Breastfeeding: How much does my baby need and how do I store it?

Breastfeeding: How much does my baby need and how do I store it

One of the most difficult parts about your first year with your baby is figuring out how to properly breast feed your baby to fit his or her needs. It can be tough to set aside so much time of every day for breastfeeding and to figure out how much milk your baby needs.  This is why many mothers also use breast pumps to store breast milk ahead of time for their baby so that someone else can feed them and they can be sure the baby is getting enough. To help with this difficult process we outlined a feeding schedule and storing guideline for breast milk below. 

How much milk does my baby need?

  • 0-3 weeks: 1-3 oz per meal., every 2-3 hours, 8-12 feedings, 8-24 oz total
    • To estimate by weight, an average baby should consume around 2-3 ounces of formula / breast milk per day for every pound of his or her body weight, up to a maximum of 32 ounces.
  • 3 weeks – 3 months: 3-4 oz. per meal, 6-8 feedings daily, 24-32 oz. total
  • 3-6 months : 4-8 oz. per meal, 4-6 feedings daily, 24-32 oz. total
    • Now that the baby sleeps longer at night, s/he may eat more at bedtime and in the morning.
  • 6-9 months: 6-8 oz. per meal, 6 feedings a day, 32 oz total.
    • Start solids around this time but formula / breast milk is priority for the first year.
  • 9-12 months:  7-8 oz. per meal, 3-5 feedings daily, 24 oz total.
    • Babies sometimes drink a little less as more solids – particularly foods with high water content -- are added.
  • 12+ months:  4 oz. cow’s / soy milk up to 4 times a day
    • The transition to whole dairy or soy milk is a good time to introduce the sippy cup. 

How do I store my breast milk?

Using a breast pump to store breast milk is very common practice for many mothers. Be sure to clean and sterilize your breasts and the pump equipment prior to use. Also make sure to read any instructions that come with the pump prior to use. Following the instructions on the pump, we recommend that once a day you try breastfeeding with one side and pumping the other. If you are employed we recommend pumping 3 times during an 8 hour shift and using that to feed your baby while you are at work the next day. It is ok to pump on a Friday and use the milk on Monday if you store it properly. We also recommend that you store some breast milk in the freezer for emergencies as it will last much longer than in the fridge. 

How long can I store my breast milk?


  • At Room Temperature?
    • Hours
    • 4 Hour for NICU or preterm baby
  • In Fridge (freshly expressed)?
    •  5 Days
    • 4 Days for NICU or preterm
  • In Fridge (previously frozen)?
    • 24 Hours
  • In Freezer ?
    • 4 months
    • 3 months for NICU or preterm babies.