How much expressed breastmilk does my baby need?

Measuring cup

When you plan on leaving your baby in someone else's care for the first time, you first have a mini panic attack and wonder "how will I survive without my little precious baby?!". 

I recall how stressed I was and then I remembered...I'm going to need to leave milk...and I don't know how much!

So I turned to google to try and find the charts of how much my baby needs. Turns out that unlike with formula milk where you calculate the volume of milk based on your baby's weight, breastmilk work completely different.

The reason being, that the volume of breastmilk your baby needs does not increase as your baby grows, not by that much in any case, it is the fat content and composition of milk that adapts with baby's growth. How amazing is that!

I thus calculated how long I would be away and then determined how much milk I'll need to leave with grandma. Then I started expressing. Now this might be a good time to mention that I didn't have a breastpump, so I had to do it by hand and not being familiar with expressing, it took looooooooong and my hand cramped after 2 days of hand expressing.

Well enough with the pity party for my hand, here's what you need to know about the volumes of expressed milk to leave for your baby:

When newborn babies aren't able to nurse directly from mom; 

  • Day 1 - they consume around 5ml per feed.
  • Day 2 - they consume around 5 to 15ml per feed.
  • Day 3 - they consume around 15 to 30ml per feed.
  • Day 4 - they consume around 30 to 45ml per feed.
  • Day 5 - they consume around 45 to 60ml per feed.

Artificial nipples such as bottles and dummies aren't recommend before 6 weeks. Thus cup-feeding or syringe-and-finger-feeding is advised.

Newborn to 6 Months drink:

570 - 900ml in 24h
(Average 30.63ml p/h away from mom)

Babies 6 to 10 months drink:

875ml in 24h
(Average 36.46ml p/h away from mom)

Babies 11 to 12 months drink:

550ml in 24h
(Average 22.92ml p/h away from mom)

Babies 12 to 24 months drink:

400 to 550ml in 24h
(Average 19.79ml p/h away from mom)

Babies 24 to 36 months dink

300 to 360ml in 24h
(Average 13.75ml p/h away from mom)

Babies usually drink about 90 to 150ml per bottle but it is advised to rather freeze the milk in small quantities that can be defrosted as needed.

To learn more about the special technique that should be used when offering a bottle to a breastfed baby, click here.

Additional Information: