How Many Ounces Should A Newborn Eat
If youre exclusively breastfeeding, you wont be measuring your babys ounces for feedings. Instead, youll simply be feeding your baby on demand, or whenever they want to eat.
In general, for the first months of life, a newborn will eat around every two to three hours, but this will vary. The feeding timeline starts from the time your baby starts breastfeeding.
For example, in the first few weeks, if your baby starts eating at 2 p.m. and nurses for 40 minutes, they may be ready to eat again at 4 p.m. Hello, human milk bar!
Sometimes your baby may nurse more or less frequently. Your baby may want to nurse more if theyre sick. Nursing is a comfort mechanism and immune booster. They may want to eat more if theyre going through a growth spurt and need some extra calories.
Your baby will signal to you when they are full by pushing away or by stopping latching on their own, until they are ready again. And if youre exclusively pumping, follow self-care practices to help keep your milk supply up and watch your babys cues for how much to feed them.
Baby Feeding Goals For 3
When your baby was a newborn, the American Academy of Pediatrics recommended calculating your baby’s daily nutritional needs based on their weightor giving your baby 2.5 ounces of formula or expressed breast milk for every pound that they weigh. They also advised responding to your baby’s hunger and fullness cues along the way.
Now that your baby is a little older, Dr. Roberts indicates that you don’t have to do those calculations any longer unless your baby is not gaining weight or is underweight. At this stage, your goal is to ensure that your baby is eating regularly and consuming the recommended amount of formula or breast milk.
“Babies also may start to space their feedings out a little longer than the newborn stage because they are more efficient at eating and can take more breast milk or formula at a time,” Dr. Roberts says. “On average, they will eat every 3 to 4 hours. However, breastfed infants may need to eat more frequently at the beginning of this stage because breast milk is digested more quickly than formula.”
At first, you may worry about the missed nighttime feedings especially after getting used to feeding your baby around the clock. But you probably have nothing to worry about if your infant sleeps 5 to 6 hours at night. It’s also unlikely that you will need to wake them to feed. Unless there is a medical reason why they need to eat at night, it is generally OK to let them sleep.
|How Much a Baby 3 to 6 Months Need Per Feeding|
Topics Covered For Formula Feeding
If your baby is healthy, skip the “What to Do” section. Go directly to the topic number that relates to your question for advice:
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How Often Do Newborns Eat
Every baby is different, so how often you feed your newborn depends on their needs. During the first few days, your baby may want to eat every one to three hours. This may seem like a lot, and it is especially when all you want to do is sleep for longer than two hours at a time. But its necessary to give them the nutrition their tiny bodies need, and it also gives them practice sucking and swallowing the milk. Plus, frequent feedings help increase your milk supply.
Over the first few weeks and months, the time between feedings will get longer typically your baby will want to eat every two to four hours. Some babies may go through spurts of cluster feedings, where they eat as often as every hour to ensure their bellies are full, and some may sleep longer and only eat every four to five hours. Babies typically eat what they want and stop when theyre done.
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What If Im Struggling Or Worried About The Number Of Feeds
We know from the experiences of new mums that breastfeeding responsively can be emotionally and physically challenging for different reasons .
A baby that breastfeeds frequently can give parents a sense of reassurance but it can also cause worry. Sometimes, a baby feeding frequently can be seen as a sign that mum has insufficient milk or that baby isnt getting enough breastmilk during feeds. This sometimes leads to women supplementing feeds with formula milk or deciding to stop breastfeeding .
Try and keep in mind that a newborn’s stomach is really small. They need to feed little and often . Its really common for babies to have a good feed and then be hungry again quite quickly. This doesnt mean something is wrong or that theyre not getting enough milk. Its just the way newborn babies feed .
Your baby knows your voice, your smell and your taste but they are much less familiar with the world outside your womb. Staying close to you gives them a vital sense of safety and reassurance. This builds their confidence that they are loved and cared for .
All of this also means that newborn feeding is frequent. In fact, much of the time, its not really a question of clearly-defined feeds which begin and end at a clear point .
If youre worried, it can really help to talk through your concerns with a breastfeeding counsellor. So call our Infant Feeding Support line on 0300 330 0700.
Read Also: How Much Does A Newborn Drink Per Feed
How Will I Know If My Formula
After a while, you’ll get to know the signs that show your baby is ready to feed:
- your baby will start to get restless
- they’ll begin to turn their head and open their mouth
- they’ll find something to suck usually their fist or fingers
Try to feed your baby before they cry, as this is a late sign of hunger.
Baby Milk Intake Charts: Feeding Guide By Age
By Me & Qi
Are you wondering how much to feed your baby? The amount that a baby needs to eat is not an exact science. For instance a baby that was born early will need less food than a latecomer 12lb baby! In general, you know you’re doing well if your baby stays on their weight growth curve.
That being said, the trend is the same for all babies. They start their life by eating a little milk each time but doing so very often, as often as every 2 hours. As they grow up, their tummies grow up too so they can eat more milk during each feeding. Because of this, and also because they become better at sleeping, they eat less often.
Let us take you through what you should expect a baby to eat based on their age.
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How Much To Feed Newborn
Your babys milk needs should roughly increase by about 1 ounce per feeding per month until they reach a maximum of 7 to 8 ounces per feeding. In 24 hours, your baby should not be drinking more than 32 ounces . If you notice your babys average feeding needs falling under or over this rough estimated amount, please talk to your pediatrician.
References: The Newborn Feeding Schedule
Nutrition during lactation is an excellent resource for parents who want detailed information about the newborn feeding schedule and other breastfeeding issues. It is available online. For more information regarding the newborn feeding schedule, see these publications :
American Academy of Pediatrics. 1997. Breastfeeding and the Use of Human Milk. Pediatrics 100 : 1035-1039.
