image001Breastfeeding mommies are always concerned if they are producing sufficient milk or if the baby is getting enough feeds. It is also a great concern to know if the baby is nursing according to his chronological age or less/ more than other babies of his age. Obviously, if you are exclusively breastfeeding your baby, there is little to no chance to measure the milk; however, it has been observed that mothers who collect the milk (by using breast pumps) often report that the babies fed on breastmilk often consume less milk than formula-fed babies. However, if you are aware of the breast-feeding guidelines, it is pretty easy to tell if your baby is consuming sufficient breastmilk or not.

How Many Ounces of Breastmilk Should a Newborn Eat?



First month

In the first few days of postnatal life, the baby requires very little milk. However, as the baby grows, the capacity to consume milk increases from 1 oz. on the first postnatal day to up to 10-12 oz. daily by week 2 and 3. By the end of week 4, the baby can ingest and digest up to 25 oz. to 30 oz. of milk daily.

1 to 6 months

The average consumption of breast milk by 1 month is approximately 25 oz. (ranging from 21 to 30 oz.) and it remains the same almost throughout the first six months of postnatal life. Healthcare providers suggest that the amount of intake of breastmilk during the first 6 months does not affect the weight gain or development.

After 6 months

After the initiation of weaning foods, the overall intake of breastmilk by babies decreases significantly. Most babies consume up to 30 oz. milk by 7-8 months of postnatal life that further decreases to 19 oz. by the first birthday. The amount of milk also depends on the amount of solid food taken by the baby.

 The picture below summarizes the amount of milk ingested by the newborn in accordance with the total capacity of stomach. As the size and capacity of stomach grows, the amount of milk ingested grows accordingly:


How Often Should I Breastfeed My Newborn?

During the first few weeks of postnatal life, you may have to breastfeed your baby more frequently (up to 8 to 12 times a day). This is mainly because the size of your baby’s stomach is small and he can only take small amount of feeds. Also, the maternal breastmilk is digested more readily than formula milk. As the capacity of baby’s stomach grows, the frequency of feeding decreases to 7 times a day by 1-2 month of age.

Frequent feeding is also helpful in stimulating the breastmilk production. Therefore, try to feed the baby on-demand in the first few weeks of life before he develops a feeding schedule or frequency. Feeding the baby after every 3-4 hours is a safe interval if you are unsure in the beginning.

To learn more about it, check out the video below:

How Can I Tell When My Newborn Wants to Eat?

Knowing when the baby is hungry is helpful not only in optimizing the health of baby but also in developing a regular feeding schedule. Healthcare providers advise feeding the baby only when he is hungry. However, if you link the hunger to crying (or getting upset), you should know that crying is perhaps the late sign of a hungry baby. Try to feed the baby before he gets irritable. It is also important to understand that crying does not always mean that baby is hungry. Sometimes, the baby retaliates because he is too bored and needs a pat/ cuddle/ attention or maybe because he is too cold or too hot.

Signs below are more suggestive of a hungry baby:

  • If the baby is moving her head right and left.
  • If the baby is rolling his tongue or frequently opening his mouth.
  • If the baby is making the gesture of suckling (rolling or circling his lips).
  • If he is bringing his fists or thumb towards the mouth.
  • If he is showing rooting reflex (moving his mouth in the direction of stimulus or anything moving/ touching his cheek).

How Can I Know If My Newborn Eats Enough?

You may feel that your baby is not feeding well; however, if your baby is presenting these signs, you should not worry:

  • Your baby is alert, awake and gaining weight.
  • Your baby is producing 4–6 wet diapers every day.
  • He seems satisfied and happy after feeding.
  • If your baby is sleeping well and has good bowel movements.

You should be concerned if the baby is displaying any of the following behavior:

  • If your baby is not gaining enough weight.
  • Your baby appears listless, anxious, agitated, lazy or hungry all the time.
  • If your baby has altered bowel habits or not produces enough wet diapers every day.

It is always a good idea to maintain a diary or notebook to record the behavior of your baby such as feeding behavior, pooping frequency and feeding habits. Speak to a healthcare provider if you have concerns or queries.

Frequently Asked Questions

1. How Can I Count Feeding Intervals?

Feeding intervals are counted from the time the baby starts the feed until the baby needs the second feed. For example, if your baby starts feeding at 6 P.M. and requires next feed at 9 P.M., the feeding interval will be 3 hours.

2. How Often Should I Burp My Baby During Breastfeeding?

Burping is helpful in promoting normal feeding behavior. Ideally, a baby should be fed on one breast fully before switching to the next breast. Babies normally burp during this switch. Healthcare providers suggest that after finishing the feed, babies should be burped again.

You can make the baby burp more often if you think it is needed, for example, in situations when the baby took a bigger feed than usual, or if your baby spits milk often.

3. Is It Normal That My Baby Is Hungrier Than Usual?

Babies take bigger feeds as they grow older; however, this is also accompanied with longer feeding intervals. Yet, it is possible that your baby may get hungrier than usual and require more frequent and lengthier feeding. This may be due to growth spurt--periods of speedy growth at 7-14 days, 2nd month, 3rd month, 4th month and 6th month.