How much breastmilk does a baby need in one feeding

How Much Breast Milk Should a Newborn Drink

Learn how much breast milk a baby actually drinks, and how to initiate, build, and maintain a strong milk supply.

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Congratulations on making the decision to breastfeed your newborn, Mama! We know you’ll have a lot of questions as you become adjusted to life with a little one, and we’re here to help you ease into it all. After your baby is born, your pregnancy hormones will dissipate. This allows your milk-making hormones to officially kick into high gear. Beginning breastfeeding within the first hour or so following your newborn’s birth helps provide valuable colostrum from the moment your baby first latches on to feed. Colostrum, a thick, immune-building and antibody-rich early breast milk, is immediately available during and sometimes even shortly before the first phase of a mother’s lactation journey: The Initiation Phase.

The Initiation Phase | First 24 Hours

The first five days after birth, while your body learns to make larger quantities of milk and your baby learns to feed, are extremely important in setting up the rest of your breastfeeding journey - but don’t expect your supply to be plentiful immediately. On average, your baby will consume about a teaspoon of colostrum per feeding in the first 24 hours, which is ideal for his or her tiny stomach. In fact, your baby’s stomach is only about the size of a cherry on day one and holds just 5 – 7 mL or 1 – 1 ½ teaspoons of breast milk during each feeding! Don’t worry – it’s normal for babies to lose some weight after being born, but your doctor and nurses will be carefully monitoring your newborn to make sure they are healthy.  

In addition to the nutritional and wellness benefits of colostrum for your baby, removing it by pumping or feeding tells your body that your baby will be getting hungry soon, so larger volumes of milk must be produced to meet your baby’s growing needs. By day 3, your newborn’s stomach will have grown to about the size of a walnut. This means that the amount of breast milk that a baby drinks will have increased exponentially in just a short time, with their tummy now able to hold between 22 – 27 ml or ¾ - 1 ounce per feeding. Feeding your newborn at least 8 – 10 times per day in the first week after birth helps to promote a healthy and ample milk supply going forward.

The Secretory Activation (or Building) Phase | 24 Hours to 2 Weeks

This phase happens when your body switches from producing colostrum to releasing more mature milk to meet the evolving needs of your growing newborn. While the timing is different for each mom, this typically occurs in the 24 – 120-hour range after birth. However, it can take longer for some moms, in which case you should work with your doctor or nurse to ensure your newborn is receiving the correct amount of nutrition until your milk volume increases. Often by the end of the first week, mothers are producing about 500 mLs or 16 ½ ounces of milk per 24 hours. Also around the 1 week mark, your baby’s stomach will have grown to about the size of an apricot with the capability of holding around 45 – 60 mL or 1 ½ - 2 ounces of milk

By about 2 weeks old, babies will generally be back up to their birth weight and will typically have at least 6 wet diapers and 3 or more diapers with bowel movements per 24 hours. Also around this time, your baby’s stomach has grown to about the size of an egg and can now hold between 80 – 150 mL or 2 ½ - 5 ounces per feeding. Your newborn will likely gain about 4 – 7 ounces per week in the first month and as you enter the Maintenance Phase of your lactation journey.

The Maintenance Phase | 4 Weeks to 12 Months

From the 4-week mark through the time that additional foods are introduced into your baby’s diet at about 6 months of age, your milk supply won’t change much if your feeding and pumping routine remains consistent. Because new foods will eventually replace some of the breast milk in your baby’s diet starting around 6 months old, your supply may start to gradually decrease at this point unless you’re pumping to build a stash. Babies usually gain about 4 – 7 ounces per week, or 1 – 2 pounds per month, for the first 6 months. This usually then tapers down to about a pound per month from roughly 6 – 12 months of age.

It is important to remember that breastfed infants take fewer but longer feeds as they get older, though their daily consumption remains about the same. This means that your little one may have less nursing sessions through the day, but will typically nurse for a longer period when they do. During the 3 – 6-month-old period, babies start to grow more slowly, so they don’t need a lot more milk at this time.

So, How Much Breast Milk Does a Baby Actually Need?

