24 answers

How Much Breastmilk Does a 3 Month Old Need?

Unfortunately I have to go back to work full time next week, I will be pumping breastmilk for my baby who is a little over 3 months old. When I pump now and give her the bottle I get between 3 - 4 oz which she seems completely happy with. This seems to be the amount she has been taking for quite a while, don't bigger babies need more milk? She feeds approximately every 3 hours, and of course I have no idea how much she takes directly from my breast, so how much milk should I leave with my husband and the caregiver while I'm at work? How much do other babies around this age take at a feeding? Ido have extra milk stored in the fridge and freezer. Thanks in advance for you replies.

What can I do next?

Featured Answers

i read that the amount of ounces needed per feeding is same or one above the child's age in months, so for a 3 month old it is 3 to 4 oz which is what you said you're giving her and she is happy with, that is the amount she should be eating. I have a 4 month old and she eats pretty much 5 ounces, at times a bit less and at times a bit more but mostly 5.

I went back to work when my kids were 3 1/2 months and 4 1/2 months. My daughter got three bottles of 4 oz. at first, and then worked up to 6 oz, but didn't always drink that much. My son always drank 3 bottles of 6 oz, and he's almost one now.

It seems fine. I was told that breastfed babies never take more than 5 oz. from the breast but that they may take more from a bottle due to the baby's inability to regulate the flow from the bottle.

More Answers

Hey J.,

This is what I have read... 1 oz. of breast milk is 20 calories. Your baby needs 2oz per pound of body weight. Each day will vary on how much they eat. Just like us they will eat a lot one day and a little the next. If you are using formula, check the back of the container for calories but the amount is still 2oz per body weight.

Best of luck!

J.

1 mom found this helpful

just pump what you can. if your baby seems hungry still then just let them know that there is more breast milk in the frig for her. i didnt increase my daughter from 3oz to 4oz till about 4 months. just watch your babies cues and youll be ok. good luck!

J.,

I'd leave 15-20 ounces for an 8-9 hour day and have some frozen on hand. My first son consumed an average of 24 ounces a day while I was at work and my second consumed an average of 15 ounces a day while I was at work (I'm gone a total of 10 hours). It really varies but I'd shoot for right around 20 a day until you get it figured out. Anything you don't use today you can serve tomorrow.

My favorite site for all things breastfeeding including breastmilk storage guidlines www.kellymom.com

:-)T.

You should ask your Pediatrician.

babies have various appetites.. but yes, should be fed on demand or at least every 3 hours, unless she is going through a growth spurt (3 months is a growth spurt time) and during spurts they drink more and more frequently. So, don't go according to just the clock... she also needs to be fed when she indicates hunger. And your care giver needs to be aware of that. Feeding on demand is still the pattern. At least for me, this is what I did.

At 3 months old, my son was drinking about 4-5 ounces every 3 hours or less. But that is him. I don't know that ALL babies drink this amount.

If your baby is drinking 3-4 ounces and completely empties the bottle... then I would try adding an ounce or 2 more.... and see if she will continue to keep drinking this amount at her feedings. The reason is... if your baby is emptying the bottle each feeding with just 3-4 ounces this "may" just be making her satisfied...but is more like a "snack" and... she may be ready for more, even if she seems "satisfied" with her current amount. Just try it and see. Give her more, and see if she can indeed drink it at this increased level.

Every baby will vary... but there are "standard" guidelines as to how much a baby this age should be drinking. SO ask your Pediatrician.

No matter what, I fed my babies on demand throughout no matter what age. I did not just go by the clock. Sometimes my babies needed to drink even every 2 hours or less. Or cluster fed. But the usual was every 3 hours. I also let them "tell" me when they needed to nurse/be fed and went according to their hunger signals.

I would supply your caregiver with an extra bottle or 2 just in case... always provide a little more for those days she may need more. For the 1st year of life, breastmilk/formula is the PRIMARY source of nutrition for a baby after all.

