Rockville Lactation

Lynnette Hafken, MA, IBCLC

Lactation Consultant

text (fastest response) or call: (240) 888-2123

email: [email protected]

se habla español

Too tired to process information? Here is a quick and simple guide

Essentials for a Good Breastfeeding Experience

Basic Principles of Breastfeeding:

How Much Milk Does My Baby Need?

Important note: these numbers are average feeding amounts. Always follow your baby’s hunger and fullness cues. Babies’ needs vary, for example if they require more hydration on a hot day, and their calorie needs will increase as they grow older and more physically active.

Average Amount of Milk 

Per Feeding

(more is fine)

Day One: 0.5 oz (15 ml)

Day Two: 0.5–1 oz (15–30 ml)

Day Three: 1–1.5 oz (30–45 ml)

Day Four: 1.5–2 oz (45–60 ml)

Day Five to Six Months:

Infant Milk Calculator




Thanks to Aaron Professorval for developing this tool.

Supplementing Tips

Sometimes breastfed babies need extra milk. Here’s how to provide it while supporting your ongoing breastfeeding journey. If you are primarily feeding formula or pumped breastmilk but want to get baby to breast, click here.

Maximizing Milk Supply

Full breasts make milk more slowly; empty breasts make milk faster. In other words, the more you take out the more you make!

Breast massage/compression while nursing

First few days:

Maximizing Milk Production by Stanford Newborn Nursery

Pumping Hacks

Realistic Triple Feeding for moms who need sleep

Relactation (re-starting breastfeeding after stopping)

Sore Nipples

"Is it true that if it hurts, I'm doing it wrong?"

Not necessarily. Eighty to 90% of mothers report experiencing nipple pain.

That said, there is a lot you can do to improve your comfort, and usually sore nipples resolve within the first few weeks. If it is intolerable (you are dreading feedings), it's fine to pump and bottle-feed until you can get help.

Please review positioning and latching, since most sore nipples stem from problems with those.

Note: always be gentle when handling your breasts! Vigorous massage may injure delicate breast tissue and result in swelling, making problems worse.

When Everything Goes Wrong…

You missed the “golden hour,” your baby wouldn’t latch in the hospital, they went to NICU and got bottles…is breastfeeding ruined before you even started? 

Absolutely not! 

First of all, milk usually comes in full blast regardless of what you do in the first few days, because it’s part of a hormonal cascade triggered by the placenta detaching. Second, there are many ways to successfully breastfeed. A great breastfeeding relationship with your baby is still possible, providing you and your baby want to breastfeed and you are working towards success. 

(Note: this does not mean you didn't try hard enough if it just isn't working. Only you can say whether it is best to persevere or call it a day. The most important thing is that you and your baby are both thriving. Feelings of grief are normal and will lessen over time. If you're experiencing persistent sadness, speak to a mental health professional; breastfeeding problems can result in postpartum depression.)

Non-Latching ​Baby

Engorgement, Clogged Ducts, Mastitis, and More

Note: Mastitis (breast inflammation or infection) is characterized by fever, flu-like symptoms, reddened, purple or discolored skin, and/or hardened area(s) in the breast. It requires immediate medical assessment; call your OB or midwife or go to the emergency room.

Engorgement, clogged ducts, mastitis, and oversupply have common causes and/or solutions, so will be discussed on one page. 

Block feeding for oversupply

Note: always be gentle when massaging breasts! Vigorous massage may injure delicate breast tissue and result in swelling, making problems worse.

Breastfeeding Your Own Way

There are many ways to successfully breastfeed. Some mothers exclusively pump and bottle-feed their milk. Many mothers combination feed in a variety of ways, such as one bottle of formula at night, supplementing as needed, and nursing with a “microsupply” (or as I prefer to call it, producing “medicinal amounts of milk.” “Dry nursing” is also a thing; you can nurse the baby for comfort and provide formula for nutrition (or breastfeeding for nutrition in the case of both parents wanting to breast/chest-feed but only one is lactating). 

You define success for your own breastfeeding experience with your baby. My definition of success is that both mother and baby are enjoying whatever amount of breastfeeding or milk production they are doing.

Here is information about combination feeding, and read about how many pumping sessions per day you will need as an exclusive pumper. 

Early (35–38 wks) and Small (<6 lb) Babies

These babies have special needs for breastfeeding. See more here.

Ingredients in Baby Formula

Click here for an explanation of what goes into infant formula and why the American Academy of Pediatrics states it can provide “excellent nutrition” for babies who are not breastfeeding.* 

*I believe they say “can” rather than “does” to avoid liability for any formula that may come to market without including every essential nutrient; this happens occasionally, and the FDA can take a little while to recall it (for example). (Note that the formula company mentioned in the link has fixed the issue and is now compliant with FDA standards.)

Outside Resources

Photo by Al van Akker via Flikr