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.”⁣


  • Hello! I’m 9m postpartum and I am pumping 6 times a day and my milk is decreasing. How can I add more pumped in. I pump at 7, 10, 1, 4, 7, 10
    Legendairy Milk replied:
    Hi! Based on your schedule, I would add at least one pumping session overnight (between 1 a.m. and 5 a.m.). When milk is removed, the hormone prolactin <https://kellymom.com/bf/normal/prolactin-levels/> is released and tells the body to make more milk. Prolactin also has its very own circadian rhythm that is highest at night <https://bit.ly/3Jtoco0>. Nursing or pumping overnight when prolactin is highest is critical for signaling our bodies to continue to make more milk and maintain milk supply. Nighttime removal of milk helps drive your daytime milk supply so you don’t want to go more than 5 hours at a stretch between milk removals (through pumping or nursing).

  • Hi! I am 15 months postpartum. I am pumping 5x during daytime and unli latch at night. i noticed that my breastmilk is drastically decreasing. I am drinking supplements yet nothing has happened. I have already changed my pump parts. What should i do to increase my milk supply? I am only getting 12-15oz per day from 20-24 oz before.
    Legendairy Milk replied:
    We sent you an email with more information! Make sure to check your spam/promotions folder ✨

    Frances Uno
  • Hello!

    I’m 3 weeks pp and my first pump of the day (around 0200) is now 11 ounces combined. I started off pumping 7x per day and recently went to 6x per day but my supply keeps increasing and I’m over 45 oz per day. I’m unsure when I can get closer to my magic number because there is so little information available for my situation (plentiful milk/relatively early PP). Is it safe to drop pumps at this point given my capacity and current output? I would be more than ik with some reduction in output to closer to 35-40 oz per day.
    Legendairy Milk replied:
    Hi! If you’re an oversupplier this graphic may not apply to you. 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. We recommend waiting until your supply regulates, but understand that some may choose to do it sooner. It may take a some trial and error to find what schedule works best for you!💕

  • I’m trying to increase my supply. If I change to puking every two hours, how long until it will reflect in my output. Also, does pet pumping count as one pump or 3 milk removable per day?
    Legendairy Milk replied:
    It can take a couple of days before the effects of more frequent pumping and/or power pumping are seen. For example, power pumping at 4 a.m. doesn’t necessarily mean that you end that day with a higher milk supply. But you might see the effects on Wednesday or Thursday when you started on Monday!

    There is also some info out there that Power Pumping should not be done for longer than a week (once or twice a day), and not more often than about once per month. If this is every day and constant, the body may begin to rely on this to be able to pump! Power Pumping would count as one milk removal 😊

  • I think I have the smallest capacity, have not been able to exclusively BF so I supplement with formula. What if baby is recently feeding for about ~5mins on each breast? Does 10mins of BF count as a nursing/milk removal?


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