How much breastmilk does a newborn need chart?

Newborns need to eat frequently, about 8-12 times in a 24 hour period. On average, a newborn consumes around 25-35 oz of breastmilk per day. However, every baby is different and may need more or less than the average. The amount of breastmilk a newborn needs depends on various factors.

How often should a newborn breastfeed?

In the first few weeks, a newborn should breastfeed 8-12 times per day, about every 1.5-3 hours. Newborns feed frequently because their stomachs are very small, only holding 1-2 oz at a time. Frequent feeding helps establish milk supply and prevents newborn jaundice. Feed on demand, whenever baby shows hunger cues like rooting, sucking, hands to mouth, etc. Allow baby to feed from one breast as long as they want before offering the second breast. Alternate which breast you start with.

How much milk does a newborn get per feeding?

A newborn’s stomach capacity is only 5-7 ml or 1-2 oz in the first days. They consume around 2-3 oz per feeding in the first month. Feedings may be spaced closer together in the early weeks as baby’s stomach capacity grows. By one month, a baby’s stomach holds around 2-4 oz per feeding.

How many wet/dirty diapers should a breastfed newborn have?

Wet and dirty diapers indicate proper breastmilk intake. In the first couple days, a newborn should have at least 1-2 wet and dirty diapers per day. From day 4 onwards, aim for:

  • At least 6 heavy wet diapers per day
  • At least 3-4 yellow, seedy stools per day

If output is less than this, speak to a lactation consultant to ensure baby is getting enough milk.

Average breastmilk intake by age

Here is an overview of the average amount of breastmilk a newborn consumes per day by age:

Age Average Ounces per Day
First 3 days 5-7 oz
1 week 15-25 oz
2 weeks 20-30 oz
1 month 25-35 oz
2 months 30-40 oz
3 months 30-35 oz

Remember, all babies are different. Focus on diaper output and weight gain rather than ounces consumed.

How to know if your newborn is getting enough milk

Signs your newborn is getting enough breastmilk:

  • 6+ wet diapers and 3-4 yellow, seedy stools per day after day 4
  • Positive weight gain and growth
  • Baby is alert and active when awake
  • Satisfied and content after feeding
  • Strong sucking reflex and audible swallowing

Speak to a lactation consultant if you have any concerns about milk intake. They can do a weighted feed to measure exactly how much milk baby consumes.

Tips for ensuring adequate breastmilk intake

  • Nurse on demand every 1.5-3 hours in the early weeks
  • Offer both breasts at each feeding
  • Aim for at least 10-12 feedings per 24 hours
  • Ensure proper latch to optimize milk transfer
  • Offer breast compression during letdown to keep baby feeding actively
  • Wake baby to feed if longer than 3 hours pass at night
  • If supplementing, use paced bottle feeding to mimic breast

Reasons for low breastmilk intake

Some reasons your newborn may not be getting enough breastmilk:

  • Poor latch or ineffective suck
  • Not nursing frequently enough
  • Pacifier overuse interfering with feeding
  • Difficulty rousing baby for night feedings
  • Delayed onset of mature milk supply
  • Anatomical variations like tongue-tie
  • Using bottles too early
  • Mother’s health or medication inhibiting milk supply

See a lactation consultant as soon as possible if you suspect an issue. They can help identify the cause and create a customized feeding plan.

Supplementing with formula

Sometimes supplementing with a small amount of formula is needed, for example if:

  • Baby has lost over 10% of birth weight
  • Output of wet/dirty diapers is inadequate
  • Baby is showing signs of dehydration
  • Mother has delayed milk supply
  • Baby is not latching effectively
  • Mother needs to be away from baby and pumping is not enough

Aim to limit supplementation to 1-2 oz per feeding. Use paced bottle feeding to mimic breastfeeding. Pump to maintain and build milk supply when supplementing. Prioritize nursing at the breast as much as possible.

Monitoring growth with percentile charts

Pediatricians use infant growth percentile charts to assess if a baby is getting adequate nutrition. Compare baby’s weight percentiles over time, aiming for steady growth along their curve without major drops. A weight loss of over 10% from birth weight warrants evaluation. Sudden changes in percentiles later on can indicate an issue like poor milk intake.

