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Thread: How many mL or oz should my 3 week old be eating? Is he getting enough?

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Nov 2008

    Question How many mL or oz should my 3 week old be eating? Is he getting enough?

    Hi everyone,

    I am new to this forum; I came looking for some advice and support.

    I have a son who will be 3 weeks old on Tuesday. He was born weighing 7 lbs 12 oz, but left the hospital at about 6 lbs. 8 oz. When he went back for his 2 week check, he weighed 7 lbs. 7 oz. He has 2 poopy diapers daily and has too many wet diapers to count.

    He has been eating or hungry constantly for the past two days. He'll suck at one breast for between a half our and 45 minutes and then he does the same thing on the other side. About 15 minutes after I finish feeding, he is not just showing hunger cues, but he's crying from hunger.

    Last night I gave in and gave him a bottle of formula just to see if he was still hungry. (The hospital was worried he wasn't gaining enough weight so they gave us some little bottles of formula in case I needed to supplement.) He downed the 40 mL bottle in about 10 minutes.

    I decided to pump this morning to see how much milk I was producing and how much he was getting per feeding. I pumped out 50 mL and fed my son with a bottle. The second time I pumped today I only got about 25 mL.

    When I tried to find information about how much he should be eating per feeding, I saw some recommendations that stated he should be getting approximately 80 mL per feeding. If that's the case, I am not producing enough milk.

    Is anyone else having the same problem? Has anyone been in this situation before? What can I do? I feel guilty about not being able to provide enough breast milk for my son.

    How horrible would it be if I fed my son as much breast milk as I could possibly get and then supplemented with formula so that he received the 80 mL per feeding? Or is that 80 mL an inaccurate estimate of what he should be eating per feeding?

    Any help, advice, etc. that you can provide me would be greatly appreciated! I just don't know what to do or think at this point.

    Thank you!

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Aug 2006

    Default Re: How many mL or oz should my 3 week old be eating? Is he getting enough?

    You're doing a great job, mama!
    Three weeks is prime time for a growth spurt. It's totally normal for him to be nursing much more frequently. In fact you WANT to put him to the breast as much as possible to tell your body to make more milk - that's what the growth spurt is all about. The worst thing you can do now is supplement with formula because your body won't get the "more milk" message. Your milk supply will adjust to meet his needs. Just nurse him.
    Your baby is gaining steadily and well - ALL on your milk. What did the pediatrician say about his weight gain?
    The BEST way to judge a baby's input (how much he's getting) is by keeping track of his output (counting diapers.) You want 6-7 wet diapers and 2-3 poopy diapers (with BMs the size of a quarter or larger).
    Pumping is NOT an indicator of how much milk your baby is getting. Babies are MUCH more effective than an pump and many women don't let down for a pump like they do for a baby.
    As for the baby drinking the bottle - that is NOT an indicator that he's still hungry. Babies will suck on a bottle and drink even if they are full.
    While supplementing with formula isn't "bad" when necessary - it does NOT sound like you are in that situation. Introducing formula without the need for it can do serious damage to your milk supply.
    Your baby is growing fine on your milk alone. His weight gain is good. Track his diapers to reassure yourself that he's getting enough. Trust your body to make the milk. Listen to your baby and nurse him on demand. This growth spurt will pass and everything will smooth back out.
    And expect a few more growth spurts - often around 6 weeks, 3 mos, 6 mos.
    You're doing GREAT!!! Keep it up.
    Mom to Laura (3/1/06)

  3. #3

    Default Re: How many mL or oz should my 3 week old be eating? Is he getting enough?

    oh, 3 week growth spurt.

    I just recently went through one of these with my little one. I know they can be rough on you. Definitely keep track of the poop and wet diapers; they tell you how your little one is doing as far as being well-nourished. From what it sounds like your baby is having good weight gain.

    As far as the formula goes, if your baby is gaining a good amount of weight and have good poop and wet diapers, then there is no need (if you have decided you are strictly breastfeeding). With the pumping issue, I am the same way; sometimes I have a ton and sometimes not much at all. HOWEVER - baby gets milk much more efficiently than the pump does, so it is not a good indicator of how much baby may be getting from the breast.

    The growth spurts are supposed to help set up the production for your supply. So put him on the breast whenever he gets hungry - be it for 5 minutes or 45 minutes. In my case - I pump in between feedings to keep my supply up; so you can always do that too.

    Hopefully I can be of some help. I know exactly how you feel, but don't stress yourself out. It sounds like you are doing great, just keep up the good work - and things will smooth out soon.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Feb 2008

    Default Re: How many mL or oz should my 3 week old be eating? Is he getting enough?

    with pp. Pumping is not an indicator of how much milk you are making as Baby is a more efficient remover of milk. It is so hard but this behavior is totally normal for this age.

    Is your baby having 6 wet diapers per day-how about 1 poopy diaper? As long as the output is okay and your pedi isn't insisting on supplimentation, I wouldn't think you need to. Remember that your body will respond within a day or two and make more milk if baby is still sucking. If you use formula your body isn't cued to make more milk and your supply will not increase.

