How to Pump Enough Milk for Daycare

How to pump enough milk for daycare

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Pumping isn’t as easy as you might think.

Some women produce enough milk to feed the neighborhood. Others, like me, barely produce enough to keep one child fed.

From special teas to lactation consultants, I went through it all to make sure I was producing enough milk when pumping.

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Pumping Enough Milk for Daycare

If your body doesn’t naturally respond to the pump, don’t give up. There are several methods you can try to produce more. That said, if you simply aren’t able to make enough milk by pumping, there is no harm in supplementing with formula if needed.

The following are some materials that might help you produce enough milk when pumping. Not all of these will work for every mom, but you won’t know until you try.

Materials Needed

  • Breast Pump: Go for the medela Double Breast Pump. It’s a pricier model but it’s well worth it.
  • Manual Breast Pump: This manual breast pump is a backup for those situations where you don’t have power or your pump gives out.
  • Breast Pump Wipes: You need to clean your breast pump every time you use it. These wipes don’t replace heavy sterilization, but they are great for when you are at work.
  • Breast Milk Storage: Many women prefer the breast milk storage bags. I always preferred the reusable, freezable breast milk storage tubes.
  • Lactation Tea: Many moms swear by this Mother's Milk tea. The herbal remedy is said to increase lactation.
  • Supplements: Liquid Gold is favorite among moms. Just read the reviews if you need any encouragement. However, do not take any supplement without discussing it with your physician first.
  • Breast Pads: If you’re successful at pumping milk, you’re going to be leaking. Try these reusable breast pads to keep leaks from ruining your favorite shirt.
Medela Breast Pump
  • INCREASED MILK OUTPUT: Express 18% more milk* than a traditional single pump thanks to our 2-Phase…
  • RELIABLE CLOSED SYSTEM: Closed system design with Overflow Protection to prevent your breast milk…
  • EASY TO USE AND CLEAN: Intuitive controls and fewer parts make this innovative pump simple to use…

How to Pump Enough Milk for Daycare: Step-by-Step

how to pump enough milk for daycare

I felt like a failure when I couldn’t produce enough milk to feed my son.

The plan was to only feed him breast milk, so when I went back to work, I went with the intention to pump every three hours for about 15 minutes.

That 15 turned to 30, which still didn’t produce enough.

I consulted with a lactation consultant, a nutritionist, and the local La Leche League. By the time I decided to quit my day job and become a stay-at-home mom, I had tried everything.

This is how I learned, firsthand, that what works for one person may not work for the next. The following are the best pieces of advice I received from professionals and seasoned moms.

Step 1: Start Pumping Early

woman sitting with 2 pumping bottles

Do not think that you’ll jump right into pumping milk on your first day back at the office. Breast pumps use a different kind of suction than your baby, so your breasts need to grow accustomed to producing for the pump.

Start as soon as you feel comfortable, but earlier is better. This also helps your baby get used to using bottles sometimes instead of always being nursed.

Step 2: Build Up a Freezer Stash

frozen breast milk stash

Breast milk will not last forever. If frozen, it will last six months or longer.

Take advantage of those early pumping sessions by building up a stash that you can send to daycare with your child when the time comes. Make sure you label all of your frozen milk and start using the oldest milk first.

Step 3: Prepare Your Pumping Area

nursing area

I was extraordinarily fortunate that my employer was so accommodating when it came to pumping. I had a custom office space that was set up with a computer so I could keep working while I pumped.

For me, that was perfect. Others might need a different environment. One of my co-workers set up a lounge for herself where she could relax while pumping.

Another simply pumped at her desk with a sign telling people not to disturb her while pumping. Communicate with your employer about how and where you will pump before you start back to work.

Step 4: Take a Picture of Your Baby

Taking baby photo

It’s strange but true: a photo or video of your baby will help you produce more milk. Our bodies are psychologically and biologically wired to produce milk for our babies. Seeing them triggers the milk to release.

Step 5: De-Stress and Eat Right

woman eating healthy food with water

Stress is a big factor in not being able to pump enough. Another is a lack of nutritious food and hydration.

Make sure you’re drinking twice as much water as you normally do and, though it’s not easy with a newborn, attempt to get enough sleep.

Step 6: Still Not Producing? Try Something New


Lactation tea, lactation cookies, and supplements are very popular because a lot of women have trouble making enough milk for their babies. Give them a shot but only with the blessing of your doctor.

Step 7: Consider Alternatives

mother and baby with pumping bottle and milk formula

You have tried all of the trendy lactation techniques, you have met with three different lactation consultants and you’re drinking more water than you ever thought possible.

If you’re still not producing enough milk, don’t give up and never feel like you are failing your child. Even if you can’t pump enough for daycare, you can still give your child the benefit of some breast milk.

Mix your breast milk with formula.

That’s what I ended up doing. Even after I stopped working, I just didn’t produce enough for my son, and so formula became necessary for us.

I felt like a bad mother at first, but then I realized there was a lot more harm in underfeeding him than in mixing formula and breast milk.


Just because you don’t produce enough milk with one child doesn’t mean that will always be true. My daughter, born four years later, never even tasted formula.

Key Takeaways

Pumping requires preparation. Most moms have no problem pumping enough milk, but some of us need a little extra to get production flowing.

What has your experience been with pumping for daycare? Do you have a favorite pump? Let us know in the comments!

Have You Read These Yet?

Frequently Asked Questions

Consider sending about 1 bottle for every 2-3 hours you’re away.

Pumping consistently, such as every 2 hours throughout the day, will help increase milk supply.

Lactation tea, lactation cookies, and supplements are some options moms have tried to increase breast milk production.

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