How much expressed milk does my baby need?

It is best to follow the baby’s lead. Volume needs change day-to-day and from baby to baby. Learning a baby’s unique communication style is an important part of the early bonding process.

According to ‘The participant’s guide of WHO’s Breastfeeding counselling’ (p. 127), the amount of milk to give is:

“Babies who weigh 2.5 kg or more:

  • 150 ml milk per kg body weight per day.
  • – Divide the total into 8 feeds, and give 3-hourly.

Babies who weigh less than 2.5 kg (Low-birth-weight):

  • Start with 60 ml per kg body weight.
  • Increase the total volume by 20 ml per kg per day, until the baby is taking a total of 200 ml per kg per day.
  • Divide the total into 8-12 feeds, to feed every 2-3 hours.
  • Continue until the baby weighs 1,800 g or more, and is fully breastfeeding.

Check the baby’s 24-hour intake. The size of individual feeds may vary.”

This calculator can be used as a general guideline for babies that are receiving feeding from an at-the-breast system, a cup, or a bottle.

Next: Can donated milk be reused?

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