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Thread: Breastmilk vs formula amounts

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Aug 2011
    Posts
    25

    Default Breastmilk vs formula amounts

    Does anyone know how breastmilk compares to formula in terms of how much a baby needs? I'm reading here and on Kellymom that my 5 month old would need somewhere between 19 and 30 oz of breastmilk. My lactation consultant told me he needs about 45 oz of formula. He's a big 18 pound boy. That seems like a HUGE discrepancy and seemingly contradictory as I would have guessed that babies would need to eat MORE breastmilk since it's digested faster.

    Can someone please help me understand this? My baby is currently on a nursing strike and I'm trying desperately to figure out if it's because I just suddenly slowed down a lot and no longer have enough for him (which it certainly feels like) or because I just finally regulated and he doesn't want to work for a letdown (I had big o/s problems in the beginning and he's used to milk just pouring into his mouth.

    I've still been able to get him to nurse at least once in the middle of the night until last night. He tried hard but couldn't get my milk to let down for several minutes and quit. I was devastated. So I've been EP all day and will probably end up with somewhere between 27-31oz for the 24 hour period. That seems like it should be enough (according to what I read here), and so far today he's sleeping and acting pretty normal eating what I've pumped without any supplements, although his diapers are not as wet as they used to be. Still getting at least 6, but not peeing through to his clothes anymore And 27-31 is still a far cry from 45 oz. My breasts feel empty all the time and let down is taking longer and longer the more days I'm pumping instead of nursing.

    I want to solve this riddle and any help would be WONDERFUL!!

    Please forgive me if this posted more than once. Either the computer or the website is being WEIRD right now.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Dec 2010
    Posts
    555

    Default Re: Breastmilk vs formula amounts

    I did ALOT of supplementing while I was regaining my supply and I NEVER gave more than 36 oz of formula OR breastmilk. 45 oz is a LOT. Weigh doesn't have anything to do with it really.

    You generally need a little less breastmilk than formula because more of it is actually absorbed by the body.

    27-31 oz is amazing! Maybe another oz or two, but it should be enough I think as long as they are getting 1-1.5 oz per hour they are good. Maybe you can check his weight every so often just to make sure? I was never too strict about no of diapers. I also use disposables and it is harder to tell exactly how wet they are.

    You can do this!!! Keep working on trying to get baby back to the breast. I'm sure some other mamas can chime in here!

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Nov 2006
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    miles from nowhere
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    11,108

    Default Re: Breastmilk vs formula amounts

    Breastmilk also changes in composition and gets more concentrated as baby gets older and bigger, so you don't have to keep increasing the volume the way you do with formula, which stays the same no matter how old baby is. That may be a factor in the discrepancy.

    My experience wasn't typical and we weren't using normal formula, but when I had to wean at 9 mos I was told to try to get my son to drink 36oz a day of formula. Bear in mind he was underweight and considered failure to thrive, so I'm not saying that's how much you should be giving. Maybe you could ask your doctor about your specific situation.
    “We are not put on earth for ourselves, but are placed here for each other. If you are there always for others, then in time of need, someone will be there for you.”
    --Anonymous

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Aug 2011
    Posts
    25

    Default Re: Breastmilk vs formula amounts

    Interesting, I didn't realize breast milk continued to change after the first few weeks. That would certainly explain a slow down. Thank you for your responses. I'm going to keep trying to convince this LO to eat! Wish me luck! We're already on day 7 of this strike and I'm starting to lose hope he will ever want to nurse again

  5. #5

    Default Re: Breastmilk vs formula amounts

    Awe, good luck to you Just remember that there are a lot more moms in your shoes than you know. I am in a similar situation, not knowing how much my daughter is getting, and constantly worrying that she was not getting enough. I was very against formula, until she went to daycare and I had no choice to be suppliment because she eats more than I can make now. I still hate using formula to suppliment (Generally her bottles are 1/2 bm and 1/2 formula) but am very glad that I know she is eating (maybe not from me) and is satisfied. Could your son possibly have an ear infection or reflux? That could make it hard for him to nurse. Just a thought.

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