Good luck,
Susan

Hi J.,

I too just returned full time to work and our 4 month old is in daycare. I tormented myself for weeks about this same issue! She is exclusively breastfed (with the occasional formula) So, I ended up pumping a lot before I returned to work to build up a stockpile in the freezer. I nurse her in the morning before I leave for work and then send 16 ozs. of breast milk per day to daycare with her (2 6-oz bottles and 1 4oz bottle)and then nurse her at night before she goes to sleep. She finishes all 3 bottles and sometimes an additional 4oz. of formula at day care. She is happy and healthy and weighs over 14 pounds now. I pump twice at work and one more time before I go to bed.
Hope this helps and congratulations on your new baby!

The lactation nurse I used told me to take the baby's current weight multiply it by 2.5 and then divide it by the number of feedings. (lbs. x 2.5 / # of feedings)
I also have another table she gave me.
9 lbs = 24 oz a day
10 lbs = 26-27 oz
11 lbs = 28-30 oz
12 lbs = 32 oz
I hope this helps you and hope you can get to stay home soon!
Colette

It seems fine. I was told that breastfed babies never take more than 5 oz. from the breast but that they may take more from a bottle due to the baby's inability to regulate the flow from the bottle.

Hi J.-
Congratulations on the birth of your baby! I have a 15 month old and I was also worried of how much she should be taking from the breast. For awhile at 2-6 months, all she would take was 3-4 oz when I would feed her from the bottle. When she would take 4oz, my husband and I would be so proud of her.

Her weight was always great. Nothing I had to worry about but I know how it is when u feel your baby is not getting enough. Once in awhile, she would drink 5 oz and that would be sometimes. I breastfed her til 8 months, so 3 months is great. My daughter was a little chunker, born small at 6lbs, 3 oz. She is now a little over 23 lbs. I knew she was getting enough milk at 2-3 months when i would squeeze those chubby cheeks of her.

Good luck!

I went back to work when my kids were 3 1/2 months and 4 1/2 months. My daughter got three bottles of 4 oz. at first, and then worked up to 6 oz, but didn't always drink that much. My son always drank 3 bottles of 6 oz, and he's almost one now.

i read that the amount of ounces needed per feeding is same or one above the child's age in months, so for a 3 month old it is 3 to 4 oz which is what you said you're giving her and she is happy with, that is the amount she should be eating. I have a 4 month old and she eats pretty much 5 ounces, at times a bit less and at times a bit more but mostly 5.

General guideline: 2.5 ounces per pound per day divided among feedings.
For example, a 10 lb baby should need up to 25 ounces divided among 6 feedings would be about 4 ounces per feeding. If you give your baby 3-4 ounces and she is satisfied, that is what she needs. My daughter ate 3-4 ounces at 6mo but my son eats 6-7 ounces at 5 months. It all depends on size and appetite!

Hi J., I would say anywhere from 3 - 4 oz is appropriate. I have 3 kiddos under 4 1/2, and they all taken this range of b-milk in per feeding at this age. Good Luck!

I worked and pumped breast milk for both of my children. 2 - 3 ounces per side was normal for me when pumping every 2 hours. As I increased the time between lactations, the amount increased to 4 - 7 ounces per side. This was consistent with my sons' feeding schedule. As they get older, they can wait longer between feedings, but they take more at that time.

You will not get the same amount of milk pumping while trying to nurse in the same time frame, so I'd recommend giving yourself a week to build your supply and freeze it prior to starting work. Once you start work and are only pumping in a given time, the supply will increase.

Also, the right pump makes a huge difference. I tried an inexpensive single pump initially. My supply was low, and it took half an hour to empty both sides. I ended up investing in a Medela Pump In Style (which I am now selling), and my supply nearly doubled with the time spent cut in half.

Also, pediatricians will tell you that the best way to tell if your baby is getting enough is to check their diapers. If they have about 6 wet diapers a day and 2 bms, everything is good.

As to milk supply, mine never dried up until I stopped pumping and nursing (18 months for my first and 15 for my second.)

