersupply of breast milk.
The amount you pump will vary based on your baby’s needs. Your milk content will also vary, especially if your baby is going through a growth spurt, fighting an illness, or just wanting to comfort feed.
It is best to let your baby lead the way when offering a bottle. It is also important to be sure you’re practicing paced bottle feeding.
How Much Milk Should I Be Pumping When Returning to Work at 6 Weeks?
If you are going back to work, this is the time to start preparing in terms of introducing a bottle to your baby and building a small supply. Your baby will need 1-1.5 ounces of breast milk per hour that you are away from him or her.
If you have an 8 hour work day plus a 1 hour total commute, that is 9 hours away from your baby. You will want to be sure you are incorporating enough pumping sessions into your day to get 12-16 ounces of milk.
Another way to look at it is how many feedings will you be missing per day. If your baby consumes about 3-4 ounces per feeding, multiply that by 4 feedings. You’ll want to have 12-16 ounces of milk available for your baby while away.
Bottle Introduction & Feeding Tips
If you need to introduce an artificial nipple for bottle feeding, 6 weeks of age is the ideal time to do it. Do not introduce it earlier than 3-4 weeks old in order to establish a successful breastfeeding start and avoid nipple/bottle flow preference.
Always use the slowest flow nipple possible and practice paced bottle feeding with your baby’s caregiver. Paced bottle feeding helps mimic breastfeeding at the breast in the best way possible.
The way your baby is fed can impact how much he or she is consuming through a bottle. If your baby is consuming more than needed because of a fast nipple flow, you may have issues maintaining supply to keep up.
Another thing to keep in mind is breastfed babies tend to poop less over time as their digestive systems become more efficient. They are able to use and process the majority of what they eat.
This is normal. Sometimes breastfed babies can even go up to seven days without pooping. Do remember that maintaining a healthy diet as a mom is important as your baby’s microbiome is developed from the various components of breast milk.
Your baby will gain weight at a slower rate at 6 weeks old – about 1 pound per month or four ounces per week on average. Monitoring your baby’s diaper output and weight gain milestones will help gauge if your milk supply level is appropriate.
Factors That Affect How Much Milk You Pump at 6 Weeks
There are many factors that can affect how much milk you pump at 6 weeks. I’ll review a few below, but there may be other factors not listed here that may be affecting your supply.
Be sure you work with a lactation consultant and a breastfeeding-friendly pediatrician if you are unsure whether your baby is getting enough to eat.
How Often You Pump Or Nurse
The amount of breast milk you are able to pump can vary based on how often you are pumping or nursing. The more milk removed from your breasts by way of pumping or nursing, the more your body will know to produce.
If you remove milk, your body will replace it by producing more milk. It will ramp up the milk making process with a hormone called prolactin. This theory of supply and demand is the basis for producing more (or less) milk for your baby.
A baby is the most efficient at getting milk out of a breast – that is how God designed us/them! You can try to mimic it as best as possible with a breast pump, but your baby is truly the best way to get more milk out, followed by using a pump.
If you want to produce more milk, you should be nursing or pumping more often, and be sure you’re not skipping any sessions either. Sometimes we think skipping one pumping session isn’t a big deal, but by doing that, you’re telling your body to slow down milk production because milk isn’t being removed.
Length of Pumping Sessions
The time that you are taking to pump is important as it needs to mimic a baby nursing at the breast. Each session may look slightly different, and every mom will be different also.
In general, a pumping session should last 15-20 minutes if you are using a double pump. This should be enough time to solicit two letdowns which is what you’re aiming for.
After milk starts slowing down to a drip after the second letdown, you can generally stop pumping. Even if you see no milk coming out, you are still stimulating hormones that are telling your body to produce more milk as long as you are pumping.
We’ll go into more detail about power pumping and cluster pumping later in this post, which requires a different pumping session protocol.
Pumping Equipment Parts
It is equally important to ensure your pumping equipment looks new and has no rips or tears in any of the duck bills or attachment pieces. Most breast pump manufacturers suggest you replace pump parts every couple of months if you are using your pump everyday.
A quick search on the internet with your pump manufacturer will help you with this. I definitely recommend changing your basic parts as often as they suggest. It will help ensure you’re getting the best milk output.
Also be sure your breast pump flanges fit you correctly. This is critical to for the best milk production with a pump at 6 weeks.
Stress and Other Maternal Factors
Sometimes there are factors like stress that affect milk supply. Stress can inhibit the necessary flow of oxytocin to release milk that we are producing.