We try to make feeding as simple and straightforward as possible, but that’s not always easy. Every baby is different and, in most cases, there isn’t a specific intake amount that an infant must meet each day. Here are a few guidelines for what to expect:

  • The amount of milk that a baby drinks from a single breast ranges anywhere from 30 – 135mL, though the average volume is about 75 ml.
  • Your number of breastfeeding sessions per day may be anywhere from 4 – 13, depending on his or her appetite and how much milk is removed from the breast during each session.
  • A single breastfeeding session can express anywhere from 54 – 234 mL of milk.
  • Boys typically drink about 831 mL daily while girls usually drink about 755 mL each day.

With that in mind, the range of daily milk intake of growing, exclusively breastfed infants is anywhere from 478 – 1,356 mL. So, answering the question of how much breast milk a baby needs isn’t so easy. While guidelines like the above help give a little bit of context around your feeding experience, every mom, every baby and every breastfeeding journey is unique. As long as both mom and baby are happy and healthy, you’re doing things right!

Newborn Feeding Chart

Looking for more breastfeeding resources? Download our printable feeding and pumping log - available in English or Spanish! - for easy tracking of your baby's feedings and your pumping sessions.

You can also download our Medela Family app for personalized tracking of all your unique breastfeeding goals right from your smartphone, or take a look at the handy resources below:

What is the Range of Normal?

How Much Breast Milk Should a Newborn Eat?

In the early days at home with your newborn, getting into a regular feeding routine may be challenging - but learning how your baby's stomach grows over their first weeks outside the womb can help you both establish consistent nursing and feeding sessions.

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Learn How Your Baby's Stomach Grows Over Their First Days and Weeks

During the initial postpartum days with an at-term infant, getting into a regular feeding routine with your newborn may be challenging – it’s simply too early, and your baby will eat when he or she is hungry. Because their stomachs are so small, expect your little one to feed often but only drink a small volume of breast milk during these early nursing sessions. Each day, their stomach grows and the volume of breast milk it holds will quickly increase – this means that your baby will want and be able to drink larger volumes of milk as the days turn to weeks. This is a time of rapid growth for your newborn, so right now it’s usually best to follow their lead: Learn his or her cues and feed them as often as they indicate (at least 8 – 10 times per day through the first week), for as long as they want. Of course, this applies to babies who were born at term – late-term or early-term preemies may demonstrate different feeding cues and have special feeding situations.

Use our helpful guide to learn what the range of normal is when breastfeeding and consider the following to better understand your baby’s growing stomach size in the early days after birth:

How Many Ounces of Breast Milk Should a Newborn Drink?

  • Day One ---> Your baby’s stomach is about the size of a cherry! This means that it holds just 1 – 1 ½ teaspoons of milk at a time.
  • Day Three ---> Your baby’s stomach is about the size of a walnut! This means that it holds just ¾ - 1 ounce of milk at a time.
  • One Week ---> Your baby’s stomach is about the size of an apricot! This means that it holds about 1 ½ - 2 ounces of milk at a time.
  • Two Weeks ---> Your baby’s stomach is about the size of a large egg! This means that it holds about 2 ½ - 5 ounces of milk at a time.

Between one month old and six months old, your baby will begin to eat more efficiently in fewer sessions throughout the day, but the total amount of milk that he or she drinks per day will not change significantly. Every baby is different and many will certainly have days when they are hungrier than others, but the amount of breast milk that your little one will take in during this time typically averages out to anywhere from 19 – 30 ounces per day. However, this can change if you begin supplementing or, later on, as you’re introducing solid foods.

Though it’s totally normal for newborns to lose some weight after birth, most babies are back to their original birth weights by about two weeks old and should have at least 6 wet diapers and 3 or more diapers with a bowel movement in a 24-hour period. If you have concerns about your baby and whether they are getting enough breast milk, talk to your healthcare provider and pediatrician right away. As long as you and your little one are doing well, and he or she is meeting the recommended weight, digestive, and health measures, you can rest assured that you’re doing just fine.

