How Much Milk Do Breastfed Babies Eat
By Amanda Glenn, CLC. Last Updated November 21, 2021May 21, 2020.
When youre exclusively pumping for your baby or even if youre both nursing and bottle feeding pumped milk it can be hard to know exactly how much your baby should be eating. How much should your baby get per feeding? How much should he or she eat in a day?
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Many people feeding pumped breast milk refer to formula feeding guidelines for an idea of how much they should be giving their babies.
However, formula and breast milk arent the same for example, breast milk is metabolized faster than formula. And because most breastfed babies are nursed, there is no way to tell how much they are taking in .
So, how to know how much breast milk should your baby be eating?
I recently did a survey of women that exclusively pumped for their babies, and one of the questions that I asked the respondents was how much milk their babies ate on a daily basis. Ill go through these results first, and then go through the recommendations for formula fed babies to see how they compare.
When Should I Feed My Baby
As a rough guide, babies need to feed at least eight to 12 times over 24 hours during the first few weeks . That means theyll probably need to feed every two to three hours.
Watch our video for tips on how often and how long to breastfeed your baby for.
Its best to feed babies responsively or in a baby-led way rather than sticking to a feeding schedule . Letting your baby feed when they want will help them get the milk they need. It will also stimulate your milk supply .
How Much Breast Milk Or Formula Should I Give My Baby After Starting Solids
Breast milk or formula should make up the bulk of your babys nutrition until hes a year old. But as he starts eating more solid food, the amount of breast milk or formula he drinks will slowly taper off. Specific amounts are different for every baby, of course, but here are some basic rules of thumb:
6 months: Nurse five to six times a day for a total of 24 to 36 ounces of breast milk, or offer four to five bottles a day with 6 to 8 ounces of formula each.
7 months: Nurse five to six times a day for a total of 24 to 30 ounces of breast milk, or offer four to five bottles a day with 6 to 8 ounces of formula each.
8 months: Nurse four to six times a day for a total of 24 to 30 ounces of breast milk, or offer three to five bottles a day with 7 to 8 ounces of formula each.
9 months: Nurse four to six times a day for a total of 24 to 30 ounces of breast milk, or offer three to four bottles a day with 7 to 8 ounces of formula each.
10 months: Nurse four times a day for a total of 24 to 30 ounces of breast milk, or offer three to four bottles a day with 7 to 8 ounces of formula each.
11 months: Nurse or bottle-feed three to four times a day for a total of 24 ounces of breast milk or formula.
12 months: 24 ounces of breast milk or formula a day, edging closer to 16 ounces by your babys first birthday.
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So What Should You Do With This Information
I get frequent questions as to how many ounces should be in a babys bottle at given ages.
Unfortunately, there is no one-size-fits all answer. As you can see from the first chart, there is a huge variation in what breastfed babies will eat in a given day your baby might be one that only needs 20 oz per day or one who needs a lot more.
My goal with this post was to be able to give mothers a ballpark as to what is normal for breastfed babies to eat in a given day, and if you want, you can use this as a starting point that you can tweak based on your babys needs.
Ultimately, though, I would let your baby be your guide. If he finishes his bottle and still seems hungry and isnt soothed by a pacifier or any of your other tricks, then I would go ahead and feed him more. If hes on the other end of the spectrum and just doesnt like to eat much, I wouldnt push it unless there is an issue with weight gain .
Note: If youre a data geek like me and interested in more survey data, I wrote an e-book about exclusive pumping and milk supply that makes extensive use of it you can check out here.
Daily Milk Intake Over Time
As we can see on the chart, a baby’s daily milk consumption will continuously increase until it peaks at around 9 months old. After that, as they’re progressively introduced to solids, milk will progressively become a snack as opposed to their main source of nutrition.
For a breastfeeding mother, it’s very taxing to adapt to such fast changing needs. Not only does your body need to produce an ever increasing amount of milk during the first 9 months of your newborn, it also needs to change when it produces it as your little one learns how to sleep through the night.
This is why most breastfeeding mothers experience breastfeeding issues that can typically be classified in 2 categories. 1) They either don’t produce enough milk or milk that’s not nutritious enough for their baby. 2) They have enough milk but the constant changes they need to adapt to leads to engorged breasts and blocked ducts. If you face the first issue we highly recommend Milk Boost Tea: it’s packed with herbs that can help you not only increase your milk supply but also with the nutritional quality of your milk. As for the second issue, if you have engorged breasts or blocked ducts, you need to try Unblock Nursing Tea: it will help relieve the engorgement and avoid that the issues worsen into mastitis, a painful infection of the breast.
