Babies grow A LOT the first year! The first week or two your baby will be working to regain their birth weight by nursing 10-12 or more times per day. After that, your baby will continue to gain .5-1 ounce per week and will DOUBLE their birth weight by 6 months. Babies then go on to TRIPLE their birth weight by their first birthday. Can you imagine tripling your weight in just 12 months time!? It’s pretty incredible.
With such rapid growth, babies need to nurse very frequently in the early months. Let’s break down how much your baby should be eating by age.
Average daily intake of breast milk for newborns (0-1 month old):
1 day old –
Your just born healthy, full-term, baby will need to nurse at least 10-12 times per day and consume 5ml – 7ml at each feeding for a total daily intake of approximately 30ml – 60ml or roughly 1-2 ounces (average daily intake for a breastfed 1 day old baby is 45ml).
2 days old –
At just 2 days young, your baby may still be very sleepy from birth and will need small, frequent feedings to give them energy to grow and thrive! Frequent feeding also helps establish a full milk supply. Your newborn’s tummy is still very tiny (about the size of a cherry or shooter marble) and can comfortably hold 5ml – 10ml at each fed for a total of 30ml – 60ml of breast milk in 24 hours or roughly 1-2 ounces on day 2.
3 days old –
Today’s the day most babies “wake up” from their sleepy transition to life outside the womb; it’s also when many babies will experience hunger feelings for the first time! This explains why your 3 day old baby may be opening her eyes more and showing more obvious hunger cues. At 3 days old, your baby needs more milk per day than yesterday and will consume close to 1 ounce at each feeding (average intake per feeding being 22ml – 27ml). Your 3 day old baby will continue to nurse at least 10-12 times per day and consume 220ml – 456ml or roughly 7 to 15 ounces of breast milk on day 3. Day 3 is also a common time for your milk volume to increase dramatically (often referred to as “coming in”), although it may take several more days for some mothers’ milk to mature.
4 days old –
By day 4 your baby’s tiny tummy which was once the size of a cherry (on day 1) has more than doubled it’s size and is now about the size of a walnut! Although your baby’s tummy has grown substantially over the past 4 days, your baby still needs small, frequent feeds. At 4 days old your baby can comfortably take in approximately 30ml per feed. Nursing 10-12+ per day will help your baby take in 300ml – 500ml or roughly 10 to 20 ounces of breast milk over 24 hours.
5 days old –
As you probably guessed, your little peanut’s tummy has grown since yesterday, but is still quite small! Some 5 day old babies will be able to take in as much as 2 ounces per feeding, but expect feedings to vary from 30ml – 60ml. Nursing your baby frequently (at least 10-12 times per day) will help your baby consume a full days worth of breast milk (300ml – 600ml or 10 to 20 ounces).
6 days old –
Can you believe your baby was living inside your belly just 6 days ago!? Now that your baby is not receiving all their nutrients via your amniotic fluid, your baby can be best nourished by your breast milk. Your baby will need approximately 500-600 mls or 17 to 20 ounces of breast milk per day and can comfortably consume 1 to 2 ounces of breast milk per feed.
7 days old –
At 1 week old your baby’s tummy is about the size of a chicken egg and can comfortably hold up to 2 ounces of breast milk at a time. As always, the amount of milk your baby needs at each feed will vary and can range from 30ml – 60ml. Just like you and I, baby’s sometimes want just a “little snack” and at other times they may be ready to sit down for a “4-course meal.” At this age, your newborn will need approximately 600ml -700 ml or 20 to 23 ounces per day.
2 weeks old –
From 1 to 2 weeks your baby’s tummy will continue to grow as will their ability to take in more breast milk at each feeding. By 2 weeks old your baby’s tummy will be approximately the size of an extra-large chicken egg. A 2 week old baby can comfortably drink 2 to 3 ounces at a time and will need approximately 2.5 ounces per pound in body weight. For example, an 8 pound 2 week-old may need around 20 ounces per day whereas a 10 pound 2 week-old may need closer to 25 ounces in 24 hours.
3 weeks old –
By 3 weeks old your baby may be tipping the scales at close to 10 pounds (depending on their birth weight) and will continue to need at least 20-25 ounces of breast milk per day.
1 month old –
It’s not your imagination; your baby truly is growing more and more each day! Maybe it’s time to transition to those size 1 diapers you received at your baby shower. 😉 At 1 month, your baby can comfortably take in up to 5 ounces of breast milk per feeding. And, while your baby may be *able* to take in close to 5 ounces at some feedings, it is common for babies to sometimes take in as little as 2 ounces, and other times a bit more. On average, 1 month old breastfed babies will need close to 25 ounces of breast milk per day.
Average daily intake of breast milk for babies (2-6 months old):
2 months old –
Your little guy (or gal) is continuing to pack on the pounds thanks in no small part to all that “liquid gold” he’s been eating! Expect your 2 month old to continue to nurse 8-12 times per day and need an average of 25-30 ounces of breast milk per day. If you’ve returned to work or school and will be leaving bottles of expressed breast milk for your little one, we suggest starting with a 3 ounce bottle. If your little one finishes the bottle and still wants more a few minutes later, try offering an additional ounce (after a good burping!).