If you need a little help tracking how much milk your baby is drinking each day, download our Medela Family app to easily log your pumping, nursing, and feeding sessions and your little one’s diapers. You can also download our printable feeding and pumping log - available in English and Spanish - to stay as organized as possible during those early weeks at home with your baby.

Your breast milk provides so many benefits to your newborn, mama. The vitamins, minerals, healthy fats, and other great nutrients are exactly what they need right now. Remember, you and your baby will establish a regular daily feeding pattern soon enough, so be patient with yourself during this early postpartum period and know that you are rocking this new mom life – You’re doing a great job!

How Much Should a Newborn Baby Eat

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Like every new mom, you're probably wondering, "How often should a newborn eat?" and “How many milliliters does a newborn baby drink at a time?”. A mother's body is designed to provide her baby with all the nutrients she needs, but every mom needs practical advice and confidence when it comes to how much milk a newborn should drink.

Whether you are breastfeeding, bottle feeding or a combination, here you will find all the information you need to know about how much food your baby needs to grow and develop properly.

Signs indicating that the child is hungry

Every mother has a wonderful maternal instinct, but we cannot guess the child's desires from the first time. Over time, you will learn your child's unique gestures and body movements, as well as signs that he is hungry. In the meantime, here are some of the most common signs that a child is hungry:

  • turns head towards your breast or bottle;
  • clenches;
  • puts pens in mouth;
  • pouts, smacks or licks lips.

If your child is showing any of these signs, they may be trying to tell you it's time to eat. Ideally, your baby should be fed on demand when he is hungry. If you're breastfeeding, on-demand feeding is a good way to keep your milk supply going as your body will naturally respond to your baby's needs and continue to produce the required amount of milk. Bottle-feeding on demand can also be beneficial for your baby, as it allows him to self-regulate his feeding needs.

How much breast milk should a newborn drink?

So, how much should a newborn baby eat? A remarkable feature of each child is its uniqueness, so it would be wrong to feed the baby strictly according to the instructions. Don't panic if the recommendations below don't fit your own feeding schedule, but please contact your healthcare provider or pediatrician if you have any questions.

Although every baby is different, newborns typically eat every two to three hours, for a total of 8 to 12 meals a day.

How many milliliters does a newborn baby drink? At the very beginning, your body will only produce a small amount of yellowish and thick breast milk called colostrum. This milk is an ideal source of nutrients that your newborn needs, in addition, it has many immunological components. 1

How much milk does a newborn baby drink? Infants drink 30-60 ml per feeding, while this volume increases to 60-90 ml by two weeks of age. So don't worry if you don't feel like your body is producing much milk in those first few days after your baby is born! Feeding times will also vary, ranging from 10 to 30 minutes at the very beginning and then gradually increasing as your baby grows.

How much breastmilk a baby eats if bottle fed

If you choose to bottle feed your baby from time to time, do so at the same intervals and for the same period of time as if you were breastfeeding. Pumping is a great option for breastfeeding your baby. It will allow you to separate from your baby if necessary, and at the same time retain all the benefits of breastfeeding.

It's also important to get a bottle that helps make bottle feeding more natural for both you and your baby. For example, take a look at this Philips Natural bottle. Its wide, physiologically shaped nipple promotes a natural latch that is identical to that of a mother's breast, making it easier to alternate between bottle and breastfeeding.

Philips Avent

Natural Baby Bottle


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  • the child is full

    How to understand that the child is already full? When breastfeeding or bottle feeding, look out for the following signs that may indicate that your newborn baby is full:

    • baby closes his mouth;
    • turns head away from bottle or breast;
    • handles are not clenched and relaxed;
    • falls asleep quickly.

    If the baby shows signs of fullness, stop breastfeeding or bottle feeding, even if the bottle is not yet empty. 2

    The right choice for you and your baby

    Remember that every child is different and no one is as close to you as you are. Choose the feeding option that works best for you and your newborn, whether breastfeeding, bottle feeding, or a combination.

