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How Much Milk Can One Baby Drink?

SILKIn the early weeks of life, preemies are only fed small amounts of milk, often less than 1 ounce a day. It can be hard to believe that you need to keep pumping 7-8 times a day and producing so much milk when you look at that little baby!

Producing a lot of milk is important for several reasons:

  • You will not run out as your baby grows
  • Preemies that drink mother's milk do the best
  • Your baby will learn to breastfeed easier
  • You can continue to produce milk after your baby comes home

Even though your little preemie is being fed only one teaspoon a feeding right now...A 3 month old preemie can drink 20 ounces a day, which is 140 ounces a week or 600 ounces a month. You will quickly use your frozen milk when your baby gets bigger!

Continuing to pump 6-8 times a day is key to having enough milk for your baby at every stage. If you don't pump in the middle of the night your milk volume will slowly start to decrease- keep it up!

If you have left-over milk you can use it later to feed your baby after weaning.

Never throw out milk! Extra milk your baby does not eat can be donated for babies whose mothers weren't able to produce enough milk.


The Chester County Hospital Lactaction Consultants: 610.738.2582

The Chester County Hospital NICU's Support in Lactation and Kangaroo Care (SILK) program was created in 2010. It is adapted from the UCSD SPIN Program 9/08.

Last Updated: 6/23/2011