Casiday RE, Wright Cm, Panter-Brick C, and Parkinson KN. 2004. Do early infant feeding patterns relate to breast-feeding continuation and weight gain? Data from a longitudinal cohort study. European Journal of Clinical Nutrition 58: 1290-1296.
Casey CE, M.R. Neifert MR, Seacat JM, and Neville MC. 1986. Nutrient intake by breastfed infants during the first five days after birth. Am. J. Dis. Child. 140:933-936.
de Carvalho M., Robertson S, Merkatz R, and Klaus M. 1982. Milk intake and frequency of feeding in breastfed infants. Early Hum. Dev. 7:155-163.
Dewey KG, Nommsen-Rivers LA, Heinig MJ, and Cohen RJ. 2003. Risk Factors for Suboptimal Infant Breastfeeding Behavior, Delayed Onset of Lactation, and Excess Neonatal Weight Loss. Pediatrics 112: 607-619.
Fildes VA. Breasts, bottles and babies. 1986. Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press.
Freeman V, vant Hof M, and Haschke F. 2000. Patterns of milk and food intake in infants from birth to age 36 months: the Euro-growth study. J Pediatr Gastroenterol Nutr. 31 Suppl 1:S76-85.
Content of The newborn feeding schedule last modified 9/2017
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Signs Baby Is Getting Enough Food
Though its always important to monitor babys weight gain during those first few months of life, the following signs are good day-to-day indicators that baby is indeed getting enough to eat:
- Mood: Baby is content and seems satisfied after feedings
- Energy levels: Baby is alert during awake periods
- Diaper output: Baby wets at least five to six diapers a day after your milk comes in. Check out this handy chart for more info:
If your baby is lethargic, refusing to eat, not putting out wet/dirty diapers, call your pediatrician right away for guidance.
Summing Up: Recommendations For A Flexible Infant
Although feeding practices vary worldwide, the international medical establishment is in general agreement. These recommendations are endorsed by the World Health Organization , La Leche League, and the American Academy of Pediatrics :
Reject an adult-imposed newborn feeding schedule that denies your baby frequent opportunities to feed
As noted above, newborns flourish when they are fed approximately 8-12 times a day.
Feed when baby when he or she shows early signs of hunger
Each newborn is different. Some may feel hungry every 30 minutes. Others may be fine with much longer intervals between feedings. Be sensitive to your babys hunger cues . These include
- Hand-sucking and hand-to-mouth movements
- Increased alertness or restlessness
Dont wait for your newborn to cry. Crying is a late sign of hunger, and once a newborn begins crying it may take time for him to settle down and feed.
Dont restrict time at the breast
This may prevent your baby from taking in enough calories. If youre breastfeeding, a strictly-timed newborn feeding schedule may also deprive your baby of high-fat hind milk. Read more opens in a new windowhere.
Dont try to encourage a baby to finish a bottle
As noted above, that may simply teach your baby bad habits. If your baby rejects the bottle three times in a row, thats a sign that you should stop trying to feed .
Sleep or feed?
Watch the diaper count
Watch your babys weight
Guide For Formula Feeding
- When breast milk is not available, standard infant formula is an appropriate alternative for most healthy full term infants, but there are some differences between brands. Do not hesitate to ask your health care provider for a recommendation if you are unsure which formula to use.
- Bottle-feeding should be interactive, with the caregiver holding both the bottle and the infant. Propping a bottle has been linked to an increased risk of ear infections and tooth decay.
- Formula feeding should be in response to the infants needs and not based on a predetermined schedule. Look for cues of hunger and fullness to determine both when to feed and how much. The number of wet diapers per day and your childs growth will reflect if he or she is getting enough formula. The chart below demonstrates common intakes for infants at various stages. However, ask your health care provider if you have any questions about how much formula your infant is taking.
- The amount of formula an infant takes will decrease as the baby increases intake of solid foods, but formula remains a significant source of calories, protein, calcium and vitamin D for the first year of life.
- Ask your health care provider before switching an infant less than 1 year of age from formula to cows milk or a cows milk alternative.
How Do I Know If My Baby Is Getting Enough Formula
Your baby’s weight gain and the number of wet and dirty nappies will tell you whether your baby is getting enough formula.
Your baby should have around 6 wet nappies a day from a few days after the birth. Nappies should be soaked through with clear or pale yellow urine, or feel heavy.
For the first few days after birth, your baby will pass a dark, sticky substance known as meconium. After the first week your baby should start to pass pale yellow or yellowish brown poo.
Your baby will usually be weighed at birth and again at around 5 and 10 days. After that healthy babies only need to be weighed once a month up to 6 months of age.
This information should be entered on a chart in your Personal Child Health Record or “red book”.
If you have any questions or concerns about your baby’s weight gain, speak to a midwife or health visitor.
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How Much Should My Breastfed Baby Eat
Breastfed babies should eat as often and as long as they want, according to the American Academy of Pediatrics . Most newborns nurse every two to three hours, counting from the beginning of each nursing session. That adds up to around eight to 12 feedings a day.
But you should let your baby guide you instead of the clock, so offer your breast whenever he shows signs of hunger. If your baby seems very sleepy, you should wake him to make sure he gets at least eight feedings within 24 hours.
As for how much he should drink during each nursing session? Again, theres no right or wrong answer. But you can generally expect your newborn to nurse for 20 to 30 minutes per feeding.
Its time to end the session when your baby lets go of the nipple, or when his sucking pattern slows down to four sucks per swallow.
Another thing to keep in mind: Its totally normal for your little one to occasionally want to nurse nonstop. Called cluster feeds, these bursts of hunger tend to coincide with growth spurts. It can feel like all youre doing is nursing, but just follow your babys lead and know itll probably only last for a day or two.