How Much Breast Milk Does Your Baby Drink?

In the early days and weeks of a baby’s life, parents often spend a lot of time thinking about how much their baby is eating. Are they eating too frequently? Too infrequently? Are they getting enough when they do eat? As your baby grows and their signs of hunger and fullness become clearer, parents might begin wonder about their baby’s appetite out of simple curiosity. Check out the guide below to understand how much breast milk a baby consumes at the different points of their life!

breast milk
Image via Flickr/ Piknikas

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0-1 month

During the first few days of life, your baby will drink only a few ounces. In fact, early feedings are usually measured in milliliters. As your baby wakes up and begins to nurse more efficiently, their milk intake will rapidly increase from very little up to 20-25 oz per day.

1- 6 months

While breast milk intake increases rapidly over the first month of a baby’s life, research tells us that between 6 and 12 months their intake stays pretty steady. During this phase of their life, babies tend to take around 25 oz of breast milk per day. Some babies eat 6-8 times per day while other tend to nurse more frequently and are on the breast 9-12 times per day. Both frequencies are normal and as long as your baby is showing signs that they are getting what they need (having wet and dirty diapers at the appropriate frequency, gaining weight, etc.) frequent nursing is not a sign that your baby isn’t getting enough.

6 -12 months

Even when babies start to eat limited solids, ideally around 6-9 months, their breast milk intake won’t change substantially right away. Up to their first birthday, your baby’s primary source of nutrition should be breast milk. As babies begin to eat more solids, their breast milk intake will decrease slowly, often with days or weeks where they take in more due to a growth spurt. Studies show that babies in this age range typically consume 19-30 oz of milk per day.

12-24 months

Between their first and second birthday’s, many babies reduce the frequency and duration of nursing a great deal. Even babies who used to seem to be attached to the breast begin to enjoy eating solids and exploring the world around them. On average, babies in this age range who are still nursing drink 14-19 oz per day.

24-36 months

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Most little ones who nurse between two and three years of age nurse in the morning and evenings (and sometimes at nap time). But there’s no ‘wrong’ way to nurse a toddler. While the amount of milk they take in can vary widely, researchers estimate that most nurslings at this age take in 10-12 oz per day.

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How Much Breast Milk Does Your Baby Drink?

Julia Pelly has a master's degree in public health and works full time in the field of positive youth development. Julia loves hiking after work, swimming during the summer and taking long, cuddly afternoon naps with her two sons on the weekends. Julia lives in North Carolina, with her husband and two young boys. You can find more of her work at JuliaPelly.com ... More

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