Feeding Baby Breast Milk in a Bottle: How Many Ounces?

Baby FeedingI would love to exclusively breastfeed my baby until he or she self-weans. However, because I will most likely need to return to work either full-time or part-time after my FMLA leave is over, I will most likely end up pumping breast milk to feed my baby. I still want to continue breastfeeding for as long as possible, though, so what is this pro-breastfeeding mama-to-be to do?

While perusing an online message board this evening, I think that have stumbled across the answer to my problem. In “The ‘One Ounce per Hour’ Rule of Bottle Feeding during Mom/Baby Separation” on Custom-Made Milk, the blogger talks about the one ounce per hour rule for feeding a baby breast milk from a bottle. According to the rule, the mother should provide only an ounce of breast milk for each hour that she plans to be away from her baby.

One ounce per hour may seem like a small amount to feed a baby. However, as the post points out, one ounce is enough to keep a baby from starving as well as from feeling hungry. The baby will not feel stuffed, but he or she will be satiated enough to wait for more breast milk until the mother comes in.

The ultimate goal of the one ounce per hour rule is to prolong breastfeeding, not just prolong drinking breast milk. First, by pumping only one ounce for each hour she plans to be away, the mom is not forced to try to pump more milk than her body can produce in a single sitting. Less frustration with pumping means Mom is more likely to continue pumping for longer. Second, by only satiating the hunger while preventing gorging, feeding only an ounce of breast milk per hour in a bottle teaches Baby that bottles a low-supply and Mom is high-supply. The baby will take the bottle to relieve his or her hunger and will continue to prefer to feed at the breast the rest of the time.

The logic of the one ounce per hour rule makes perfect sense to me. Because I will most likely have to stop exclusively breastfeeding when I return to work, I was extremely worried about cutting my breastfeeding duration short. However, now that I know pumping only an ounce per hour that I plan to be away, the thought of leaving my baby for short periods of time seems less daunting. So, come my time to return to work in the spring, I will be pumping only an ounce of breast milk per hour that I must be away from Poppy. No more, no less. One ounce per hour.


The “one ounce per hour” rule of bottle feeding during mom/baby separation: http://custommademilk.wordpress.com/2010/01/08/the-one-ounce-per-hour-rule-of-bottle-feeding-during-mombaby-separation/

Image Credits

Baby Feeding: http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Bottle-feeding.jpg

Heather Johnson

Heather Johnson is a mother, wife, writer, librarian, and linguist. She earned a BA in English studies with a minor in creative writing from Illinois State University in May 2007, an MS in library and information science from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign in May 2009, and an MS in English studies with an emphasis in linguistics at Illinois State University in December 2011.

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