How Much Milk Does a 9 Month Old Need?

Updated on February 20, 2009
V.B. asks from Pompano Beach, FL
6 answers

Hi Mamas,

I have a 9 month old son and I'm nursing him and supplementing with formula (have tried everything to increase supply, but nothing has worked). I also nursed my daughter and so I'm having a hard time figuring out if my son is getting enough milk. He has been waking up at 5-5:30am recently and I am wondering if it has to do with not getting enough calories during the day. Here is his schedule:

Nurses when he wakes up (no idea how many ounces he gets, but I'm guessing no more than 4)
Formula about an hour later since he is still hungry due to supply issues
Cereal and a fruit for breakfast (still on baby food...just starting to eat some table food)
Nurses again around noon or 1pm
Lunch around 2pm-3pm (baby food veggies and a meat)
Dinner around 6pm (cereal and a veggie)
Cup of milk (8 ounces) before bed around 8pm (half breastmilk, half formula)

I'm guessing he gets around 20 ounces of milk (breastmilk and formula combined) per day. Does he need more? He eats a decent amount of baby food, but doesn't love table food. I'm just not sure if he is not sleeping longer because of lack of calories or if he's just an early riser. I'm also just concerned in general about the amount of milk he's getting. He doesn't seem hungry or anything...I just want to make sure he's getting enough. Does anyone know guidelines on this? Any thoughts on his diet or how to get him to sleep a bit longer at night are much appreciated. I feel like I should know this stuff by now, but the lack of sleep is clouding my brain!


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answers from Houston on

Do you know for sure that he's not getting enough breastmilk? It's virtually impossible to tell how much he's getting when nursing without weighing him pre- and post-feeding. If he's gaining well and wetting diapers frequently, then you don't need to worry! :)

As you may know, supplementing with formula will only exacerbate any supply issues you may have. The more you nurse, the more milk you'll make. Some simple things like oatmeal (whether by the bowl or in cookies!) can also have the effect of increasing your supply. Pumping can help (pump after he's nursed), but don't judge your production by how much you pump. Your little one is FAR more efficient than even the best pump. The extra stimulation can make your breasts think they should be producing more, though.

In general, I think if he's not showing signs of dehydration or hunger, then he's doing quite well. Looking at your schedule, I would add in a nursing session before each "meal," so he as the benefit of both the breastmilk and the taste of solids. Remember, all he needs up until one year is breastmilk. Solids are great and a fun way to explore new tastes and textures, but the bulk of his diet should still be breastmilk; so, nursing and then feeding solids is a good way to balance it. It can also be a less-stressful time to nurse, for you, since you know he'll be eating when he's finished.

The basic rule of thumb to ensure he's getting enough is, Feed on Demand! :) So keep nursing as much as he wants to, add in as much of the solid foods as he is interested in, and enjoy this exciting time. :) If you need further reassurance, you may want to consult with a lactation consultant. I can give you a number for one in the Sugar Land area if you're interested, a friend of a friend who's also a LC.

Hope this helps! :)
H. B.



answers from Chicago on

My boys were taking in around 36 ounces a day at that age, but they were twins and doing some catching up size-wise. 20 ounces sounds low - he won't be getting much in the way of calories or nutrition from his baby food at this stage. And some babies are rather polite about not demanding more milk/formula but gobble it up if offered. I would call the pediatrician and ask if he should be getting more per day and try offering an extra bottle between breakfast and lunch.



answers from Houston on

Since he is still on baby cereal, give him a cereal bottle when he wakes up. It's almost 12 hours since dinner and when he wakes up he's hungry.


answers from Houston on

He may just be an early riser- I'd say follow your Mom instincts. If he doesn't seem hungry then he is probably getting plenty. Here is a good article too- Does he take a pacifier? Have you tried to confort him a little and see if he'll go back to sleep in the morning for a bit. I do this sometimes with my son and he'll sometimes go back for another hour or two.

Great job on still giving some breastmilk! I know how hard supply problems can be- I lost that battle :(



answers from Houston on

It doesn't sound to me like he is getting quite enought. He doesn't nurse at all between lunch and bedtime? I would think a nursing session somewhere in there would be necessary. Honestly, if he goes to sleep at 8ish and sleeps until 5:30, that's a full night. I've heard of people waking and giving another feeding at 11ish to help baby sleep longer, but I don't think his hours are crazy. Breastfed babies need milk more often. In fact, it's totally normal for a 9 month old BF baby to not sleep all the way till morning. Of course, STTN is classified as 5 hours at a stretch.

ALso, I know you said you have supply issues, but if he's hungry again an hour after waking, why not try to nurse him? At least nurse him first before giving formula. I know a lot of people give formula at night to help them sleep longer, but first thing in the morning I would try to nurse him again. Your body can make more milk in an hour, especially if you're emptying the breasts the first time. Just a thought.

ANother thing to note, just as when he was new, is his diaper output. If diaper output is good and he's gaining weight just fine and seems content, then he may not want more. My kids didn't eat as much food at that age as yours so they nursed a lot more. I'd still try to get more nursing in after lunch and before dinner.

Good luck!



answers from Houston on

If he's 'sleeping through the night' getting up at 5 isn't unusual. 20 oz plus nursing (you really don't know exactly how much he gets) sounds fine. He should be getting 20-25 oz or so I think.

S., mom to 5, first two bottle fed due to insufficient supply, the next bottle and breastfed due to baby's mouth being too small to drain the breast, and the last two exclusively breastfed!

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