By Kelly Bonyata, BS, IBCLC
* How much milk do babies need?
* Automatic milk calculator
* What if baby is eating solid foods?
* Is baby drinking too much or too little expressed milk?
* Other ways of estimating milk intake
How much milk do babies need?
Many mothers wonder how much expressed breastmilk they need to have available if they are away from baby.
In exclusively breastfed babies, milk intake increases quickly during the first few weeks of life, then stays about the same between one and six months (though it likely increases short term during growth spurts). Current breastfeeding research does not indicate that breastmilk intake changes with baby’s age or weight between one and six months. After six months, breastmilk intake will continue at this same level until — sometime after six months, depending in baby’s intake from other foods — baby’s milk intake begins to decrease gradually (see below).
The research tells us that exclusively breastfed babies take in an average of 25 oz (750 mL) per day between the ages of 1 month and 6 months. Different babies take in different amounts of milk; a typical range of milk intakes is 19-30 oz per day (570-900 mL per day).
We can use this information to estimate the average amount of milk baby will need at a feeding:
* Estimate the number of times that baby nurses per day (24 hours).
* Then divide 25 oz by the number of nursings.
* This gives you a “ballpark” figure for the amount of expressed milk your exclusively breastfed baby will need at one feeding.
Example: If baby usually nurses around 8 times per day, you can guess that baby might need around 3 ounces per feeding when mom is away. (25/8=3.1).