1) Change the timing of expressing sessions
Because babies don’t feed exactly every three hours, expressing times can vary a little as well. You can move the expressing times around a little. For example, you may be away from the baby and it may be more convenient to express after two hours and then start the next session after another four hours.
Just make sure that at the end of the day, you have expressed or breastfed your normal number of times, you have expressed the expected amount of milk, and over time, your expressed amounts do not decrease.
2) Decrease the number of expressions per day
The number of times you need to express each day generally depends on the storage capacity of your breasts.
If you are expressing a consistent amount of milk every day and you have a large storage capacity, you may be able to decrease the number of daily expressions. Expressions should be spread out over regular intervals. This approach is safe for only a minority of women.
For example, if you are expressing seven times a day, you can try doing it six times a day. After a week, if you are still expressing the same amount of milk per day, you can try decreasing the number of expressions to five, and so on.
Increase the number of daily sessions if:
One study (Lai 2019) showed that the maximum interval between expressions should be seven hours and mothers should express at least five times each day. However, another study (Ru 2020) showed that mothers should express at least six times each day to maintain their milk supply.
Our clinic cared for one exceptional mother who had premature twins who could not latch. One year after their birth, she pumped twice each day. She was able to pump for 1000 millilitres (33 U.S. fluid ounces) in the morning and the same amount at night. However very few mothers can do this and many more who are only expressing struggle to maintain their milk supply, even when expressing after each of the baby’s feeds.