How much milk should I leave for my baby?
One of the many things to plan when you go back to work after having a baby is how much milk to leave. This information may help you with your planning.
 

Average Feeding

Baby's Age
Average Milk Per Feeding
Average Milk Per 24 Hrs.
First Week
1-2 oz.
10-20 oz. (after Day 4)
1 to 3 weeks
2-3 oz.
15-25 oz.
1 to 6 months
3-4 oz.
25-35 oz.
  • From about one month to six months, an average feeding is about 3-4 ounces of milk.
  • Store your milk in the smallest amounts you think your baby might take. Have some 1-2 oz. amounts stored in case baby wants a little more. This avoids waste, as milk that's leftover after a feeding must be thrown away.
  • At about four or five weeks, most babies are up to the maximum 25-35 oz. per day. After that, daily milk intake stays stable until six months. So once your milk supply is set at four or five weeks, you're all set. That's all the milk you should need.
  • Don't be surprised if your baby takes more from the bottle than you pump in one pumping session. This may not mean your milk supply is low. The faster, more constant flow of the bottle may cause babies to take more from the bottle than they need. On the bottle, your baby may take more at a feeding but feed fewer times per day. Typically, the total milk in a day should not change.
  • When breastfeeding, babies typically take smaller, more frequent feedings. This promotes healthy eating habits. A slow-flow nipple on a bottle can help prevent overfeeding, and baby will feel full with less milk.
  • As they get older, some (not all) babies take more milk at a feeding and feed fewer times per day.
  • If you and your baby are apart for 8 hours, your baby should need no more than about 10-12 oz. total. This is one-third of her daily intake. If your baby takes more than expected, try to find out why.
  • When your baby begins taking other foods along with your milk (at about six months or so), your baby's need for milk should go down. Solid foods take the place of your milk in your baby's diet.
  • By about nine to twelve months, most women who were pumping at work begin phasing out their pumping. Many keep breastfeeding at home. At twelve months, most babies can be fed regular cow's milk.

This is general information and does not replace the advice of your physician or healthcare provider. If you have a problem you cannot solve quickly, seek help right away.

Every baby is different, and your baby may not be average.
If in doubt, contact your physician or other healthcare provider.