When to see a lactation consultant

See a lactation consultant if:

  • Less than 6 wet diapers or 3-4 stools per day after day 4
  • Inadequate weight gain
  • Signs of dehydration like few tears, dry mouth, soft spot sinking
  • Difficulty latching or painful nursing
  • Ongoing nipple damage
  • Need to supplement with formula

International board certified lactation consultants (IBCLCs) have extensive training to help identify and resolve breastfeeding problems. Seeing one within the first 2 weeks can help prevent major issues before they start.

Pumping and bottle feeding breastmilk

Pumping allows someone else to bottle feed breastmilk so mom can get some rest. Wait until breastfeeding is well established around 3-4 weeks before introducing a bottle. Then give one bottle per day max to prevent nipple confusion. Here are some tips for bottle feeding expressed milk:

  • Use the slowest flow nipple to mimic breast
  • Hold baby upright with head and neck supported
  • Keep baby close, with eye contact and stroking
  • Pace feeding by tipping bottle horizontally, letting baby suck and pause
  • Mimic breastfeeding by switching sides, burping, etc.
  • Stop when baby shows signs of fullness

Avoid propping bottles to feed unattended. Responsive bottle feeding promotes bonding and prevents overfeeding.

Tracking breastmilk intake

Keeping a log of breastmilk intake and diaper output can reassure you that baby is eating enough. Note time of day, which breast, and duration of each nursing session. Also track number of wet/dirty diapers and appearance. Bring the log to pediatrician visits too. Apps like Baby Tracker, Feed Baby, and Huckleberry can help you record and monitor.

When to night wean

Newborns need to eat round the clock, especially to help establish milk supply. Allow on demand night feedings in the early months without any schedule. At 4-6 months when solids are introduced, you can gradually night wean if desired. But some babies continue night feeds well beyond 6 months, which is normal.

Bottle feeding breastmilk at daycare

You can provide pumped breastmilk for childcare providers to bottle feed. Here are some tips to make it go smoothly:

  • Introduce bottles weeks before leaving baby, max 1 per day
  • Send measured, labeled bottles ready to use
  • Provide extra milk in case baby is hungrier than usual
  • Communicate amount baby takes from each bottle
  • Pump at work at the same times baby feeds to maintain supply

Coordinate feedings with the provider so baby follows a consistent feeding schedule. Keep nursing frequently when you are together.

Weaning from breastmilk

There is no rush to wean from breastmilk. The AAP recommends breastfeeding for at least 12 months, and the WHO suggests continuing for 2 years. Gradually introduce solids around 6 months but continue breastfeeding. When ready to fully wean, here are some tips:

  • Drop one feeding at a time every few days by replacing with a bottle
  • Eliminate night feeds first before daytime feeds
  • Use more distracting activities and water to help baby lose interest
  • Offer a sippy cup of water, milk, or formula when refusing breast
  • Stop pumping to allow milk supply to gradually decrease
  • Keep sessions brief and breastfeed in a less comfortable spot

Wean gradually over weeks or months to make it easier on both mother and baby.

Increasing breastmilk supply

If your supply seems low, try these tips for increasing production:

  • Nurse baby more often, at least 8-12 times per day
  • Allow baby unrestricted time at breast
  • Offer both breasts each feeding
  • Pump after or between feedings to fully empty breasts
  • Ensure proper flange fit and pump settings when pumping
  • Use breast compression and massage during nursing/pumping
  • Stay hydrated and eat a balanced diet
  • Get plenty of rest and relaxation

A lactation supplement like fenugreek or blessed thistle may also help. See a lactation consultant to rule out any anatomical factors inhibiting milk transfer.

Storing and handling breastmilk

Proper storage and handling preserves breastmilk nutrition and quality. Follow these guidelines:

  • Store in clean glass or BPA-free plastic bottles
  • Label milk with date it was pumped
  • Refrigerate promptly after pumping, within 4 hours
  • Store at back of fridge, not door
  • Refrigerated milk keeps 4-8 days
  • Frozen milk keeps 6-12 months in deep freezer
  • Thaw frozen milk overnight in fridge or in warm water
  • Gently swirl milk after thawing, don’t shake
  • Discard any spoiled, separated, or smelly milk
  • Never re-freeze or microwave breastmilk


Feeding breastmilk provides ideal infant nutrition. Pay attention to wet diapers, stools, weight checks, and hunger cues rather than focusing on amount consumed. Nurse frequently on demand in the early weeks and months to help establish a robust milk supply. Seek lactation support sooner rather than later for any feeding difficulties. With patience and proper guidance, breastfeeding your newborn can become an easy and rewarding part of your daily routine.

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