Q: Sherry asks, “Why does my four-month-old baby girl Ellie take less milk compared to the babies in her
daycare that are getting formula? I just returned back to work and have been pumping my milk and leaving twelve ounces for her to drink during the day. She is growing well and very happy, but the daycare provider is making me feel like I am starving her.”
A: First of all Sherry, what a wonderful job you are doing by pumping for your baby while you are at work. Most moms bring home between nine and twelve ounces during an eight to ten hour workday. We consider pumping an ounce an hour to be a good number to aim for when away from your baby. Formula-fed babies require a greater volume based on calorie/day calculations. Most formulas provide 20 calories per ounce; breastmilk ranges between 22-30 calories per ounce therefore requiring less volume per day. Breastmilk is also more easily digested and absorbed. This means that there is less waste and less need for larger amounts. On average breastfed babies are taking 20% less volume than formula-fed babies and are still growing perfectly. Care providers without extensive experience with breastfed babies may not understand the vast differences between breastmilk and artificial baby formula. They may be accustomed to overfeeding babies as a method of soothing when the extra feeding may not be required. You may wish to also review breastmilk storage and heating procedures with your care provider to make sure excess breastmilk is not being discarded and that heating is never done in a microwave oven. The CDC offers specific storage guidelines: www.cdc.gov/breastfeeding/recommendations/handling_breastmilk.htm.