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    Home ›› How Much Milk Does a Newborn Need

    Home ›› How Much Milk Does a Newborn Need

    How much milk does a newborn need? A guide to newborn feeding amounts


    Reading time: 5 mins


    Like every new mother, you’re now probably wondering ‘how much breast milk should a newborn drink?’ and ‘how often should a newborn feed on formula?’ Don’t worry, we all need a little practical guidance and reassurance when it comes to learning how much milk a newborn should drink.

    Whether you opt for breastfeeding, bottle feeding, or a combination of the two, here you’ll find all the essential information you need to know about getting the right newborn feeding amount including:


    • Signs your baby is hungry.
    • How often your baby should feed.
    • How much milk your baby should drink.
    • Signs that your baby is full.

    So, read on for our simple guide to newborn feeding amounts so you can ensure the healthy growth and development of your infant. 

    How much milk does a newborn need: Signs that your baby is hungry


    Mothers have wonderful instincts, but we’re not all mind readers at the beginning! Here are a few of the most common signs your baby is telling you they’re hungry before we explore answers to the main question on your mind: how much do newborns eat.1


    • Moving head towards your breast or bottle
    • Clenching hands
    • Putting hands to mouth
    • Puckering, smacking, or licking lips


    Tip: Don’t panic, you’ll gradually become very familiar with your baby’s unique gestures and signs of hunger as you and your baby get into the swing of things.

    How often should a newborn feed on formula or breastmilk?


    Knowing the signals of your baby’s hunger is only half the story. If your baby shows any of these signs, they may be trying to tell you that it’s time to eat; but how often should a newborn feed on formula or breastmilk? 


    • Ideally, your baby should be feeding on demand when he or she is hungry. 
    • If you are breastfeeding, this is a healthy way to help maintain your milk supply, as your body will naturally respond to your baby’s needs and continue to produce the right amount of milk. 
    • Bottle feeding on demand can be also beneficial for the infant as they are able to self-regulate their feeding needs. 
    • In general, newborns drink every two to three hours.
    • This means they will usually have a total of eight to twelve feeds every 24 hours. 

    What you need

    How much milk does a newborn drink?

    So how much do newborns eat? The wonderful thing about babies is that everyone is unique, and because of that, no baby will ever feed by the book. Here are a few feeding facts to help you answer the question, how much milk does a newborn need:


    • At first, you will only produce small amounts of breast milk called colostrum, a yellowish, thick milk. 
    • Colostrum is the perfect source of nutrients that your newborn needs with many immunologic properties. 2
    • Your baby's tiny stomach is still adapting to digesting milk during its first few days. It's normal for your little one to take up to a week to adjust to their new feeding routine, which can cause a slight weight loss from their birth weight. 3
    • Babies only ingest about one to two ounces per feeding, an amount that will increase to about two to three ounces at two weeks of age. So don’t worry if it seems that you aren’t producing much milk in these first few days after birth! 
    • After this stage, most babies will need 2.5-3 oz of milk per pound, and this will be the general rule of thumb until your baby is six months old.
    • Although it is tempting to stick to this, try not to be too strict. Volumes will naturally vary from feed to feed. 
    • The feeding sessions will also change in terms of duration, starting between 10 to 30 minutes and gradually increasing as your newborn grows. 

    How much milk does a newborn drink from a bottle


    Now you have a rough idea of the answer to the question, ‘how much breast milk should a newborn drink’, what about when you are bottle feeding? If you decide to bottle feed your baby here are some key tips regarding the correct newborn feeding amount:


    • If you have expressed breast milk into a bottle, you should feed your newborn for the same duration as with breastfeeding. 
    • Should you choose to do so, pumping is a wonderful option to feed your baby breast milk, while giving your nipples a break and providing you with more control of timing and schedule.
    • If you are providing formula in addition to breastmilk, or as alternative to breastmilk, then you should aim to offer your newborn one to two ounces per feed. 
    • After two months this increases to two to four ounces, and by six months your baby will likely require six to eight ounces per feed.


    If you have combination feeding concerns, the Philips Natural Baby Bottle with Natural Response Nipple might be the right bottle for your little one. Here’s a few ways it can help you ensure an easy transition between breast and bottle as you provide your baby with the correct newborn feeding amount:


    1. The breast-shaped bottle nipple looks and works like the breast to provide a calm and comfortable feed for your baby. 
    2.  Your baby can comfortably switch between breastfeeding and bottle feeding thanks to the intuitive bottle nipple opening and tip. 
    3. Milk is released from the bottle nipple only during active drinking, when triggered by your baby's natural tongue compression, like at the breast. 
    4.  During each rest period, your baby can take time to pause, which in turn signals the bottle nipple to stop the milk flow without drips. 
    5. The unique technological advancements of this bottle nipple help support your baby's natural feeding rhythm to make combination feeding an effortless experience.

    How much do newborns eat: Signs that your baby is full


    How do you know when your baby is no longer hungry? Whether you choose breast or bottle, look out for these signs that may indicate your newborn is full and has reached their own individual newborn feeding amount4:


    • Closes mouth
    • Turns head away from your breast or bottle
    • Reluctant to latch onto the bottle nipple
    • Milk is dripping out of their mouth
    • Starts to move their arms and legs
    • Hands are open and relaxed
    • Their body feels heavy and relaxed
    • Falls asleep


    If your baby shows any signs of being full, ensure that you stop breastfeeding or bottle feeding, even if the bottle is not empty.

    How much milk does a newborn need: Making the right choice for you and your baby


    Understanding the answer to questions like, ‘how much milk should a newborn drink’ is only the beginning. It’s important to remember that every baby is different and there is no other bond that is quite like yours. 

    When your baby is calm, relaxed and showing signs of being satisfied you know you’re getting it right. Ultimately, you need to choose the feeding option that best works for you and your newborn, whether that be breastfeeding, bottle feeding, or a combination of both. 

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