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How To Feed A Newborn Puppy
- A puppy nursing bottle is the best way to feed your bundle of joy. The size of the hole in the nipple is crucial to successful bottle feeding, according to experts at Best Friends. To check this, turn the bottle upside down and gently squeeze: If the milk drips freely the hole is too large. That means the puppy could take in too much milk and risk inhaling it into their lungs. If the hole is too small, the puppy has to work too hard to get nourishment and may refuse to nurse. The hole is the proper size if, when the bottle is squeezed gently, the milk comes out a small drop at a time.
- Puppies shouldnt be fed on their backs because they dont have a well-developed gag reflex and theres a danger that fluid may go down their windpipe and enter their lungs. Instead, place the puppy on his stomach with his head level as if he was nursing from his mom.
- Open the puppys mouth gently with one finger and place the tip of the nipple on his tongue. If he wont eat, try stroking him. Tilt the bottle up slightly to prevent the puppy from inhaling too much air. Do not force the puppy to nurse, or allow him to nurse too fast.
- After each feeding, the puppy should be burped by holding him against your shoulder and gently patting his back.
From 9 To 12 Months Old
At this stage solids are more than a mere snack, they should make up about a third of your little one’s nutrition.
This means that after months of ever increasing milk consumption, for the first time in their life they’ll be needing less milk! The number of feedings per day will typically drop to 4 with about 6 oz of milk per feeding for a total of 24 oz a day
If you were breastfeeding, this means you’ll need to teach your body to produce less milk. Normally it all happens naturally: as your baby eats less, your body will produce less. Sometimes though your body will have a hard time adjusting, resulting in engorged breasts and blocked ducts for a few days. If that happens to you, it’s a good idea to use Unblock Nursing Tea to relieve the engorgement.
Instead of reducing your milk production, you could also very well keep it at the same level and store the unused milk in the freezer for later use. This is a great way to prolong the time period during which your little one drinks breast milk. Remember: the longer the better! The official doctors’ recommendation is to give breast milk until 2 years old but some mums do so until 3 or 4, and that’s great!
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What Is A Baby Feeding Schedule
Itâs simple: You should nurse or offer a bottle whenever your little one is hungry in the first few months as a newborn. And your baby is going to let you know, loud and clear! But crying isnât the only clue.
Following your child’s lead, instead of trying to stick to a strict time-based schedule, is often called âdemand feedingâ or âfeeding on-demand.â Since your infant can’t actually say “I’m hungry,â youâll want to learn to look for cues that it’s time to eat. These may include:
- Leaning toward your breast or a bottle
- Sucking on their hands or fingers
- Opening their mouth, sticking out their tongue, or puckering their lips
Crying is also a sign of hunger. But if you wait until your baby is very upset to feed them, it can be hard to calm them down.
What Foods Should We Start Introducing Our Baby To First
There are many ways to introduce solid food. The first foods usually vary from culture to culture and from family to family.
Start with foods that contain iron, which babies need for many different aspects of their development. Meat, poultry, cooked whole egg, fish, tofu, and well-cooked legumes are good sources of iron. Store-bought iron-fortified infant cereals such as oat, wheat, barley or rice are also common first foods because they are good sources of iron. Offer iron-rich foods at least twice per day.
Healthy foods that your whole family is eating are the best choice for your baby. You can use commercial baby foods, but read the label to ensure there is no added salt or sugar. A variety of textures , and soft finger foods are recommended. As baby gets older, offer foods with more texture.
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For Both Breastfed And Bottle
- Dont give liquids other than formula or breast milk to babies under a year old. That includes juices and cows milk. They dont provide the right nutrients and can be upsetting to your babys tummy. Water can be introduced around 6 months when you start offering a cup.
- Dont add baby cereal to a bottle.
- It can create a choking hazard.
- A babys digestive system isnt mature enough to handle cereal until about 4 to 6 months of age.
- You could overfeed your baby.
How Much & How Often To Feed Your Baby
Ensure that you know how much and how often to feed your baby, and how to tell whether or not baby is getting enough to eat, with this comprehensive guide from Enfamil A+.
