On December 11, 2014, my wife and I gave birth to a healthy baby boy.  We were amazing by our newborn’s tiny feet and hands, but surprised by how much this little guy can consume.

After birth, every new parent wonders the same questions: How much milk does our baby need? How often should we feed our baby? We researched the most credible sources to find out answers to the following questions:

How big is a newborn baby’s stomach? How many ounces of breastmilk does a newborn baby need per day? How many milliliters of breastmilk does a newborn baby need per day? How often should I should feed my newborn baby?

References are listed below.

How big is a newborn baby’s stomach?

At birth your baby’s stomach is size of the cherry, and it can only hold 0.1 to 0.2 ounces (5-7 ml) of milk.

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This is the reason you must constantly feed your newborn. The stomach grows very quickly each day, and by day 3 the stomach is a size of of a walnut and can hold 0.8 to 1 ounces (22-27 ml) of milk. By day 7 your baby’s stomach is a size of an apricot and can hold 1.5 to 2 ounces (45-60 ml) of milk.

By one month old your baby’s stomach is a size of large egg and can hold 2.5 to 5 ounces (80-150 ml) of milk. By comparison, an adult’s stomach is about a size of  a grapefruit and can hold about 30 ounces (1,000 ml) of food.

How many ounces of breastmilk does a newborn baby need per day?

Babies are all unique. Some of them latch immediately and eat well from the day 1. Others are very sleepy and have a hard time latching at all. It can be very hard to determine how much milk your baby is getting per feeding.

Kaiser Permanente gave us a handy sheet of paper that summarized how much milk a baby should have per day based on their weight.

On the chart and graph below you can see how much milk your baby should be getting per day.

1 day old baby:

A newborn has a tiny stomach the size of cherry that can only hold a teaspoon of colostrum (your first milk before the milk production really kicks in). Because your baby’s stomach is so tiny, you’ll need to feed her constantly in the first 24 hours.

3 days old baby:

The stomach is already 4 times larger and can hold 0.8 - 1 ounces of milk. Your milk production is about to start and breastfeeding should get easier. On average, babies weigh 6 - 9 pounds at birth and will need between 14 to 22 ounces of milk per day.

7 days old baby:

The stomach is the size of an apricot and can hold 1.5 to 2 ounces of milk. At one week old, your baby has started to gain back the lost weight, and needs 14 to 22 ounces of milk per day.

30 days old baby:

The stomach is the size of a large egg and can already hold 2.5 to 5 ounces of milk. By 30 days your baby should have gained about a pound of weight and will need 17-24 ounces of milk per day. Below you can find a handy chart and graph that tells you how much your milk your baby will need based on her weight.

Baby weight (lbs) Breast milk needed (oz)
5 lbs 12 oz
6 lbs 14 oz
7 lbs 17 oz
8 lbs 19 oz
9 lbs 22 oz
10 lbs 24 oz
11 lbs 26 oz
12 lbs 29 oz
13 lbs 31 oz
14 lbs 34 oz

How many milliliters of breastmilk does a newborn baby need per day?

For the ones who use metric system, here’s a handy chart and graph that tells you how much your milk your baby will need based on her weight.

Baby weight (kg) Breast milk needed (ml)
2.0 kg 313 ml
2.5 kg 391 ml
3.0 kg 469 ml
3.5 kg 548 ml
4.0 kg 626 ml
4.5 kg 704 ml
5.0 kg 782 ml
5.5 kg 861 ml
6.0 kg 939 ml
6.5 kg 1000 ml

How often should I feed my newborn baby? During the first few days, a newborn baby needs to be fed every 1.5 to 3 hours. Once the baby’s stomach grows and she starts to gain weight, the feeding interval can move to every 3-4 hours.

It’s important to keep in mind that newborns don’t always warn you when they are hungry during the first weeks, so you often need to wake them up for nursing. Newborns are nocturnal beings who want to stay up at night and sleep during the day. For this reason, the feeding cycle can fluctuate based on the alertness of your baby. As a rule of thumb, during the first weeks you should nurse your baby 8-12 times a day.

1 day old baby:

She needs eight to twelve feedings during the first 24 hours. Many babies will feed even more frequently than this, and it may seem as though your baby is insatiable. This is because her stomach is so small, just the size of a cherry, and gets full and empties very quickly. Feeding frequently is essential to build up your milk supply, so feed on demand rather than clock watching.

3 days old baby:

She needs eight to twelve feedings per day. Feed your baby on demand and monitor the amount of wet diapers. If you see no wet diapers for 24 hours, you want to connect with your doctor or nurse.

7 days old baby:

She needs eight to twelve feedings per day. Your milk supply will now be established and baby will be eating larger amounts of milk per feeding. By the end of the first week your transitional milk has turned into mature milk which is thinner and contains more water. Mature breastmilk consists of 90 percent water and 10 percent of carbohydrates, proteins and fats necessary for both growth and energy.

30 days old baby:

She needs eight to twelve feedings per day. The first growth spurt has gone, and the growth and weight gain will slow down slightly. Your baby’s poo production will also slow down. She may go for several days (maybe even a week or more) without producing a poo at all. By exclusively breastfeeding for at least 1 month you have given your baby significant protection against food allergy at 3 years of age, and protection against respiratory allergy at 17 years of age.

References

Here’s a list of references that we have found helpful on our journey.

KellyMom offers thorough advice on breastfeeding

La Leche League is the breastfeeding support community

The Baby Book is the most comprehensive baby book

Photo credits