What is your magic number?

Updated 2023


What’s your “magic number” of milk removals needed to maintain or increase your milk production? Check the breast milk production chart above. Your breast storage capacity may be the best indicator of your “magic number.”⁣ 

Storage capacity is NOT related to breast size. Your breast size is primarily determined by the amount of fatty tissue in your breasts. Your storage capacity is primarily determined by the amount of glandular tissue in your breasts. ⁣

From Nancy Mohrbacher, IBCLC—⁣⁣
Question: “I have a 6-week-old and just returned to work. I pump once every 3 hours and am pumping more than enough milk for my baby. But I am fearful of pumping less. Given my son’s eating routine is still getting established and will likely change still, how do I determine my ‘magic number?’”⁣⁣
Answer: “I suggest you begin by thinking back to your maternity leave, assuming you were breastfeeding exclusively and your baby was thriving. On average, how many times every 24 hours did your baby breastfeed? As a starting point, consider this your “magic number.” For example, if the answer is 8 (which seems to be average), assume that to keep your milk production steady long-term you will need to continue to drain your breasts well at least 8 times each day. If you’re pumping 3 times each workday, this means you’ll need to breastfeed 5 times when you and your baby are together. (This will be much easier if 2 of these breastfeedings include one just before leaving your baby for work and another as soon as you and your baby are reunited again.)⁣⁣
Keep your eye on the number of breastfeedings outside your work hours. Many of the employed breastfeeding mothers I talk to pump often enough at work, but as the months pass, the number of breastfeedings outside of work gradually decreases. It’s not just how many times you pump at work that determines your milk production. More important is the number of breast drainings every 24 hours and how this total compares to your “magic number.”⁣


  • I am making 60-65 oz a day at 4 weeks pp. I am pumping 7 times a day and would love to space my day time or even drop a day time one. Is it too early to drop to 6 pumps per day?
    Legendairy Milk replied:
    Hi! If you are experiencing an oversupply, you can certainly spread out your pumping sessions or drop one in order to get more in line with the output that you need to feed your baby.

  • Hi! I find it really difficult to pump really early or late at night as my baby needs to latch to go back to sleep and i am usually so tired to get up and pump afterwards.

    How can i determine my magic number during the day?
    Legendairy Milk replied:
    Hi! If your baby is nursing at night, that counts toward your number!

    Gail A
  • Hi-how long is a pumping session in respect to this chart? Or does a session end when your letdown ends?
    Legendairy Milk replied:
    Typically 15-20mins!

  • I am currently 12 weeks postpartum, pumping 7 times a day with pumps at 1:00 a.m., 4:30 a.m., and 8:00 a.m. My biggest pump is either the 4:30 or 8 a.m., and I have been getting between 170-200 mil. My average per day is 35oz, baby drinks 28-30oz. How can I get a longer stretch at night without hurting my supply? Also, I have had clogs several times, I am scared that by waiting more than 4 hours between pumps, I may get more clogs.
    Legendairy Milk replied:
    Hi! We have sent you an email with more information, make sure to check your spam/promotions folder!

  • when you talk about max capacity, what time period are you referring to? Basically times between when babe feeds? So if babe feeds every 3 hour, and gets about 3oz each feed, i would base my pumps off of the small capacity?
    Legendairy Milk replied:
    It is based off your overnight feed or early morning feed! If it is typically around 3oz or more at those times, yes you could be either Small or Average capacity!


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