Breast Milk Calculator
Breast milk is the only food your newborn gets. For complete nourishment of your baby, you need to ensure that he gets sufficient amount of milk every day. But how do you know how much milk he needs? Surely, your baby can't tell you that!
Knowing your baby's milk requirement is essential especially when you are a working mom. You need to express breast milk to make it available for your newborn when you are away. You can also express it so that your partner will feed the baby while you get some shut-eye and the much-needed rest.
MomJunction has a solution for you right here! Our Breast Milk Calculator helps you determine the quantity your baby needs in every feeding. All you need to know is the number of feedings that he needs every day and our calculator will give you:
- The minimum amount of milk per feed
- The average amount of milk per day
- The maximum amount of milk per day
Simple, isn't it?
We have put together some more information on a baby's breast milk intake for you. Keep reading to know more.
Q. How Much Milk Do Babies Need?
Breastfed babies consume smaller quantities of milk when compared to those fed on formula milk. According to a research done by American Academy of Pediatrics, a newborn baby typically needs 8-12 feeds during the first 24 hours. The average intake of breast milk remains at around 25oz (750ml) per day for babies aged between one and six months old (1). 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 until 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 and healthy, he is getting enough milk every day.
Q. My Baby Is Eating Solid Foods – How Much Milk Does It Need?
If your baby has started eating solid foods, he will need lower quantities of milk. Typically, babies are introduced to solid foods after six months, as breast milk is all they need to stay healthy until then. Breast milk is 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 to three feeds of solid foods roughly after eight months and, on an average, may need six to seven ounces of breast milk per feed three to five times a day (2). Ideally, breast milk is the first meal that a baby should have during the day, followed by solid foods.
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. All you need to do is provide them with healthy foods and sufficient amounts of breast milk in between, to ensure complete nourishment.
Q. How Much Expressed Milk Is Your Baby Drinking - Too Much or Too Little?
When your baby breastfeeds, he knows when to start and stop, depending on whether or not he has had enough during that feed. The chances of overfeeding the baby are also less when you breastfeed. However, that 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. 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 (3).
Your baby may also drink more milk than he needs when fed by 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 by bottle:
- Do not thrust the bottle into the baby's mouth. Be gentle, let the baby take in the nipple slowly and naturally.
- The type of nipple you choose is also important for pacing the feed. Initially, go for a nipple with a smaller opening to prevent overflow of milk. Eventually, the type of nipple can be changed to suit the baby's feeding pace.
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.
Q. Other Ways To Estimate The Amount Of Milk Your Baby Needs
Here are a few more ways in which you can check if your baby is getting enough breast milk every day.
- The number of diapers you change every day can give you a rough idea of your baby's milk intake (4). Typically, a baby can have at least six diapers changed every day after a month or two. However, this may not apply to all babies.
- Consistent growth in the baby's weight can indicate that the its intake is healthy.
- Check if the baby is alert, responsive and active – these are good indicators of sufficient milk intake as well.
- Good skin color, proportionate growth in length and head circumference, and firm skin also indicate that your baby is getting the nourishment it needs.
Q. Storing Expressed Breast Milk – What You Should Know
If you plan on getting back to work after your baby, you will need to store expressed breast milk in clean containers. However, care should be taken on how you store and use expressed breast milk for your baby's health and safety.
- You can store breast milk at room temperature, for up to 10 hours.
- If you need to store it for longer, you can store it in a refrigerator (at 32-39°F) for up to eight days. You can keep it up to two weeks if you store the containers in the freezer compartment of the refrigerator.
- Never heat the expressed milk in a microwave or on stove.
- If there is leftover milk in the bottle, it is best not to use it again after refrigeration.
- Use glass containers with a solid cover or plastic containers with tight tops. Wash the containers first with clean water, and then by soap water and hot water before air- drying them for use. Sterilization of containers may not be necessary if they have been sterilized at the time of production.
While it may be convenient to store expressed breast milk for a week or more, fresh milk is always better.
Be There For Your Baby, Even When You Are Away
Motherhood need not stop you from going back to work. You can safely store expressed breastmilk for your baby to drink even when you are away. Use our Breast Milk Calculator to find out how much milk your baby needs per feed and to ensure she gets proper nourishment even in your absence.