How much milk does my baby need?
Updated: Mar 22
This is a classic question I get from almost all parents at some point during working together.
Many people ask this because they think when baby is cluster feeding or eating more than every 2-3 hours or ”snack nursing”, that this means they are not getting enough and therefore are still hungry.
On average, a newborn drinks about 1.5–3 ounces (45–90 milliliters) every 2–3 hours. This amount increases as your baby grows and is able to take more at each feeding. At about 2 months, your baby may drink about 4–5 ounces (120–150 milliliters) every 3–4 hours.
Keep in mind that a baby tummy is tiny and breastmilk digests more quickly than formula so keep that in mind depending on your infant feeding choice. Infants need to eat about 8-14x or more per 24 hour period and this includes night feeding.
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). This increases in small increments during growth spurt times and is usually at it's peak with intake 1-6 months while gradually decreasing after 6 months as more solids and other complementary foods are introduced with milk. KellyMom.com has a great calculator for this and also a wonderful in depth article.
Here is the chart I use for my client visits:
Average amount baby needs per feeding (based on 8 feedings per day):
Day 1 - Baby needs 5-7 ml per feeding
Day 2 - Baby needs 15 ml per feeding (.5oz)
Day 3 - Baby needs 25 ml per feeding
Day 4 - Baby needs 30 ml per feeding (1oz)
Day 5 - Baby needs 35 ml per feeding
Day 6 - Baby needs 40 ml per feeding
Days 7 - 10 - Baby needs 45-60 ml per feeding (1.5-2oz)
Days 11 - 13 - Baby needs 60-90 ml per feeding (2-3oz)
Babies 12-13lbs or less or under 3 months
Weight x 2.5 = daily intake
Over 14 days old - use the baby's weight listed below. Divide the total daily amount by the number of feedings to figure out how much baby needs per feeding.
6lbs - 16oz-20oz per day
7lbs - 18oz-22oz per day
8lbs - 20oz-24oz per day
9lbs - 22oz-26oz per day
10lbs - 24oz-28oz per day
11lbs - 26oz-30oz per day
12lbs - 28oz-32oz per day
13lbs+ - 30oz-32oz per day
VeryWell also has a cool little calculator for parents to use and even as a lactation consultant I refer to these resources often for each individual baby's needs.
If under 10lbs take your baby's weight in pounds x 2.5 / 8 = Ounces of breast milk per bottle
If you are using milliliters rather than ounces per bottle, multiply the result by 30.
Signs that you know your baby is doing well with feeding is by checking their output, if something is going in then something is coming out. Don’t troubleshoot it yourself if nothing is coming out, that indicates a problem. Over the counter constipation relief when used improperly can cause your baby more harm than good. Always ask your pediatrician before using any products and seek the help of an IBCLC to find out why baby may be having trouble with input to output. If they are peeing (7+) and pooping (1+) daily or more then likely doing well.
Another way to know is by weight gain! The pediatrician appt can feel so far away. If you need a quick weight check or weighted feed transfer you may want to visit a breastfeeding support group like mine or find an IBCLC to book an appt to get an update on your baby’s growth and development with regards to infant feeding.
If your baby is on the person with the milk, they may always shows “hunger cues” because they can smell the milk on you, so they root—open their mouth and start licking. The best way to tell is to simply put the baby in a safe place or with someone else and see how their cues are then, if still rooting then yes, possibly still hungry, offer a breast or a bottle.
Expect your baby to lose weight in the first 3 days of life, but never more than 10%. They should gain about 1oz per day after that. Back to birth weight by 14 days. If none of this is happening or you believe your baby is not getting enough, please seek out a lactation professional to help you and your baby meet your goals.
I love this easy to read infographic for quit computing and simple results! Found at www.verywellfamily.com a website I approve of your perusing during your journey.