A breastfeeding mother often faces doubt about whether or not their baby is getting enough breastmilk to drink. Mothers have no indication of their production, and pumping isn’t an accurate indication of their supply. However, if you want to leave your baby for a period, you have to know how many ounces to leave for the baby so they won’t be hungry.
Maybe you are a working out of home mother, and you pump on a daily basis.
Right around 4 months, or 8 weeks old, you may be getting ready to go back to work after your maternity leave.
If your baby hasn't drunk too many bottles, you may be concerned you aren't going to leave enough milk for your baby. Both are valid concerns for mothers, so here is what you need to know about how many ounces of breastmilk a 4-month-old drinks.
Things to Know about How Much Breastmilk Your Baby Needs
What Research Tells Us
There have been quite some studies done on breastfeeding. When you exclusively breastfeed your baby, your milk quickly increases in the first few weeks of life.
During this time, your child's stomach is growing at a rapid pace as well. A baby's stomach can go from the size of a marble up to the scale of a large egg in a short period.
However, from one to six months, milk intake stays about the same, except for periods of growth spurts which will be covered further down. Even as your baby gains weight and grows, his milk intake is going to stay the same until six months or age or whenever you introduce solids. From that point on, their consumption will gradually decrease.
For most exclusively breastfed babies, the average amount of breastmilk needed between one month and six months is 25oz (750 mL) per day. The typical range of milk goes from 19oz to 30oz.
How to Determine the Daily Amount Needed
Now that you know the typical range of milk needed, you can determine how many ounces you need to give at each feeding. This takes some simple calculation. Here are the steps:
- First, estimate the number of times your baby will nurse in 24 hours. For example, many babies at 4 months old of age will breastfeed around eight times per day.
- Next, divide 25oz or 30oz by the number of feedings. If you want to be overly cautious, opt for the 30oz range, unless you feel 25oz is fine for your baby.
- This gives you an average amount of ounces needed for each feeding.
- For example, if your child nurses nine times on an average day, you could divide 30oz by nine feedings. This gives you a result of 3.33ounces. You could round up and give your baby 3.5oz for each bottle while you are gone.
- This calculator also applies to the 2-month-old baby. You can read more here.
Many parents dread the growth spurts their little one goes through in the first 12 months of life. From endless nursing periods to sleepless nights, they can disrupt a whole family. They also can throw off the amount of breastmilk you need for each feeding. Luckily, the milk intake increase is just temporary
There are certain times you need to watch out for growth spurts. The most common are 2-3 weeks, 4-6 weeks, 3 months, 4 months, 6 months, and 9 months. However, all babies differ so there is a good chance a 4-month-old will experience a growth spurt.
Growth spurts don’t just happen because of physical growth; they also happen because of developmental advances such as holding their head up more or rolling over.
So, you are probably wondering how you should handle a growth spurt. Breastfed babies tend to drink more frequently during a growth spurt, but they don't always need more milk at a time.
The best solution is to offer the same size bottles on a more frequent basis. You may find you need 11 3.5oz bottles instead of nine bottles. Follow your baby’s lead and offer milk as they need, and expect to need a few more bottles for this week.
What About Lack of Growth
Sometimes, babies don't follow the growth pattern our doctors hope. While every child grows at their rate, it is important for them not to stop growing and reach the point of failure to thrive.
If you notice your baby seems content after every bottle but is still not growing well, try to offer .5oz or 1oz more in their bottles. Remember, the average gain in the first 4 months of lie is 6oz per week.
Inadequate Milk Intake
If you are still concerned about the baby not drinking enough ounces of breastmilk each day, there are some other factors to look for to ease your milk.
At 4 months old age, children should produce four to five very wet disposable diapers, or five to six cloth diapers, per day.
Babies that are drinking enough milk also will be more alert and responsive. Not only do they gain weight, but they will increase in length, and their head circumstance will grow. All of these are good indicators of proper milk intake.
What to Remember!
There were a lot of numbers to remember, but there are some key points to understanding how many ounces a
To figure out how much your baby needs, determine how often they feed and divide that number by the total amount of ounces you want to offer per day.
Watch for proper growth in your baby. The average amount of increase for a breastfed baby is between 5 to 8.5 ounces per week between birth and four months of life.
During this time frame, your child will experience a few growth spurts and may require more bottles than before. Follow your baby’s indicators and lead to help determine how much breastmilk they need.
If you have any questions, please let us know in the comment section. We would love to help. Share this article with your nursing friends.