How Much Breast Milk Should a 5-Day-Old Eat?

By Karen Hellesvig-Gaskell
Breastfeeding is a
Breastfeeding is a "round-the-clock" bonding experience for mother and baby.

How much breast milk should you feed your newborn? The answer is less about the number of ounces and more about the number of feedings. A 5-day-old baby should be free to consume as much breast milk as she desires. It's your job to ensure your infant is getting the nourishment she craves and needs. Expect to nurse your newborn eight to 12 times per day during the first few weeks of life.

Feeding Schedule

A 5-day-old newborn has quite a demanding feeding schedule. A brand-new baby's tummy can handle only so much milk at a time so he'll probably take in several smaller feedings in a 24-hour period. For example, a baby who's less than one week old typically breastfeeds every two to three hours during the day and every four hours at night, notes Healthy Children, a website published by the American Academy of Pediatrics.

Crying and Other Hunger Cues

A new mother may not realize that a crying newborn isn't simply saying, "Gee, I'm hungry!" but is sending a loud and clear message that she's starving. Crying is a late sign of hunger, notes KidsHealth, a website published by the Nemours Foundation. Of course, crying can also mean your infant needs a diaper change or wants to be comforted. Sticking out her tongue, looking for or snuggling up to your breast or puckering her lips can also mean that your newborn is telling you that it's time to eat. Don't be surprised if your newborn sends you hunger cues every hour or so during the few days of life. Try to be one step ahead of your 5-day-old by feeding her before she becomes very distressed and harder to soothe.

Signs That Your Newborn's Had Enough -- Or Not

Keep your 5-day-old at your breast until he's stopped actively suckling -- a good sign that he's probably full. If your baby is wetting four to six diapers per day, has consistent bowel movements, is gaining weight, sleeps well and is attentive during the day he is likely getting enough breast milk. Failure to gain weight, fewer wet and soiled diapers and frequent fussiness could mean that your baby's not getting adequate nourishment. Talk to your doctor if you think your baby isn't getting enough breast milk.


It takes about 20 minutes for your baby to nurse from one breast in the newborn stage. Attempt to burp your newborn and then offer her your other breast, recommends Mayo Clinic. If your 5-day-old regularly seems satisfied after nursing on one breast per feeding, use a breast pump to extract milk from the second breast to ease pressure and reserve your milk. Staying on top of your 5-day-old's feeding schedule can be draining. Bear in mind that your breasts will accommodate your hectic breastfeeding schedule by producing more milk -- and breastfeeding will come more naturally with time.

About the Author

Karen Hellesvig-Gaskell is a broadcast journalist who began writing professionally in 1980. Her writing focuses on parenting and health, and has appeared in “Spirituality & Health Magazine" and “Essential Wellness.” Hellesvig-Gaskell has worked with autistic children at the Fraser School in Minneapolis and as a child care assistant for toddlers and preschoolers at the International School of Minnesota, Eden Prairie.