J.,
My daughter is now 8 months old and has never drank more that 3.5 oz of breastmilk from a bottle at one time. Since that was how much I pumped out I figured that is pretty close to what I made. She continues to be in the 90th %ile for height and 70th %ile for weight so I believe she is getting enough. So I would say give her what you make in a pumping.

FYI. Your milk production will naturally go down from pumping so take a supplement if you choose. I took FENUGREEK and it really helped me.

M. P

Hi J.,
I had the same problem when I began to work, how much breast milk do I leave behind. What I did, I estimated how many feedings he was going to get while I was gone and multiplied by the oz. I thought he was eating. Then I put formula in his bag, in case I miscalculated. After a couple of days, I figured how much milk to bring with him and always carried formula (you never know when emergency may come up).
Now, after having the summer off, I am going back to work this week and planning to do the same. Unfortunately I did not pump as much during the summer.
good luck,
ceci

I ha dthis same issue/questions. I pump every morning after feeding the baby and put that in the freezer. I try to pump 2-3 times a day at work.
I have my Hubby and Sitter give baby 3-3.5 oz at a time. We were giving him 4-5 and the doc said that we were stretching out his little tummy too much. He seems quite happy with the 3.
I try storing the milk in the freezer in 9 or 12 oz at a time in those lansinoh milk bags.
I thaw 2 out in the fridge overnight an dtak ethem to the sitter in the morn. GOOD LUCK. you are a good mommy!!

Great jjob breast feeding. Who will raise your daughter when you're at work? You need to communicate with them alot because they need different amounts at diff. times... Pump and freeze plenty so you don't have to go to chemically made formula. Your milk is made specifically for your child.

what you are pumping sounds fine to me too. that is almost exactly how much i pumped with my first baby. i went back to work when he was 3 months old and i pumped 4 oz. every time and gave him 4 oz. every time and he was fine with that all the way till 7 months old. unfortunately i was only able to breastfeed/pump for 7 months and had to switch to formula afterwards because my milk supplied slowly dried up after i went back to work. so, if your milk supply starts to decrease over time, don't be too surprised.

Hi J., just pump your breast then freeze it, I had a daycare mom do that she would bring her milk to me frozen and labled in a insulated lunch bag then i would just put it in the preezer, becasue some days ashe will eat some days less, but that way they will always be enough, and as long as it stays frozen it stays fresh. J. L.

Every baby is different I suppose but at four months my baby started eating 6 oz and the doctor said that was normal. I would experiment but at three months I would say between 4 and 6 oz.

hi J., I think it depends your baby demanding because if the baby needs more milk,she'll continue crying after finish 3 or 4 oz of milk. Have a nice day J..

here's a great site

pumpandwork.com

Just spoke with the doc, my 3 month old should be taking 4 oz. of breastmilk every 3 hours. Now if we could only get on that schedule :)
Just make sure she can take milk from the bottle before you leave her with someone else (that's our major problem right now).

Go to the Mary Birch Hospital for Woman there is a great store there called New Beginings; the ladies there are wonderful for lactation they will help you weigh the baby after the baby eats to see approx how much milk the baby is taking in. They can also refer you to many wonderful books on lactation for future reference.

If you also want to try contacting the La Leche League; it is a not-for-profit organization whose mission is to help mothers worldwide to breastfeed through mother-to-mother support, education, information, and encouragement, and to promote a better understanding of breastfeeding as an important element in the healthy development of the baby and mother. Visit http://www.lllusa.org

Best of luck to you!

Required Fields

Our records show that we already have a Mamapedia or Mamasource account created for you under the email address you entered.

Please enter your Mamapedia or Mamasource password to continue signing in.

Required Fields

, you’re almost done...

Since this is the first time you are logging in to Mamapedia with Facebook Connect, please provide the following information so you can participate in the Mamapedia community.

As a member, you’ll receive optional email newsletters and community updates sent to you from Mamapedia, and your email address will never be shared with third parties.

By clicking "Continue to Mamapedia", I agree to the Mamapedia Terms & Conditions and Privacy Policy.