Breastmilk Collection and Feeding Guidelines for Normal Newborns

For the most up-to-date breastmilk collection and storage guidelines, see the LaLeche League website.

Breastmilk Collection

First, wash hands well.

Wash breast pump equipment that contacts the breast, milk or collection containers in a dishwasher or by hand, in hot soapy water. Rinse with cold water and air dry on clean towel. Check with your hospital or other for any other instructions.

When to pump depends on you and your baby’s schedule. Your milk supply usually is most plentiful in the morning, so that is a good time. Try to pump midway between feedings. Be flexible. If your baby skips a feeding, nurses a shorter time than usual, or only nurses on one side, pump out the rest of the milk and save it. If you are planning to return to work and continue breastfeeding, begin pumping one to two weeks before you return. Try to simulate what your pumping schedule will be at work.

Before pumping, get comfortably seated and relaxed. Pump your breasts according to the breast pump manufacturer’s instructions.

To defrost frozen milk:

Place milk in refrigerator the night before you are going to use it. Refrigerator defrosting takes about 8 to 12 hours.

Place the frozen milk under warm running water or in a pan of warm water. Don’t use hot water, as this can destroy some of the milk’s immunological components.
Never microwave breastmilk! Microwaving breastmilk can change the milk composition, and has the potential to burn the baby.

Fat in breastmilk will separate and rise to the top. By gently swirling the container you can mix fat that may have separated.

Never refreeze thawed breastmilk.

Remember, the color, consistency and odor of your breastmilk may vary depending upon diet, or exposure to other foods in your refrigerator or freezer.

How Much Breastmilk Does My Baby Need?

How much breastmilk should you anticipate for your baby for each feeding? That depends on the individual infant, but here are some guidelines.


Age Amount Daily Total
0-2 months 2-5 oz. per feeding 26 oz.
2-4 months 4-6 oz. per feeding 30 oz.
4-6 months 5-7 oz. per feeding 31oz.


Weight Amount
8 lbs. (3,600 gr.) 21.3 oz. (639 ml) in 24 hours
9 lbs. (4,000 gr.) 24.0 oz. (720 ml) in 24 hours
10 lbs. (4,500 gr.) 26.7 oz. (801 ml) in 24 hours
11 lbs. (4,900 gr.) 29.3 oz. (879 ml) in 24 hours
12 lbs. (5,400 gr.) 32.0 oz. (960 ml) in 24 hours
14 lbs. (6,400 gr.) 37.3 oz. (1,119 ml) in 24 hours
16 lbs. (7,300 gr.) 42.7 oz. (1,280 ml)in 24 hours

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