Childhood Diseases

Posted by: lissie | 2012/03/09


amount of breastmilk

Hi doctor, my baby girl of 9 months has been refusing to drink directly from me or out of a bottle. She is in perfect health and her length, head circumference is perfect. Her weight is just a bit lower than it should be. For the last 2 weeks I cannot get her to take in large amounts of milk and have started to mix appr 100ml of breastmilk into her cereal in the mornings. I also add some,about,50ml to her rooibos, which she sips throughout the day and then I try to sneak some into her lunch and some cereal in the evening. I think she takes in about 200/250ml for the day and sometimes she will drink a bit during the night. Is this ok? I do give her a lot of yogurt as well for added calcium. My pead recommended giving more meats for lunch and for dinner to increase her proteine intake. Do you think her milk intake and diet is ok or what do you recommend? I am just desperately trying to get milk into her body any way I can, but I also cannot force her to drink if she just does not want to! Any advice would be greatly appreciated! thank you in advance!

Expert's Reply



This is a problem if your baby is only taking 250ml of milk per day.She does not appear to be drinking enough fluid either. She requires about 960ml of fluid per day if she is more or less of average weight.This is her minimum requirement.She won't drink from a bottle either so it is no use recommending starting her on a formula.It may be best to take her to see your nearest baby clinic where the nurses often have excellent advice for children with feeding problems. Our regular forum members may also have some advice for you.

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user comments


Posted by: Purple | 2012/03/09

Something that I forgot to put is that baby is now also a very efficient sucker, and though baby might have spent nearly an hour feeding as a newborn, and then down to sort of fifteen or twenty minutes as he got older, by about 9 or 10 monhts, many babies can get the same amount of milk in less than 5 minutes. So, eventhough baby might be spending a lot less time feeding, he may well be taking in the same amount of milk.

Reply to Purple
Posted by: Purple | 2012/03/09

Sometimes babies have a nursing strike or don''t want to feed because they are teething or because they have had a fright at the breast (e.g. if they bit and mom shrieked in pain). By offering the breast often and when baby is sleepy most will go back to feeding.

Also, like adults, babies have hungrier days than others.

The amount of breastmlk a breastfed baby takes per feed is between 60-120ml. This remains constant from about a month old (prior to that they take less and then build up to this). On hungry days baby feeds more often to take more in rather than taking in larger amounts at one time.

If you have baby at the breast and you are feeding solids and offering drinks of cooled boiled water wtih meals and baby is not constipated, and her eyes are sparkling and she is her usual self, then she is probably taking what she needs.

Once solids are introduced, babies do start taking less breastmilk (this is one of the dangers of starting solids too early). Yes, at this age, baby should be having protein, and lots of fresh fruit and veg (frozen is also great).

There is no harm in expressing milk to give extra to baby by adding to drier food like chicken, or to her tea (though ideally she shouldn''t be having tea yet), or giving milk that you have frozen and allowed to defrost a bit so its a slush - some babies like taking this by spoon. You can also freeze milk onto a dummy to make a " momsicle"  and let baby eat that - but its very messy. However, don''t start giving your milk by bottle, because each time you give a bottle and she is not at your breast, your milk supply adjusts downards because of the lower demand (us moms who express at work have to do a lot of feeding when we are with baby to maintain our supply) - expressing gets out approximately a fifth of what baby gets out at a feed, and baby can''t finish what is in the breast as the breast makes milk while the baby is feeding - a breast is never empty.

Don''t force the issue. Remember though that milk is the more important source of nutrients until a year, but its a gradual switch till baby is getting most of his nutrition from solids at a year - so at about 9 or 10 months baby does naturally take less milk.

Remember that you should not compare the amount of breast milk baby takes with the amounts of formula listed on tins for bottle fed babies to take - theyneed to take in significantly larger amounts of milk because the body uses it less efficiently than the breastmilk (that is part of the reason the baby takes in a consistent amount from about a month - their bodies use it more efficiently - this is also why they often stool less often from about 4 - 6 weeks, whereas before they were going 2 - 5 times a day - or as my mom described my one sister - 3 times per feed and once inbetween).

IF you are worried, you should consider phoning a la leche league leader. They are trained volunteers who give mother to mother support. I have found them to be extremely supportive and helpful with all these little issues that crop up in our breastfeeding journeys. Their web site lists local help all over the world, its a drop down menu where you choose the country and can then find your closest town and the various suburbs in the town and it lists telephone numbers for the leaders in the area.

Reply to Purple

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