Breast Milk Calculator - Amount of Expressed Breast Milk Baby Needs

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.

Number of Feedings per day
Result in OZ
MinimumAverageMaximum
Result in ML
MinimumAverageMaximum
 

How Much Milk Do Babies Need?

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 ageAmount 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)
range of breast milk

Amount of Breast Milk Needed By Baby as per their Weight

Baby weight (lbs)Breast milk needed (oz)Baby weight (Kg)Breast milk needed (ml)
5 lbs12 oz2.0 kg313 ml
6 lbs14 oz2.5 kg391 ml
7 lbs17 oz3.0 kg469 ml
8 lbs19 oz 3.5 kg 548 ml
9 lbs22 oz4.0 kg626 ml
10 lbs24 oz4.5 kg704 ml
11 lbs26 oz 5.0 kg 782 ml
12 lbs29 oz5.5 kg861 ml
13 lbs31 oz6.0 kg939 ml
14 lbs34 oz6.5 kg1000 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. 

How Much Milk Does a Baby Need When Eating Solids?

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.

Interesting Trivia About Breastfeeding

feeding info

Difference Between Mother's Milk, Animal Milk and Formula Milk

Below are some specific differences between particular types of milk(5).

Mother's MilkAnimal MilkFormula Milk
Bacterial ContaminantsNoneLikelyLikely when mixed
Anti-Infective FactorsAvailableNot AvailableNot Available
Growth factorsAvailableNot AvailableNot Available
ProteinIn Correct Amount- simple To DigestLarge Amount- Difficult To DigestPartly Corrected
FatEnough required fatty acids, lipase to digestLack in required fatty acids, No LipaseLack essential fatty acids, No Lipase
IronLittle Amount, Easily AbsorbedLittle Amount, Not Easily AbsorbedAdded Extra, Not absorbed easily
VitaminsGood amountNot Enough A and CAdded Vitamins
WaterGood amountMore RequiredMay Need Extra

How Much Expressed Milk Is Your Baby Drinking - Too Much or Too Little?

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).

  • Prefer round-shaped nipple with a wide base. It is believed to encourage tongue and jaw movements similar to that of sucking at the breast.
  • 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 bottle with a smaller opening to prevent the overflow of milk. A type that you could try is labeled as “slow flow” or “newborn.” 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 (8).

  • A well-fed baby nurses frequently, i.e., 8-12 times per 24 hours.
  • The baby seems relaxed and content.
  • Having three to four stools every day.
  • The number of diapers you change every day can give you a rough idea of your baby's milk intake. 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 its intake is healthy. On average, a baby could gain about 155-240 grams or 5.5-8.5 ounces per week until four months of age.
  • 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.

Storing Expressed Breast Milk – What You Should Know

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).

  • After expressing the breast milk, store it in a sterilized glass or plastic container with air-tight lids. If you are using a plastic container, ensure that it is made of food-grade plastic and is BPA free.
  • Always use a new container rather than add to previously refrigerated or frozen milk.
  • Label the container with the date on which the milk was expressed. 
  • You can store breast milk at room temperature (77°F / 25°C or colder) for up to four hours. Whereas, if you need to store it for longer, you can store it in a refrigerator at 32-39°F (0-4°C) 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.
  • Do not store breast milk in the door of the refrigerator. It is important to protect breast milk from temperature changes that could happen due to the opening and closing of the door.
  • When freezing breast milk, take small quantities of milk to avoid wasting. Also, leave about an inch of space at the top of the container because breast milk tends to expand on freezing.
  • Never heat the expressed milk in a microwave or on the stove as it could create hot spots that could burn your baby’s mouth. You can feed stored breast milk to your infant cold or at room temperature. In case you need to warm it, use a hot water container and place the bottle in it to warm. 
  • Stored breast milk, when warmed or brought to room temperature, must be used within two hours. 
  • If there is leftover milk in the bottle, it is best not to use it again after refrigeration.

While it may be convenient to store expressed breast milk for a week or more, fresh milk is always better.

 
 

Disclaimer:

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.

References:

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