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.

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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.

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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!


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!


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


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,

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!

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!

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