Knowing how much to feed a baby can be tricky. There is a learning curve when it comes to breastfeeding and formula-feeding, and its completely normal to have some questions. This comprehensive roundup should provide you with the information you need to feel comfortable and confident knowing how much and how often to feed your baby.
Every baby is different, and feeding amounts can vary depending on the child. In addition, breastfeeding moms may face separate questions than moms who choose to formula-feed. This article is broken down into a few different sections to answer any and all of your questions about how much your baby should eat:
Tips for Transitioning to Solids
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Babies Vary In Their Needs From Individual To Individual And From Day To Day
Different babies have different needs, and the same baby experiences fluctuations in energy requirements over time.
What if your baby has the urge to be more active, and needs more food to fuel her activities?
What if your infant needs more fluids because its hot, or because hes coming down with a virus?
What if your baby is in the middle of a growth spurt?
It isnt merely that you need to adopt a schedule that is individualized to your babys current needs. You also need a schedule that keeps changing in response his or her future needs.
Thats pretty hard to do unless you are paying attention to your baby, offering meals when you observe signs of hunger. And if you are doing that, you arent imposing a strictly-timed infant feeding schedule. By definition, you are feeding on cue.
Moreover, the babys need for food and fluids is only one side of the equation the demand side. There is also the supply side of the equation. If your baby is on formula, its easy to figure out what your baby is being supplied with. You can read the label, and know your baby is getting the same formulation from one feed to the next.
But breast milk doesnt work that way. Human breast milk is roughly similar in composition from one woman to the next, but there are significant differences. Not only does breast milk vary between individuals. It also varies between milk samples produced by the same woman at different points in time.
How Much Formula Should I Give My Baby
Within the first few weeks, make two- to three-ounce bottles every two to three hours for your newborn. Increase this amount after adjusting to their eating patterns. Look for the following cues to know when to start increasing your little ones formula intake:
- Finishing a full bottle at each feeding
- Showing signs of hunger after each feeding
Newborns drink about 1.5 to 3 ounces of formula every two to three hours. Increase the amount as your baby grows.
Two-month-old babies drink about 4 to 6 ounces of formula every three to four hours. Increase the amount when your baby is able to consume more formula at each feeding.
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Limitations Of Formula Feeding
Just as breastfeeding has its unique demands, so does bottle feeding. Bottle feeding takes organization and preparation, especially if you want to take your baby out. Store-bought formula can be pretty expensive, but do not try to make your own formula at home.
It’s important to make sure that you have enough formula on hand, and bottles that are clean and ready to be used.
Here are a few guidelines for formula feeding:
- Carefully follow directions on the label when preparing formula. Do not add more water than directed.
- Bottles left out of the refrigerator longer than 1 hour and any formula left in the bottle that a baby doesn’t finish should be discarded.
- Prepared bottles of formula can be stored in the refrigerator up to 24 hours and carefully warmed just before feeding. You don’t have to warm formula, but most babies prefer it.
- A bottle of formula can be warmed by holding it in running warm water or setting it in a pan of warm water. A bottle of formula should never be warmed in a microwave. The bottle can heat unevenly and leave “hot spots” that can burn a baby’s mouth.
How Much And How Often To Feed Infant Formula
Information about finding infant formula can be found here.external icon
Additional information to help families during the infant formula shortage can be found here.
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Every baby is different. How much and how often your baby feeds will depend on your babys needs. Here are a few things to know about infant formula feeding during the first days, weeks, and months of your babys life.
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How Much To Feed A Baby: The Basics
Right from the start, your baby needs the right nutrition to support healthy development. The Canadian Pediatric Society, Health Canada, Breastfeeding Committee for Canada and Dietitians of Canada recommend exclusively breastfeeding for the first six months, as breastmilk will provide your baby with all of the nutrition that they need. After six months you can begin introducing solid foods. They further recommend that if you are breastfeeding, you give your baby a daily Vitamin D supplement of 400 IU. If breastfeeding is not an option, dont worry: Infant formula like Enfamil A+ is designed to meet the nutritional requirements your baby needs.
Feeding Highlights for Year One
- For the first six months, breastmilk and/or baby formula will provide your baby with the nutrition they need.
- Initially, most babies do not need breastfeeding and formula feeding schedules. However, they will settle into more of a routine as they get older
- Whether you are breastfeeding or formula-feeding, it is important to listen to your babys feeding cues and feed them according to their hunger.
- Around six-months old is when you can begin to introduce solid foods to your babys diet below.