Many moms going back to work after maternity leave ask us “How much breast milk does my baby need per day wile I am gone?” While every baby is different, it should not be too difficult to figure out how much milk to leave for your daycare, nanny or babysitter.
How Much Breast Milk?
If you are exclusively nursing your baby and don’t plan to give your baby a bottle, you really do not need to worry how much breast milk your baby needs. (Learn how to tell if baby is getting enough,) Your body will adjust to your baby’s changing needs.
But are you getting ready to head back to work? What about leaving your baby with a sitter or nanny while you get back to your social life? Many mommies want some time away from the house, but most are worried and want to how much breast milk your baby may need while they are away.
Even if you’re working hard to build up your freezer stash, it’s important to know how far that stash will take you so that you aren’t caught off guard. These guidelines should give you a general idea of how much milk your baby may need, depending on his or her age.
You may want to ensure that you leave a bit more than these recommended amounts because your baby may need more milk some days…especially if he or she is experiencing a growth spurt. It’s always best to have a little too much than to get that dreaded phone call that your baby has run out of milk.
How Much Breast Milk for Newborns up to One-Month
You can expect your newborn to eat about every two hours, and he or she will probably consume two ounces or less at each feeding. Your baby may start out consuming one ounce or less at each feeding, but they will start to eat more as their stomachs expand.
If you’re supplementing with formula and bottle feeding exclusively at times, note that your newborn is likely to consume up to three ounces every three or four hours.
How Much Breast Milk at 1-6 Months of Age
Expect your baby to consume about 25 ounces or 750 ml per day if he or she is exclusively breastfed. Your baby still feed every two hour, may go longer or he or she may have an unpredictable feeding schedule as they start to sleep for longer periods of time.
It’s a good idea to make sure that you leave enough milk to sustain him or her for the entire day. This allows you to enjoy your time away from home without worrying that you must make it back by a certain time or the milk supply may run low. One way to do this is to create a breast milk stash and provide your baby’s caregiver some milk for the freezer in case they ever run low.
How Much Breast Milk for 6+ Months of Age
Around six months of age, your baby is likely to start consuming some solid foods. This will change the amount of breast milk that he or she needs to make it through each day. This is the point where having a healthy freezer stash can really come in handy!
Babies can be very unpredictable with how much solid food they want or eat eat day so determining how much milk you need to pump and store each day can be a trick. If your caregiver already has a stash of milk handy, this will not be an issue.
Feeding on Demand?
Babies tend to be good at self-regulating how much breast milk they actually need. Making them certain amounts because it is what you expect them to eat or just to “finish a bottle” isn’t usually a good idea!
With good planning, your caregiver can adjust to baby’s needs and you will have plenty of milk ready for baby when needed. So…now that you have a better idea of how much milk you should leave with your baby, you’re ready to head out into the world with confidence!
Keep in mind that you may have delays coming back home at unexpected times, so your stash of milk should always have a little extra. You want to make sure that your baby is nutritionally covered no matter what happens during your day away from home.
- Working Mothers CAN Breastfeed
- How Often Should I Pump?
- Exclusively Pumping Breast Milk: How, Why and Tips for Success
- Tips for Saving and Storing Breast Milk