Breast milk is the only food your newborn gets. For the complete nourishment of your baby, you need to ensure that the baby gets sufficient amounts of breast milk every day. But how do you know how much milk your baby needs? Knowing your baby's milk requirement is also essential when you are a working mom. You need to express breast milk to make it available for your newborn when you are away.
MomJunction has a solution for you right here! Our breast milk Calculator helps you determine the quantity of milk your baby needs in every feeding.
|Result in OZ|
|Result in ML|
Breastfed babies consume smaller quantities of milk when compared to those fed on formula milk. According to research, a newborn baby typically needs 8-12 feeds during the first few weeks after birth (1). The average intake of breast milk remains at around 25oz (750ml) per day for babies aged between one to five months (2). However, the intake, in general, could range from 450 to 1,200ml per day. Depending on the number of times your baby feeds every day, you can determine the amount of milk that needs to be expressed per bottle/ per feed. So if your baby feeds nine times a day, the average amount of milk per feed would be around 2.78oz (83.33ml).
The milk intake of the baby may increase after five days to a month. Thereafter, it remains almost constant for up to six months. So don't worry if you have to express the same amount of milk for the baby for up to six months. Most importantly, do not compare your baby's milk intake with that of other babies, as long as your child is happy, healthy, and they are getting enough milk every day.
|Your baby's age||Amount of milk per feed|
|Day 1 (0 to 24 hours)||7ml (just over a teaspoon)|
|Day 2 (24 to 48 hours)||14ml (just under 3 teaspoons)|
|Day 3 (48 to 72 hours)||38ml (1.3fl oz)|
|Day 4 (72 to 96 hours)||58ml (2fl oz)|
|Day 7 (144 to 168 hours)||65ml (2.2fl oz)|
|Baby weight (lbs)||Breast milk needed (oz)||Baby weight (Kg)||Breast milk needed (ml)|
|5 lbs||12 oz||2.0 kg||313 ml|
|6 lbs||14 oz||2.5 kg||391 ml|
|7 lbs||17 oz||3.0 kg||469 ml|
|8 lbs||19 oz||3.5 kg||548 ml|
|9 lbs||22 oz||4.0 kg||626 ml|
|10 lbs||24 oz||4.5 kg||704 ml|
|11 lbs||26 oz||5.0 kg||782 ml|
|12 lbs||29 oz||5.5 kg||861 ml|
|13 lbs||31 oz||6.0 kg||939 ml|
|14 lbs||34 oz||6.5 kg||1000 ml|
Note: The values mentioned in the table are average. Not all babies at a specific age consume the same amount of milk. Thus, the average intake values might differ from baby to baby.
If your baby has started eating solids, then they will need lower quantities of milk. Typically, babies are introduced to solid foods between four to six months of age, depending upon the signs of readiness (3). Breast milk remains the primary source of calories and nutrition for the baby even after six months, although the amount of intake may drop slightly.
Babies usually settle on three feeds of solid foods roughly after eight months and, on average, may need six to seven ounces of breast milk per feed three to five times a day. Ideally, breast milk is the first meal that a baby should have during the day, followed by solid foods.
A research study showed that approximate breast milk intake of infants, i.e., without supplementation with powder milk or cow’s milk averaged to 875 ml/day (93% of total energy intake) at seven months. Between the ages of 11-16 months, it averaged to 550 ml/day (50% of total energy intake)(4).
As a parent, you may be anxious to know exactly how much food your baby needs per day. But experts recommend that you let the baby decide that – most babies can do that themselves. All you need to do is provide them with healthy foods and sufficient amounts of breast milk in between, to ensure complete nourishment.
Below are some specific differences between particular types of milk(5).
|Mother's Milk||Animal Milk||Formula Milk|
|Bacterial Contaminants||None||Likely||Likely when mixed|
|Anti-Infective Factors||Available||Not Available||Not Available|
|Growth factors||Available||Not Available||Not Available|
|Protein||In Correct Amount- simple To Digest||Large Amount- Difficult To Digest||Partly Corrected|
|Fat||Enough required fatty acids, lipase to digest||Lack in required fatty acids, No Lipase||Lack essential fatty acids, No Lipase|
|Iron||Little Amount, Easily Absorbed||Little Amount, Not Easily Absorbed||Added Extra, Not absorbed easily|
|Vitamins||Good amount||Not Enough A and C||Added Vitamins|
|Water||Good amount||More Required||May Need Extra|
When your baby breastfeeds, they know when to start and stop, depending on whether or not they had enough during that feed. The chances of overfeeding the baby are also less when you breastfeed. However, this may not be the case when your baby is fed expressed breast milk by bottle. So how do you know if your baby is getting too much or too little?
Too little milk could result in malnutrition of the baby, and too much can lead to overfeeding (6). Your baby may refuse to drink from a bottle initially because the bottle nipple may feel and taste different when compared to the mother's skin. Hold the baby in a comfortable position and rock it gently before trying the bottle again. If the baby still refuses, you can try feeding the baby with a spoon or a sipper. Most babies will adjust quickly to the bottle once they are comfortable with the caregiver.
Your baby may also drink more milk than needed when fed by a bottle. The steady and fast flow of milk from a bottle can be one of the main reasons for that. Learning to manage the pace of the feed is important. Here are a few points to keep in mind when feeding the baby expressed milk through a bottle (7).
While you can estimate the amount of milk your baby needs based on its intake, there are other signs that can tell you whether or not your baby is getting enough milk every day (8).
If you plan on getting back to work, you will need to store expressed breast milk in clean containers. Breast milk can be expressed via hand or with a breast pump. Whichever mode you choose, you must take care how you store expressed breast milk. It is crucial for your baby's health and safety (9)(10)(11).
While it may be convenient to store expressed breast milk for a week or more, fresh milk is always better.
No, a breast milk calculator predicts the amount of milk the baby requires per feed based on the number of feeds the baby has.
No. The calculator is only designed for breast milk. Formula-fed babies usually need fewer feeds, and the quantity of formula per feed is different from breast milk.
Yes. The calculator does not have the mode of birth as a factor.
If you are not producing enough as per the required amount predicted by the breast milk calculator, it may be advisable to see a lactation consultant.
A breast milk calculator does not account for differences in milk production from one breast to the other.
Breast milk calculator is one of the ways to estimate the quantity of milk your baby needs per feed. However, it is not the only method, and you can only consider it as a guide for your doubts and concerns. As an infant's milk intake keeps changing, it is best to consult your doctor before planning a feeding routine.