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.
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!