What is your magic number? - Legendairy Milk

What is your magic number?

By: Guest Contributor


1 min

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.”⁣


My breast take too long to fill after I’ve emptied. 3 hours later they still aren’t full during the day so I have to give baby whatever I pump that day. By the end of the day baby has barely nursed and has taken bottles all day. Please help.
Legendairy Milk replied:
Hi! Are you fully emptying the breasts when you pump or nurse to ensure that your body is getting the signals needed to create more milk? Hand expression after nursing and pumping may help ensure you get those last drops out. You can check out this video for a great tutorial on hand expression: https://vimeo.com/65196007 <https://vimeo.com/65196007> And are you still pumping or nursing in the middle of the night? Nighttime milk removal can drive our daytime milk supply. Additionally, check out this blog post with tips and strategies for increasing supply: https://www.legendairymilk.com/blogs/news/how-to-boost-milk-supply-fast


Hi! Do you need to pump to empty for each of these pumps? Thanks!
Legendairy Milk replied:
Hi! Yes. The goal is to fully empty the breasts for each milk removal. That ensures that our body receives the signals that it’s time to produce more milk and can help prevent clogged ducts.🙌


Hi! I apologize in advance for the length of this.
I’m almost 3mpp (just shy of that) and I just went back to work. I am not able to pump nearly as much as my baby is eating when he’s with the nanny (he’s eating 18-24oz with her even after a nursing session in the morning and I’m producing maybe 10oz on a good day with the pump during that time). I’m fairly confident I’ve got the right flange size (although I did order a few more size inserts just to doublecheck that), I’m doing the hands-on expressing when pumping, eating a lot of the galactagogues, etc. I think I have a large capacity because the one time I pumped first thing in the morning I produced 8ish ounces between my two breasts. And, with my first son, I was an exclusive pumper and would often get 8-10oz on that first morning pump. Even with my first son though, I never quite made enough for him with the pump. A few days ago I tried 4 days in a row where I was pumping or nursing every 2 hours until bedtime and I have 8ish hours with no emptying overnight. This gave me 8-10 removals per day (I used the numbers for an average capacity because I wanted to increase my supply drastically). I noticed an increase on day 3 (I felt fuller in the morning), and I continued that day and the next with 8-10 empties. On day 4 my supply seemed to go back to what it was (although admittedly it was a little hard to tell because my son nurses every morning even on work days). But, I didn’t feel over-full again like I had on day 3, and I wasn’t pumping any more milk in my sessions during the day than I had on days 1 and 2 of emptying 8-10x per day. So….now my questions.
1). I read somewhere that it can take some people 3 or 4 days to see an increase, and others it can take a full 2 weeks to see an increase from increasing your empties throughout the day. Does this mean some people need to empty 8-10 times per day for 3-4days and other people need to do that same routine for 2weeks to see a difference? Or does that mean you can empty 8-10x per day for 3-4 days, then go back to emptying only 6x per day and some people will see the increase right away while others will see it 2 weeks later?
2). I’ve heard with powerpumping you need to be careful because if you do it too much your body can get used to it and will require those power pump sessions to maintain supply. Is this true? And if yes, is that also true for increasing the amount of times you empty per day? If I increase my times to emptying 8-10x per day for too long (in an attempt to increase supply), will I make my body dependent on that many removals to maintain my supply?

Thank you SO much for this resource! Even if it doesn’t work for me, I’m eternally grateful. One more thing to try gives me hope I can get back to fully feeding my son with breastmilk.
Legendairy Milk replied:
Hi there! We sent you an email with more information! Make sure to check your spam/promotions folder 😊

Monica S.

Hello! I am 7mpp and my supply is decreasing daily and my freezer stash is almost empty. I am trying to increase my supply so I can continue giving breastmilk for a year. If I increase pumps, will my supply increase?
Legendairy Milk replied:
Hi! Increasing the number of milk removals through pumping can help to increase supply! Those middle-of-the-night pumping sessions when prolactin is highest can be especially helpful.🙌

You can find more strategies for increasing supply here: https://www.legendairymilk.com/blogs/news/how-to-boost-milk-supply-fast


Hi! I’m currently a enougher at 5mpp. I fall under large capacity and do 5ppd. Looking into reducing a pump… would I loose supply?
Legendairy Milk replied:
Hi! If 5 pumping sessions per day is just enough to produce the quantity of milk required to meet the needs of your baby, dropping a pumping session may result in you not pumping enough, even it if doesn’t reduce the amount that you can pump at each pumping session.

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