Nursing mothers often worry about whether their babies are actually receiving the right amount of milk. When mothers exclusively breastfeed, she will find it difficult to measure accurately how much breast milk at 5 weeks old her baby drinks in every feeding.
Even those who pump breast milk often notice that those babies who drink formula often consume more milk than breast milk fed babies. It is important to understand the normal milk consumption of breastfed babies so breastfeeding mothers will feel more confident in their ability to determine if their baby is receiving ample amounts of milk.
How Often Should You Breastfeed?
Typically, newborns should be nursing 8 to 12 times per day during their first month of life. That being said, breastfeeding mothers often wonder if they feed their babies more than those babies who are formula fed.
In such cases, you might actually be feeding your child more, as breast milk digest easier than formula. This means that breast milk moves through your child’s digestive system faster, making your child hungry more often.
When you breastfeed frequently, this will help stimulate milk production during the first few weeks. When your baby reaches one to two months old, your child may nurse 7 to 9 times a day.
In general, before you are able to establish your milk supply, breastfeeding must be done ‘on demand’, when your baby is hungry about 1 to 3 hours. As your baby grows older, he or she will nurse less often and will eventually develop a more reliable feeding schedule.
Milk Consumption During The First Month Of Baby’s Life
During the first month of your baby’s life, the amount of breast milk that your newborn needs increase rapidly.
In fact, on your child’s first day of life, his or her stomach resembles the size of a pea and has very little ability to stretch. During this time, your child is only able to consume about an ounce of colostrums, which is the earliest form of breast milk rich in nutrients and antibiotics.
As your baby reaches five days old, his or her stomach starts to expand, resembling the size of a golf ball. During this time, your baby can consume around 10 ounces to 12 ounces of milk every day. This amount will gradually increase. In fact, your baby will consume about 20 ounces to 25 ounces of breast milk every day during the second and third week of your baby’s life.
Consequently, as your baby reaches four weeks old or one month old, your baby can already consume about 25 ounces to 30 ounces of milk every day.
At 5 Weeks Old – How Much Milk Is Your Baby Consuming?
When your baby reaches 5 weeks old, your baby’s daily milk consumption may vary from 19 ounces to 30 ounces every day. The average consumption of breast milk of babies at 5 weeks old is about 25 ounces of milk daily.
Generally speaking, the daily consumption of breast milk will remain the same from one month until 6 months old. Also, it is important to note that the baby’s weight and age at this period will not affect the amount of breast milk the child consumes on a daily basis.
However, during instances of growth spurts which typically occur during 3 months old to 6 months old, your baby may temporarily increase his or her milk consumption than usual for about two to three days.
Milk Consumption After 6 Months
When a baby reaches 6 months old, the baby will already start eating solids. Consequently, the amount of milk the baby consumes will gradually decrease.
The amount of the decrease will vary based on the amount of solid foods the baby eats. As more solid foods are consumed, the less breast milk will be needed by the baby.
During this period, the milk consumption of a baby may drop from 30 ounces at 7 months to 19 ounces by 11 months old.
Signs Of Adequate Milk Intake
Since breastfeeding moms often are not able to accurately measure breast milk consumption of their children, they can look for several signs that tell if their baby meets the guidelines for adequate milk consumption.
- Diaper Counts. During the first weeks, you child consumes adequate amounts of milk if he or she is able to produce four to five soaking wet disposable diapers in a day.
- Weight Gain. Breastfed babies gain an average weight of 6 ounces per week during the first four months. At 4 months to 6 months old, an average weight gain of 4 ounces to 5 ounces a week should be noted. Lastly, between 6 months old to 12 months old, a baby should have an average weight gain of 2 ounces to 4 ounces per week.
- Satisfaction Every After Feeding. Aside from weight gain and diaper count, the baby should appear satisfied every after feeding.
- Active and Alert. If your child is adequately feeding, he or she should be active and alert.
- Able to Meet the Appropriate Developmental Milestones. Your child is feeding adequately if he or she is able to meet his or her appropriate developmental milestones.
It is important to know whether your child is consuming adequate amounts of milk. While we may not be able to accurately measure the amounts of breast milk consumed, especially with exclusively breastfeeding, the signs of adequate milk intake should help determine whether the child is consuming ample amounts of milk.