Singapore is full of parents that can get competitive. A little kiasu right from a young age. They like to compare everything right from the pregnancy. “Did you have a normal delivery? How many hours of labour did you endure? Is yours a full-term baby?”
That doesn’t stop just there. “What, your baby drinks six to eight ounces at one go? If mine has four ounces at one go it’s a huge accomplishment! Just how do you do it?”
Some mums just have to compare everything, especially when it comes to the growth and development of their little ones. While no two babies are the same, sometimes it’s important to know if your baby is getting the right amount of nutrition, especially when it comes to breast milk.
New mums always fret about baby milk intake, especially when they have a point of comparison. This does beg the question, just how much milk should baby drink?
How Much Milk Should Baby Drink: All You Need To Know
An extremely common question is that mums can’t understand why breastfed babies’ milk intake seems less when compared to formula-fed babies. This leaves mums worrying if they are doing something wrong.
Average feeding pattern
You might be surprised by the answer if you wonder how much milk a baby should drink. Breastfed babies’ milk intake doesn’t increase drastically in their first six months.
A baby’s milk intake will be about 25 ounces or 750 ml in 24 hours. As their growth slows, babies continue growing and gaining weight without a real increment in their milk consumption.
Breastfeeding mums or mums bottle-feeding your children breast milk, don’t worry just yet. Be rest assured that you are not doing anything wrong. Drinking more milk is not necessarily better or ideal.
It’s typical for formula-fed babies to consume more milk than those with breast milk. A study done on 16,755 babies in Belarus compared the milk intake of formula-fed and breastfed babies.
The study found that formula-fed babies consumed 49 per cent more milk at one month of age, 57 per cent more at three months and 71 per cent more at five months.
Another study in Australia shows that breastfed babies between one and six months consistently drink about three ounces of milk at each feeding. Younger babies, of course, take in even less milk.
Image Source: iStock
How Much Breast Milk Should Baby Drink
When it comes to feeding your baby, you want to ensure they get all the nutrients they need.
You may be concerned about how much breast milk your baby is drinking so that they are getting enough nutrients and calories.
The good news is that there is no set amount of breast milk that a baby should drink each day. The volume of breast milk consumed by your baby will vary daily, depending on their age, weight, activity level, and needs.
If you’re worried about whether your baby is getting enough to eat during each feeding session, talk with your doctor or healthcare provider about what’s normal for your baby at his or her age.
How Much Formula Milk to Feed Baby
The amount of formula to feed your baby will depend on their age, size and weight, and activity level.
For example, a newborn needs about 20 ounces of formula daily (about five ounces every three hours). But by the time they’re two months old, they’ll only need about 16 ounces (about three to four ounces every three hours).
You’ll also want to consider how much milk your baby drinks at one feeding—they should be drinking at least two ounces of breastmilk or formula per hour in the first few weeks.
When it comes to feeding your baby, there’s no one-size-fits-all approach. Talk with your doctor about what works best for you and your family.
How to Calculate How Much Milk a Baby Should Drink
The milk a baby should drink is based on age, weight, and the number of feedings per day. A typical newborn should drink about 1 ounce (30 ml) every hour for the first few weeks. You can use this formula:
(weight in pounds) x (number of feedings per day) = ounces to be consumed per day
Why Do Formula-fed Babies Drink More Than Breastfed Babies?
There are a few reasons for this.
1. Milk flow
During the first few months of a baby’s life, they have a reflex that automatically triggers the suckling action upon swallowing the milk. Unlike breastfeeding, where you have to worry about a letdown and milk flow, formula milk flows more consistently. Babies naturally tend to drink more milk from a bottle at each feeding.
Breastfeeding is different from bottle feeding as milk doesn’t flow as consistently.
Babies eventually outgrow this reflexive suckling, so if babies get conditioned to feeding on the bottle, they face the risk of overfeeding. If you’re wondering how much milk a baby should drink, it’s probably a lot less than you are feeding them.
2. Breastfed babies have greater control
The problem with breastfeeding is that you are clueless about how much milk your baby is drinking. If they seem satisfied after five minutes of drinking, you will likely coax them to drink more because you are convinced she needs more milk.
However, as you watch your baby growing, gaining weight, looking happy and thriving, you start to trust your baby’s instinct and leave it up to them to decide how much they want. Even when introducing solids at a later stage, you allow your baby to take the lead in determining the quantity of food they want to eat.
A study conducted in the UK on babies between six and 12 months of age discovered that breastfeeding mothers don’t pressure their babies to eat and go with the flow. This makes for less stress, a happy mum and a happy baby.
3. When you offer more, they take more
The Belarus study also found that babies who drank more were given more milk. Their mothers offered them bottles with more than six ounces of milk at each feeding.
If you offer your baby more milk, she will drink more milk.
4. Different rates of metabolisation
Breast milk has hormones like leptin and adiponectin. These hormones help babies to regulate their appetite and energy metabolism. These hormones also affect their sleep metabolism. Meanwhile, formula-fed babies burn more calories in their sleep than breastfed babies.
5. Insufficient pumping output
Another situation that constantly puzzled mums is the difference between direct latching and pumping. Many mums who have no problems satisfying their babies with direct latching don’t seem to be able to keep up with the baby’s demand when they pump milk for them.
Sometimes they need to pump twice or even thrice to make enough milk for each feed. And this leaves them wondering if their milk supply is low.
However, there are some things you can do to control the baby’s milk intake and reduce the chances of overfeeding. The trick is to keep the milk flow during bottle feeding slow and steady.
How do you control the baby’s milk intake?
- Don’t upgrade the teat according to the baby’s age. Keep it at the slowest milk flow that your baby can accept.
- Keep your baby upright while feeding, as this slows the flow
- Take a break now and then and give your baby a chance to realise that she is full and doesn’t require more milk
How Much Milk Should Baby Drink After Solids
It’s hard to know how much milk you should give your baby after they’ve started eating solid foods.
Some babies are hungry and want to eat all the time, while others are less interested in eating or drinking.
Your doctor or nurse can help you figure out what’s normal for your baby, but here are some general guidelines:
Right after eating, your baby should drink about the same amount of milk as before starting solids. This is usually about 2-3 ounces (60-90 mL).
After that, you can give them as much milk as they want—but wait for one hour before offering another feeding, so their tummies have a chance to settle down. If your baby’s still hungry after that hour has passed, don’t worry! Just go ahead and offer more milk until they’re satisfied.
Also, don’t forget that babies often like to comfort latch; when they don’t get to do that, it might seem like they are demanding more milk. However, they are just yearning to suckle for a longer time instead.
Mums, we hope that this article puts you at ease. The next time you are tearing your hair out over how much milk a baby should drink, just remember that it’s probably less than you think.
Here at theAsianparent Singapore, it’s important for us to give information that is correct, significant, and timely. But this doesn’t serve as an alternative for medical advice or medical treatment. theAsianparent Singapore is not responsible for those that would choose to drink medicines based on information from our website. If you have any doubts, we recommend consulting your doctor for clearer information.