I've heard that pumping little milk out might not be an indication of low milk supply. My wife has been pumping and getting 30ml in 20 minutes, while I've been told that a newborn usually needs 50-60ml each feeding at 1 month. Can anybody talk on this point or has actual experience to confirm what I've read? My baby is currently under average weight, and on the low side of the normal band (he was born above average, had jaunice and underwent phototherapy), I was wondering if it might be a milk supply issue and if pumping out little milk is proof of that.

My wife is staying at home and exclusively trying to feed him without the pump and bottle.

  • Has your lo always been on the light side or is this a recent development?
    – Stephie
    Sep 23, 2015 at 11:04
  • he was born above average, had jaunice and under went photo therapy
    – jason
    Sep 23, 2015 at 12:00
  • Thanks. So not growing parallel to the percentiles. This is a cause of concern or at least a reason to pay attention. Perhaps that info should be included in the question.
    – Stephie
    Sep 23, 2015 at 12:02
  • as a side note, you may want to look into renting hospital grade pumps. they are much more effective in extracting b.m. and my wife found them much more comfortable as well
    – n00b
    Sep 23, 2015 at 16:06

1 Answer 1


The amount you can pump is 100% definitely not an indication of low supply.

First of all: Is baby actually breastfeeding or is your wife trying to exclusively pump? If baby is feeding 'straight from the source' then he/she will always be getting more than a pump can extract. It's all down to the hormonal connection between mother and baby, whereas a pump is a foreign object that the body does not respect in the same way as baby. Babies are just more efficient at removing milk from the breast and some women don't respond well to their pump at all. There are ways to possibly increase the output to a pump but they aren't guaranteed to work. Your wife could try breast compressions before pumping, a warm flannel on the breasts before pumping, looking at a picture of little one while pumping, fenugreek supplements, eat more oats (great excuse to eat hob nobs :-) ), drink more water...

As for your baby being below average... It doesn't matter as long as he/she is growing, meeting milestones and giving an adequate amount of poos and wees :) There are so many other things than the size of baby that indicate a successful breastfeeding relationship.

  • 1
    Do you have a source for the "foreign object" part of that? Most things I've heard suggest that the issue is the ability to suck more strongly than a pump could without being uncomfortable, and more well tailored sucking shape/etc., rather than anything hormonal or such.
    – Joe
    Sep 23, 2015 at 17:35
  • For many women, looking at a photo or video of the baby, or placing a worn/used piece of the baby's clothing on mom's chest while pumping increases pump output. A video of (or even visualizing) the baby rooting, nursing, or hungry-crying can be especially effective. This isn't scientific proof, but does point to the fact that there is more than just suction involved in the milk letdown reflex.
    – Meg
    Jan 18, 2019 at 18:17

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