There are two main milk making hormones that our body makes and uses. There is prolactin which makes the milk, and oxytocin which releases the milk. Both of these have to be working optimally for the best milk production and supply at 6 weeks.
This is around the time most moms start thinking about heading back to work. Even if you’re not going back until 3 months, you start thinking about all the things you may need to do to prepare.
This may also be a time when your support system isn’t around you as much. All the help you initially had with your baby may be dissipating. This can cause more stress on you, affecting your milk making hormones.
Seek out more help from your support system, lower your expectations of a clean house, and find time to rest and relax while you’re nursing or pumping (and other times too). Oh, and cover up those baby bottles with socks while you pump so you aren’t focused on output in the moment.
Some moms may have an underlying health issue as well, like Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome, that may affect their ability to produce the milk needed for their babies. It is important that if you have a low milk supply, or suspect a low milk supply, you work with a lactation consultant and a breastfeeding-trained pediatrician.
Your Baby’s Needs
Your baby’s needs in relation to how much food he or she needs at 6 weeks will ultimately dictate how much milk your body will produce. This is the true gauge of milk demand at this age and at every age really.
If your baby is wanting to nurse or eat more during certain periods of time, also called cluster feeding, this may require you to pump or nurse more in the evening. Cluster feeding won’t last forever, I promise.
It’s important to keep up with your baby though. If your baby is taking a bottle, be sure you’re pumping.
Your baby may also go through a growth spurt at 6 weeks, which means he or she may eat more often or for longer periods of time. This will last a few days typically. Your body will produce more milk to keep up with your baby’s demand.
It is important to follow your baby’s lead, especially if you are exclusively pumping. If your baby is taking more bottles than usual, be sure you are pumping more as well.
Things You Can Do to Increase Milk Supply
Many breastfeeding moms get concerned about a low milk supply at some point in their breastfeeding or pumping journey. However, it is more often than not a perceived sense of low milk supply and not actually low milk supply.
This may happen as your baby grows and wants more milk, which is normal. This does not mean your milk supply is low. It just means your baby is trying to communicate to your body to increase production.
Power Pumping or Cluster Pumping
The best way to increase your milk supply naturally is to remove more milk from your breasts. This will increase prolactin levels in your body, resulting in more milk output. You can do this by power pumping or cluster pumping.
Although slightly different from each other, both are intended to increase milk production. Cluster pumping may work slightly better because it mimics a baby that is cluster feeding,
This is because cluster feeding is biologically normal and sometimes viewed as a sign that a baby is trying to increase milk supply for a growth spurt. Cluster pumping consists of several short pumping sessions over the course of a few hours.
Typically these sessions are in the evening – much like a baby would nurse at the breast. If you are limited on time, give power pumping a try instead.
Hands-on Breast Massage
Some moms get better results with a double stimulating breast pump. However, other moms get more milk by using a single breast pump with hands-on breast massage.
You can also try this heat and breast massager to get more milk out of your breasts during a pumping session.
It is a whole food supplement and works to increase milk supply.
If you need more help increasing your breast milk supply – you can read my eBook The Ultimate Guide To Increasing Milk Supply Fast!
What If I Have An Oversupply? What Should I Do?
If you’re experiencing an oversupply of breast milk, it is important that you either slow down production or continue to pump or nurse so you don’t get engorged.
You can choose to donate your breast milk to a milk bank or maybe a baby you know that needs it. You could also put it into your freezer in case your baby needs it at a later age. It is always a good idea to have a little extra in the freezer if you do have an oversupply.
If you want to decrease production, you can reduce the amount of time your pumping during one of your sessions. Do not completely eliminate a session initially though as that can lead to clogged milk ducts and potentially mastitis.
You can also try drinking a cup or two of sage tea to naturally reduce breast milk production.
The amount of milk a mom pumps at 6 weeks has a wide range.
Now that you understand how much milk you should be pumping at 6 weeks, you also understand that your baby’s demands will influence how much milk you need to produce. Pumping or nursing 8-12 times in a 24 hour period is still typical.
Follow your baby’s lead. You’ll likely need between 25-35 ounces of breast milk per day for your baby at 6 weeks. Each time your baby takes a bottle, be sure to pump to replace that milk.
Don’t skip any pumping sessions or your body may slow down milk production. Try to relax and enjoy your baby during this time.
Finally, for help increasing your breast milk supply, grab my eBook: The Ultimate Guide to Increasing Milk Supply Fast.