    Mommy to Maxwell 10-9-07 weaned with love (a party and a remote control monster truck) on his 4th birthday
    My Boy 3-16-10
    And my sweet pea Sam 2-12-11

    Watch Your Language

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jul 2008

    Default Re: How many mL or oz should my 3 week old be eating? Is he getting enough?

    Agree with PP. Here is some info about how much your baby "should" be eating if you are measuring it. Remember, every baby's different.

    I'm Hillary
    Wife to Gualberto
    Mom to Nolan
    Born at 32 weeks-3lbs/10oz
    Our precious early angel

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Nov 2008

    Default Re: How many mL or oz should my 3 week old be eating? Is he getting enough?

    First of all, thank you to everyone that replied. I feel a little better...well, psychologically at least! (I'm still physically drained from constant feeding.)

    To answer a few of the questions that were asked:

    The doctor was a little worried about his weight gain. In fact, she had me bring him in several times to be weighed. She had hoped he’d be back to his birth weight at his two week check, but he wasn’t. (His weight was so low at his five day check that they had me supplement with formula for a few days. They were worried that he wasn’t gaining enough fast enough.)

    Today he had two poopy diapers and 16 wet diapers (he had a two hour period where he was wetting his diaper every 20 minutes).

    I fed him on demand today – and woke him up once to make sure he didn’t go more than 3 hours between feedings. I fed from the breast every time. I did pump once after a feeding; I was feeling “full” and figured it would help with my milk supply if I pumped.

    Thanks for all the help and support! I'm going to keep trying my best to give my son the best.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Aug 2006
    Bryan, Texas

    Default Re: How many mL or oz should my 3 week old be eating? Is he getting enough?

    Quote Originally Posted by @llli*nicksmommy View Post
    Thanks for all the help and support! I'm going to keep trying my best to give my son the best.
    You are doing a GREAT job, mama It is so hard the first few weeks and it feels like all you're doing is nursing...but it does get easier as they get older, I promise! They get more effective at removing milk and can nurse in a shorter amount of time as well as not needed to nurse quite so often.

    Good luck and hang in there!
    All over the world there exists in every society a small group of women who feel themselves strongly attracted to giving care to other women during pregnancy and childbirth. Failure to make use of this group of highly motivated people is regrettable and a sin against the principle of subsidiary. ~ Dr. Kloosterman, Chief of OB/GYN, Univ. of Amsterdam, Holland


    Mama to:
    Shiloh (5/6/06) Nursed for 13 months and Josephine (7/26/08) Nursed for 23.5 mos Currently nursing my new little firecracker, Finley Catherine, born on the 4th of July!!

  8. #8
    Join Date
    May 2007

    Default Re: How many mL or oz should my 3 week old be eating? Is he getting enough?

    Agreed that it sounds like you are doing a great job . Just wondering why you were feeling full after a feed? Has someone had a look at your latch? There is probably no need for concern, but occasionally a small baby can be sucking frequently but not managing to get as much milk out as they can. Can you see bubby swallowing and a pattern of deep sucks and pauses?

    An inefficient latch can be corrected in a matter of minutes with the right help. If the doc is still worried about weight gain it may be worth asking to see a lactation consultant or LLL leader if you have one in the area.
    GooD luck and leep us posted!
    Karli, Besotted mother of Ashley,8lb 9oz - 9th May 2007 and Fae 8lb 11oz 17th Feb 2010, both born at home, naturally.

    Nappy-free @ 18 months EC'ing rocks!
    Just leave it alone.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Nov 2008

    Default Re: How many mL or oz should my 3 week old be eating? Is he getting enough?

    It has been a very long day... Nick (the baby) and I have been up since 7 am and have had the same routine for the past 16hours: I feed him, I change him, I clean up some spit up (sometimes I need to change his clothes if I didn't catch all the spit up), repeat. There's no break in our routine...When I have to pee, I need to leave him screaming in his bouncer or swing just long enough to take care of business and rush back to him. I've been limited to snacks I can eat one handed. I'm tired, hungry, and have a headache... I realize that he's going through his 3 week growth spurt, but this is getting insane. Please tell me this gets better.

    I had the lactation consultant on base check his latch, and she said it was "a good latch". She did say she was worried he might be a "lazy sucker". (She also mentioned being worried that he was exerting more energy to eat than he was getting from the feeding.)

    I'm worried because he's been peeing so much and spitting up so much (frequency, not volume). I'm mostly worried about the lumpy spit up.

    How long does this growth spurt behavior usually last? How many more days of nothing but feeding, changing, etc. and nothing else am I going to endure? (I know there are a few more growth spurts coming up, too... I am just wondering if this behavior lasts a week, two weeks, until the next growth spurt...)

    I hope I made sense... I am so tired I can hardly think...

  10. #10

    Default Re: How many mL or oz should my 3 week old be eating? Is he getting enough?

    Things will get easier. Getting in a routine definitely helps out during the rough periods. On average growth spurts last a couple days to a week or so. It is all dependent on the LO. Each and everyone is different.

    Here is some information on growth spurts for ya:

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