When moms are breastfeeding, they don’t know how much milk baby is getting at the breast. We know babies are getting enough breastmilk when they are satisfied after breastfeeding, wetting and stooling often and are gaining weight well. But mothers often need to know how much breastmilk to have on hand if they are going to miss a feeding or they are going back to work and the baby needs to bottle feed. Here are some general breastmilk bottle feeding guidelines:
- 1 week old – 2 ounces is an excellent feeding
- 2 weeks old – 2 to 3 ounces; 3 oz if it’s a morning feeding, baby slept longer or is really hungry
- 4 weeks old – 2 to 4 ounces; 2 oz would be the minimum and more of a snack; 3 to 4 oz would be an average feeding
- 2 months old – 4 to 5 oz will be an average feeding; 2 to 3 oz will be a snack
- 4 months to 1 year – 4 to 5 oz continues to be the average amount most breastfeeding babies will be getting at a feeding. At 6 months, they get more calories from starting on solid foods.
These amounts can vary greatly from mom to mom and baby to baby. Some mom’s breasts have a smaller storage capacity and her baby may get smaller, more frequent feedings such as 2 to 3 ounces every 2 to 3 hours. Other mothers have an abundant milk supply and some of those babies will frequently get 5 to 7 ounces per feeding and nurse less frequently. Most babies get larger feedings in the morning when the breasts are most full but they cluster feed later in the day when mom’s milk supply is at its lowest. There is no specific amount that is correct for every mom and baby. When babies are gaining weight well, which is an ounce per day in the early months, whatever amount they are getting is the correct amount.
Often moms see the 8 oz bottles in the stores and think they should be able to pump that amount for their baby. 8 oz bottles are for formula fed babies. Breastmilk is made perfectly for your baby’s digestion so there isn’t a lot of waste in it and therefore they don’t need as much as formula fed babies.
Sometimes when moms go back to work, they find baby is taking more at daycare than what they are pumping at work. Just because a baby takes a larger amount in a bottle, doesn’t necessarily mean that they need it. Babies get a lot of cuddling and nurturing at the breast whereas a bottle-feeding session can go quite quickly. Their little brains haven’t had time to register that their tummies are full so they think they need to eat even more. Here are some tips to help this situation:
- Use a slow flow nipple with a wide base.
- Take the nipple out of the baby’s mouth after each ounce and physically slow the feeding down.
- Take time to burp baby frequently.
- Spend time cuddling baby and possibly offering a pacifier after a feeding.
Still have questions? Don’t hesitate to call or email me anytime with your concerns. I am here to assist you in any way I can.