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    How much a newborn should eat: feeding chart


    • Listen to the experts
    • Calculation rates
      1. First weeks of life
      2. One to four months
      3. Five-six months
      4. Seven to twelve months
    • How much breast milk should a newborn eat: table
    • Not enough breast milk or not at all: what to do
    • Rules and steps for introducing complementary foods
      1. First stage - vegetables
      2. Second stage - cereals
      3. Third stage - fruits
      4. Fourth stage - meat
      5. Fifth stage - new flavors
    • Sample daily diet for a 6-8 month old baby
    • Popular questions

    Listen to the experts

    Pediatricians have long calculated the norms for the consumption of milk or formula by the child, the allowable intervals between meals, as well as the norms for weight gain and growth, depending on the age of the baby. All these data are usually voiced to parents during a doctor's appointment and entered into the card for further assessment of the child's condition. Comparison of the actual weight and the prescribed norms allows you to find out whether the child is eating well enough and, if necessary, to correct mistakes made during feeding. If something is not clear to you at the appointment with the pediatrician, do not be afraid to ask again and clarify. After all, only a specialist can give competent recommendations specifically for your baby, based on the results of an examination or analysis. The advice of friends, grandmothers and mothers from various forums may be good, but they do not take into account the individual characteristics and needs of your child's body. So, they may not work or even hurt.

    Each stage of a baby's development is unique and is associated with new questions from parents. Get expert advice, personalized emails and the chance to test products with us for free!


    Calculation norms

    1. First month of life

    As soon as the baby is born, it is immediately brought to the mother's breast to feed. This helps to strengthen the immunity of the baby and stimulates lactation in the mother. During this period, there is still no milk in the breast, but there is a very nutritious transparent sweetish liquid - colostrum. It is released in the first two or three days after birth and supplies the child with all the necessary substances. To eat, the baby needs a few drops: on the first day of life, the small stomach holds only 7 milliliters. On the second day of life, the baby begins to eat more often. It needs to be fed on demand or every two to three hours, while the baby eats within 10-20 milliliters at one time. Thus, per day the norm will be approximately 90 milliliters. Starting from the third day after birth, the mother actively produces breast milk, the volume of which increases as the child grows. In the first week of life, the baby should eat from 50 to 80 milliliters of milk at a time, and 400 milliliters per day. At two weeks of age, the daily ration should be 20% of the weight of the newborn, and closer to a month - about 600 milliliters. It is important to note that these figures are approximate. Each baby needs its own, certain amount of milk or mixture, depending on individual characteristics: height, weight, mother's milk quality, calorie content of the mixture and the rate of development of the baby. See also: Breastfeeding: first steps after childbirth

    2. One to four months

    Every day the baby grows, gains weight and increases his daily milk portions. Having reached a month, the baby is already eating 90-100 milliliters six to seven times a day. After one month, the norms become as follows:

    • At two months, the child should eat from 120 to 150 milliliters at a time. The daily norm, therefore, is 700-800 milliliters.
    • A three-month-old baby should eat between 150 and 180 milliliters. In this case, it is recommended to observe the frequency of feeding no more than six to seven times a day.
    • From the fourth month, babies need 180-210 milliliters of milk or infant formula. The average amount per day is not less than 1/6 of the baby's weight.

    3. Five to six months

    A six-month-old child normally eats 210-240 milliliters at a time, and the total amount of food per day should be 1/7 of body weight, or 800-1000 milliliters. Also, if there are no contraindications, complementary foods are introduced from six months.

    4. From seven to twelve months

    During this period, a single portion of breast milk for a baby ranges from 210 to 240 milliliters. At the same time, the average amount per day is not less than 1/8 of the child's body weight. Vegetable, fruit and meat purees, dairy-free and milk porridges are introduced into the diet (if the baby is not allergic to cow's milk proteins).

    Below is a table that describes in detail the daily intake of a newborn for each age up to a year.

    How much breast milk should eat a newborn: table

    3-4 days



    1 week



    2 weeks 9000-9000 9000

    1 /5 masses of the child

    1 month



    2 months



    3 months


    1/6 mass of the child

    4 months


    1/6 mass of the child

    5-6 months


    1/7 mass of the child (800–1000)

    7–12 months


    1/8 mass of the child

    Important! Remember that every child is unique, has individual characteristics and needs. Therefore, slight deviations from the standard indicators are quite possible.

