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Breastfeeding: How much milk should my baby drink?

mother breastfeeding her baby girl

Key points:

  1. Measuring the amount of milk that comes out of your breast isn’t a reliable indicator of how much milk you’re producing.
  2. There isn’t an exact amount of milk that has to be consumed daily as each baby is different.
  3. Signals of hunger include taking their hands to their mouth, opening their mouth, licking their lips and being irritable.
  4. Breast milk is digested quickly, so it’s normal for your baby to want to be fed several times a day.

The process of breastfeeding your baby may be new to you and you probably have doubts about this topic. First of all, it’s totally normal to have questions about this stage of motherhood, so it’s important that you use all the resources available to be well-informed while you go through this experience. Read these two articles to get started: 8 facts about breastfeeding you should know and Breastfeeding 101.

Breastfeeding my baby

One of the most common doubts among parents is how to know if their babies are eating enough. Actually, this can’t be determined by the amount of milk your little one is ingesting every day. Measuring the amount of milk that comes out of your breasts isn’t a reliable indicator of how much milk you’re actually producing. This is because the suction capacity of your baby is much greater than the one of a milk pump.

Besides, it doesn’t really matter if your baby consumes little or a lot of milk since each child is different and there isn’t an exact amount that has to be consumed daily. On average, babies drink 2,5 ounces (75 ml) for each pound of body weight (463 g). However, you can watch for these signals to evaluate if your little one is still hungry.

Signs of hunger

  • They take their hands to their mouth
  • They take the tongue out
  • They open their mouth
  • They make sounds with the mouth
  • They take arms and legs to their core
  • They lick their lips
  • They caress your breast
  • They are irritated or suck on everything around them

If your baby shows none of the behaviors listed above, then they must be satisfied and eating enough. Other indicators that will help you know if your baby is eating enough are monitoring their weight gain and the number of diapers they use per day (around 6 wet diapers and 4 dirty ones).

Monitoring your baby’s weight gain will be done by your pediatrician. Each certain amount of time, your baby should be gaining weight. Also, these doctor appointments will be the perfect opportunity to consult any doubts or concerns you may have about your little one.

Lastly, to maintain your baby satisfied it is important to wait until they detach themselves from your breast. It’s not recommended to interrupt a feed by forcing your baby to stop sucking. On the other hand, if they are asking to be fed regularly, that doesn’t mean that you’re not producing enough milk. Breast milk is digested quickly, so it’s normal for your baby to want to be fed several times a day. Also, there will be occasions in which your baby, even though they’re not hungry, will want to breastfeed because that makes them feel safe and loved.

Remember that it’s normal to have doubts about breastfeeding your baby. What’s important is to stay calm and pay attention to their healthy growth and weight gain as the months go by.

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One Response

  1. My LO is Wati her hands/fingers ALL the time. Even when she’s feeding, she will pull off to eat her hands. And sometimes

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