How Much Milk Does My Newborn Need? Here Is The Simple Truth

Baby newborn feeds on mother's breasts milk

As a new mom (or soon to be mom), you soon realize there is nothing as satisfying as the soft sound of your baby swallowing as they feed. 

This is the ultimate gift of motherhood - your ability to nurture. You are the provider of life-giving milk. This is the only source of nutrition and sustenance for your little one. 

True, there are cases when a mother is unable, or chooses not to breastfeed. Circumstances vary but in essence, milk is the key factor for your baby’s survival. 

Be it baby formula, pumped milk, or direct from the source it is a necessity that cannot be withheld.

So how do you decide when to feed? And how much should you feed the little one? Is there a difference between breastfeeding and bottle feeding?

Read on, and relieve all your worries so you and baby can enjoy your first few months together.

Baby’s Stomach Size and Impact on Feeding

A newborn baby’s stomach is extremely small. Only about the size of a cherry. This means even the smallest amount of milk will fill them up. This may seem worrying to a new mother as it seems they are not feeding enough. Relax, it’s normal.

The mother’s body produces nutrient-rich colostrum - the superfood for your newborn. This sticky, yellow fluid helps your baby transition to life outside the womb.

The amount produced is just enough to fill your baby’s tiny stomach. You produce 1-4 teaspoons of colostrum for the first 5 days.

newborn baby's stomach

At the start, short frequent feeds are the norm - sometimes up to 12 feeds in 24 hours.

Feeling like a feeding machine during the first few weeks? Great, you’re on the right track.

How Many Ounces of Breastmilk Does a Newborn Baby Need?

Nature has designed your body to work in conjunction with your baby’s. This means as their nutritional needs increase, so will your production.

It’s not easy to determine the exact amount of milk your baby needs, but it is advisable to feed as often as necessary. 

You may also have to endure cluster feeding. This is when your baby feeds constantly but for only short periods.

The amount of milk a baby needs averages 25oz/750ml for babies between one to five months old. This number can vary from 15oz-41oz.

This table is an average summary of the feeding needs of newborn babies according to weight.

Baby Weight (lbs) Daily Amount of Milk Needed (oz) Baby Weight (Kg) Daily Amount of 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


Baby’s Age Breastmilk per feeding Frequency of Feeding
Day 1 1 - 1.5 teaspoons Every 2 - 3 hours
Day 2 3 teaspoons Every 2 - 3 hours
Day 3 - Day 7 1 oz - 2.2 oz Every 2 - 3 hours
Day 7 - Day 30 2 oz - 4 oz Every 2 - 3 hours
1 month - 6 months 4 oz - 6 oz Every 3 - 4 hours

These figures are estimates for the average baby so do not take them as absolute truth. They will vary for each child and should only work as a rough guide for new mothers. 

How to Measure Breastmilk for Bottle Feeding

There may be times when you need to bottle your breastmilk for later feeding. You might be leaving your child for a few hours, or even be a working mother returning to work. You need to pump enough milk to satisfy your child while you are away. The question is; how do you determine how much milk to pump? 

Here’s a simple formula to help you calculate how much breastmilk is enough for your baby;

How to calculate the amount of breast milk per bottle

Bottle-feeding? Here’s How Much Formula Your Newborn Needs

For any number of reasons, mothers may not be able to breastfeed and have to give their babies formula. 

Infant formulas are a nutritious alternative to breastmilk. Many contain additional vitamins and minerals for your baby’s development.

The amount of formula you feed your baby will differ from breastmilk for a number of reasons.

  • Breastmilk is more easily digestible than formula so frequent feedings may be necessary.
  • Breastmilk is more nutritious so fewer amounts are needed to fill-up your baby per feeding.
  • Baby formula is digested slower than breastmilk so fewer feedings are needed.
  • Breastfeeding babes are able to control the amount they consume, thus preventing overfeeding

On average, formula-fed babies consume 2 oz - 4 oz every three hours during a 24-hour period. 

This below table shows the average amounts of formula consumed according to age.

Age Average Amount per Feeding Feeding Frequency
Newborn 2 oz - 3 oz Every 2 - 3 hours
1 month 4 oz Every 3 - 4 hours
2 months 4 oz Every 3 - 4 hours
4 months 4 oz - 6 oz Every 3 - 4 hours
6 months 6 oz - 8 oz Every 4 - 5 hours
12 months 8 oz Every 7 - 8 hours (supplemented with solid food)


How Do I Know When My Baby is Full?

It’s perfectly normal for mothers to worry that their babies are not receiving enough milk. 

When breastfeeding, it is difficult to determine how much milk they are swallowing. It is easier to measure their feeds when bottle feeding. 

So here are a few tips for new mothers which will tell them when their baby is full and feeding well.

  • During feeding, you can see the baby’s jaw working steadily. This is a sign they are drawing milk from your breast. The ears should also move up and down as they suckle. 
  • You can hear the baby swallowing softly. Listen for at least ten minutes for a whispered ‘keh’ sound.
  • When your baby is satisfied, the baby will usually release the breast. They relax and may even fall asleep.
  • After feeding, your own body will tell you if there has been sufficient milk released. Your breasts will feel softer and will stop leaking.
  • For a visible sign that your baby is receiving enough milk, examine their stool. It should go from dark meconium to a soft, yellowish consistency. 
  • Your baby should be wetting their diaper at least six times a day.

How To Get the Most Out of Every Feed

If you plan on breastfeeding your baby after birth, you need to prepare yourself and gather all the necessary supplies. 

You will be constantly nursing so you need to be comfortable. Here are some basics which will make your feeding experience a bit easier.

  1. Nursing chair - Choose a comfortable chair that supports your back and arms - you will be spending a lot of time in it. 
  2. Baby’s pillow - This is used to support your child while they feed. It also gives your arms a rest.
  3. Appropriate clothing - Choose loose tops that do not constrict your chest area.
  4. Nursing bra - Nursing bras are essential for all new moms. They provide enough support for enlarged breasts and allow easy access. They also stretch to accommodate the changing size of your breasts.

    The Everyday Maternity Bra
    The Everyday Maternity Bra

  5. Nursing pads - These will keep breastmilk from staining your clothing.
  6. Breast pump - Many mothers express milk for storage if returning to work or to collect excess milk.

    Determine your specific needs, such as the speed of pumping and cost. You should then invest in an appropriate breast pump.

Conquering the Task Of Breastfeeding

Feeding your baby should not be stressful. Sure, you may experience hiccups along the way and may need to seek professional guidance. 

One thing you can do which will make the experience a lot more enjoyable - choosing the right nursing bra. 

The New Bloom Maternity Everyday bra and Sleeping bra are the perfect items to keep you comfortable while you provide the sustenance your child requires. 

With unique UGrow technology, they stretch for when your breasts are full of milk. They then return to a smaller size when you have finished breastfeeding. 

Choose maternity bras that are designed to make your nursing journey as memorable and comfortable as possible.

Feature Image: happyfamilyorganics

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