    Not enough breast milk or not at all: what to do

    When a baby cries after waking up, he is hungry. Modern doctors do not advise mothers to maintain any strict feeding schedule. If the mother gives the baby a breast when he asks, and the baby eats for her own pleasure and at the same time sleeps soundly and well, smiles and is not naughty, then she is full and completely satisfied. See also: The diet of infants But if the baby cries and sleeps poorly, then perhaps he does not have enough milk. In this case, check if the baby is eating his age norm, and try to keep track of this indicator in the future. Found that you don't have enough breast milk? Do not worry, it is better to immediately consult a doctor. The specialist will help you find a way to support milk production and improve lactation.

    If you cannot solve the problem and normalize lactation, consult a pediatrician and find the right supplemental formula for your child. With strict observance of all the doctor's recommendations, instructions for preparation and dosages indicated on the package, the mixture makes it possible to compensate for the lack of breast milk and provide the baby with the necessary amount of nutrients. Important! Even if there is not enough breast milk to fully meet the needs of the baby, try to remain on partial breastfeeding as long as possible. After all, the ideal food for a child is mother's milk.

    Complementary feeding rules and stages

    As a rule, complementary foods are introduced from the age of six months. Before you start exploring new products, you should consult with your pediatrician. In general, different types of food are introduced in stages, starting with very small portions.

    1. First stage - vegetables

    According to the World Health Organization, the best starting food is a one-component vegetable puree, such as zucchini, broccoli, cauliflower or potatoes. If everything goes well, you can try pumpkin, carrot, pea and tomato puree a little later.

    It takes seven to ten days to fully introduce the product into the baby's diet. We start with half or a whole teaspoon once a day until breastfeeding. If there are no allergic or other adverse reactions, you can continue the introduction of this product, gradually increasing the dose to a full serving - 100-150 grams.

    2. Second stage - cereals

    After the introduction of vegetable puree, we recommend diversifying the baby's menu with cereals. For acquaintance, it is better to choose liquid one-component gluten-free cereals, for example, rice or buckwheat. Then you can add oatmeal or semolina.

    The initial portion of porridge is half or one teaspoon. Gradually increase the portion to a full - 150 grams. Find out more: Nestle Baby Cereals: Product Range

    3. Stage Three – Fruit

    Fruit complementary foods We also start with one-component low-allergenic purees, such as apple, pear, plum, banana. These products are not only tasty, but also contain vitamins and minerals necessary for the child.

    Fruit purees are also introduced with caution, starting with half or a whole teaspoon. Gradually, the portion increases to 100-150 grams. Find out more: Gerber Baby Food Puree Range

    4. Stage Four - Meat

    Meat is a product necessary for development, rich in iron and protein, which is well absorbed in the body. It is introduced in the form of a homogeneous one-component puree from dietary turkey, rabbit, chicken, veal or lamb.

    At the beginning we give a try - half or one teaspoon, over time we bring the portion to 60 grams.

    5. Stage five - new flavors

    After the successful introduction of the above products, the baby is formed a full-fledged varied menu. So you can introduce the young gourmet to new flavors that could previously provoke an allergy: multi-component purees, fruit and cereal cocktails, children's snacks, pieces of fresh fruits and vegetables. See also: Introduction of complementary foods to children with food allergies

    Example of a daily diet for a baby at 6-8 months

    A child from six to eight months should be given complementary foods three times a day. Further, at the age of nine to eleven months, the amount is increased to four times a day. To make it easier and clearer, check out two options for a full-fledged daily diet, which outlines what and how much a newborn should eat.

    Read also: Feeding a 7-month-old baby: making a menu for the baby

    Frequently asked questions

    1. How to warm up breast milk?

    Use the bottle warmer to warm breast milk that has been stored in the refrigerator. If this is not at hand, put a tightly closed bottle in a container of warm water and hold it there until the milk warms to body temperature - 37 ° C.

    2. How often should a newborn eat?

    A newborn needs to be fed every 2-3 hours, i.

    Learn more