3 months old –
Now that your baby is an “expert” nurser, you may notice that she is able to complete feeds in as little as 10-15 minutes (at least sometimes). This is quite common and the result of your baby’s more efficient suck and strengthened oral muscles. 3 month olds typically nurse anywhere from 7-10 times per day and consume approximately 25-30 ounces of breast milk per day.
4 months old –
By 4 months old, many babies are beginning to space out their feeds a bit and will continue to need 6-10 feeds per day. How frequently your baby nurses is largely dependent on your ‘milk storage capacity’ (or how much milk your breasts can store) as well as your overall milk supply, combined with how well he is able to transfer milk at the breast. Many babies who previously went longer stretches overnight will begin waking more frequently to eat. This is to be expected and is because babies need more calories per kg of weight than ever before (roughly 108 cal/kg). 4 month olds should continue to take in 25-35 ounces of breast milk per day and are generally not ready for solids.
5 months old –
Breast milk consumption is reaching peak volumes! By 5 months many nurslings are very efficient at draining the breast and will take in 3-5 ounces per feeding for a total daily intake of 25-35 ounces. If you’re leaving bottles for your nursling, plan to leave 1-1.5 ounces for every hour you and your baby will be separated (e.g. 3-4.5 ounces if you’ll be missing one feed).
6 months old –
Now is the time many babies are ready to begin solids. While exciting, introducing solids can also be a little scary for many new parents! What foods should you start with and how much should your baby be eating?? Well, it’s best to start slow and to introduce iron-rich foods such as meat, poultry, sweet potatoes, beans, and prunes. Remember, breast milk is still extremely important to your baby’s health and nutrition and while starting solids may be “fun,” it should not overshadow breastfeeding. Your 6 month old will still need close to 30-35 ounces of breast milk per day in addition to an ounce or two of solids.
Average daily intake of breast milk for babies (7-11 months old):
7 months old –
If your baby is just now showing interest in solids, don’t fret! It is best to follow your baby’s lead and allow her to signal readiness for solids. Most 7 month olds will continue nursing 4-6 times per day for a total of 25-30 ounces of breast milk per day. When bottles are given, it is still best to offer ~4 ounce bottles and allow your baby to decide when she has had her fill. Unlike formula-fed babies, breastfed babies continue to benefit from small, frequent feeds. It’s also wise to continue using “newborn” or “slow-flow” bottle nipples – breastfed babies never need a faster flow.
8 months old –
Around 8 months many babies drop a breastfeeding session or two and will hover around 4-6 feeds per day. Typically, babies will nurse first thing in the morning, again before their morning nap, again before their afternoon nap, at bedtime, and perhaps 1-2 times overnight. Some babies will nurse at a few other times throughout the day. It’s important not to limit breast milk or nursing sessions and to continue to nurse on-demand. Iron-rich complementary foods (a.k.a. solids) still take a “back seat” to breast milk.
9 months old –
Some breastfed babies are now sleeping 8-12 hours overnight without nursing, but this isn’t true for ALL babies. Many babies will continue to nurse once or twice overnight throughout the first year, especially if mom is working/going to school or daytime feeds are otherwise limited. 9 month olds generally nurse in the neighborhood of 4-6 times per day and will be eating 2 solid “meals” per day.
10 months old –
Your baby’s first birthday is just around the corner! Can you believe it!? As your baby begins to pull himself up, “cruise,” or walk, his need for breast milk will remain steady at about 20-25 ounces of breast milk per day.
11 months old –
Now that your baby is well-established on solids, she may be sitting down for “meals” with the family 3 times per day. 🙂 In addition to delicious fruits, veggies, grains, and protein, your breastfed 11 month old will also need approximately 20-25 ounces of breast milk per day to support her growth and development.
Average daily intake of breast milk for toddlers (1-3 years old):
12 months old –
Happy birthday, baby! And, CONGRATULATIONS on reaching this incredible milestone in your breastfeeding journey, mama! You ROCK!! If you plan to continue breastfeeding, your “toddler” will still need 16-20 ounces of breast milk per day (less if you are also offering alternative milk such as cow or goat’s milk). Many 1 year olds love to suckle and will enjoy anywhere from 1 to 5 (or more) nursing sessions per day. Remember, if you and your baby enjoy the quiet and tender moments found in breastfeeding, there is no reason to wean just because your baby is now a “toddler.” Many nursing pairs will continue to nurse for months or even years – and the benefits of breastfeeding never end!
18 months old –
Nursing your toddler may be a whole lot more enjoyable than you ever imagined! For many moms, nursing a toddler is much less stressful than breastfeeding a baby. Toddlers are so proficient at nursing they can sometimes fill up their tummies in 10 minutes or less and may even thank you with an adorable giggle or tender hug when they’re done! ::SWOON:: How often toddlers nurse is very unique to the dyad, with some moms and babies nursing “occasionally” and others several times per day. No matter the number, every drop of breast milk is still an AMAZING gift of nourishment and love for your baby.
2 and 3 years old –
Hats off to you, mama! If you’ve reached this remarkable milestone in your breastfeeding journey, you deserve a standing ovation! Your sweet 2 or 3 year old may be nursing everyday or every few days at this point – both are normal and age-appropriate. Your 2 or 3 year old will need approximately 16 ounces of breast milk, animal milk, or a combination of the two throughout her second and third year of life.