How Much Should My Baby Eat If Im Breastfeeding
When your baby nurses, this stimulates your breasts to produce the right amount of milk to meet his/her nutritional needs. When your baby needs more he/she nurses more, causing your body to produce more milk. Usually, babies nurse about 10-15 minutes at each breast.
One tricky part about breastfeeding is that its hard to measure exactly how much your baby is eating. If he/she seems satisfied after feeding, produces 4-5 wet and/or poopy diapers a day, sleeps well and is gaining weight regularly, you can be confident that he/she is eating enough. Another way to tell if your baby is getting enough is if your breasts feel full before nursing and noticeably less full afterward.
Heres a quick guide for how much a breastfed baby should eat:
- Most newborns eat every 2-3 hours, or 8-12 times every 24 hours. For the first 1-2 days of life might, they typically only eat ½ ounce per feeding. After that, theyll eat 1-2 ounces per feeding, increasing to 2-3 ounces by 2 weeks of age.
- At 2 months, babies usually eat 4-5 ounces every 3-4 hours.
- At 4 months,they should be eating 4-6 ounces per feeding.
- At 6 months,they should be eating 8 ounces every 4-5 hours.
Another way to gauge how much milk your baby needs is to multiply his/her weight by 2½. For example, an 8 lb. baby should be eating about 20 ounces a day.
How Much Expressed Milk Will My Baby Need
We can use this information to estimate the average amount of milk baby will need at a feeding: Estimate the number of times that baby nurses per day . Then divide 25 oz by the number of nursings. This gives you a ballpark figure for the amount of expressed milk your exclusively breastfed baby will need at one feeding.
How Much Should A Newborn Eat
If you find yourself fretting over your newborn feeding schedule, youre not alone. Questions like how much should a newborn eat? and how often should I feed baby? are some of the most common concerns among new parents. After all, baby is growing by leaps and bounds. Theyll grow more in the first year than at any other point in their life, doubling in size by the time theyre 5 months old and tripling by the end of the first yearso its important to feed baby the fuel they need to power through each stage of development. Whether you opt for breast milk or formula, heres what you need to know to make sure baby is eating enough.
In this article:Newborn feeding FAQs
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How Do I Bottle Feed My Baby
- Cuddle or hold your baby close. Your babys head should be higher than their body. Support your babys head to make it easier for them to swallow
- Let your baby decide how much they would like to drink. Do not rush them or force them to finish the bottle
- Hold the bottle so most of the nipple is in the babys mouth
- Tilt the bottle just a little, keeping it almost flat. Its easier for your baby to manage the flow of formula. Some air in the nipple will not cause a problem for your baby
- Gently burp your baby after feeding. If they have a lot of gas, burping your baby half-way through feeding may help
- Do not prop the bottle or put your baby to bed with a bottle. Your baby may drink too much or too little and it can cause choking, ear infections and tooth decay . For more information, see HealthLinkBC File #19 Dental Care for Your Infant and Toddler
- Your baby might try to hold the bottle but will not be able to feed themself until later in their first year. When your baby can feed themself, try offering the formula in a cup
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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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How Much Should Your Baby Eat
Whether youre breastfeeding, formula feeding, or combining the two, working out how much your baby should be eating at any given time is an ever-evolving challenge.
Thankfully, babies are pretty good at keeping you informed when it comes to feeding. Theyll let you know when their tummys rumbling, theyll take their fill of boob and/or bottle, and theyll stop when theyve had quite enough, thank you.
Letting your baby take the lead is a simple and natural way of approaching feeding but its also helpful to know how much they need in general as they grow and develop.
Here, we summarize the key feeding stages, share some common hunger cues, and explain how much food breast and formula-fed babies need.
How Much Breast Milk Or Formula Should I Give My Baby After Starting Solids
Breast milk or formula should make up the bulk of your babys nutrition until hes a year old. But as he starts eating more solid food, the amount of breast milk or formula he drinks will slowly taper off. Specific amounts are different for every baby, of course, but here are some basic rules of thumb:
6 months: Nurse five to six times a day for a total of 24 to 36 ounces of breast milk, or offer four to five bottles a day with 6 to 8 ounces of formula each.
7 months: Nurse five to six times a day for a total of 24 to 30 ounces of breast milk, or offer four to five bottles a day with 6 to 8 ounces of formula each.
8 months: Nurse four to six times a day for a total of 24 to 30 ounces of breast milk, or offer three to five bottles a day with 7 to 8 ounces of formula each.
9 months: Nurse four to six times a day for a total of 24 to 30 ounces of breast milk, or offer three to four bottles a day with 7 to 8 ounces of formula each.
10 months: Nurse four times a day for a total of 24 to 30 ounces of breast milk, or offer three to four bottles a day with 7 to 8 ounces of formula each.
11 months: Nurse or bottle-feed three to four times a day for a total of 24 ounces of breast milk or formula.
12 months: 24 ounces of breast milk or formula a day, edging closer to 16 ounces by your babys first birthday.
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How Much To Feed A Newborn
According to Dr. Roberts, newborns have tiny stomachs that are no bigger than a ping pong ball, so they cannot hold much milk at one time. Over time, their stomachs will stretch to accommodate larger volumes.
“Initially, an infant may take only 30ml and may quickly increase to 90ml ,” Roberts says. “This amount can be difficult to assess for breastfeeding babies, but we typically recommend 5 to 20 minutes on each breast. The variation in time depends on the mother’s milk letdown and how quickly that is occurring as well as how strong the infant’s suck is.”
Remember, human milk changes to meet a baby’s changing nutritional needs, so it may be more concentrated with fat in the beginning. For this reason, it’s important for an infant to try to nurse on each breast during every feeding session in order to consume the most amount of breast milk at each nursing session. The overall goal at this age is to consume 120kcal/kg/day to support optimal nutrition at this age, Dr. Roberts says.
“Your pediatrician can help you calculate the total ounces of breast milk or formula to support your growing baby,” she says.
How Many Ounces Do Formula
The American Academy of Pediatrics explains that after the first few days, your formula-fed newborn will drink around 2 to 3 ounces of formula with every feeding.
Theyll need to eat about every three to four hours. This is compared to a breastfed baby, who will usually eat every two to three hours.
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How To Know If Your Baby Is Getting Enough To Eat
Regardless of how your baby is fed, they will appear satiated after eating if they have gotten the proper amount of food. If they are not getting enough, their mood will be your first sign that they are still hungry.
For instance, they may cry, fuss, or suck on things after their feedings. But, use caution here, because sometimes these signs can be an indicator of something else like colic, gas, or even reflux.
Another way to tell if your baby is satisfied is to track the number of wet diapers they have in a 24-hour period. Infants greater than 1 week old should have at least six wet diapers per day and the urine should be pale yellow.
Paying attention to your baby’s weight gain also can help you determine if they have been fed enough. The average weight gain for newborns is about 4 to 7 ounces per week. If your baby is gaining less, they may not be getting enough to eat. Your pediatrician can help you determine if your child’s weight gain and growth are on track or something to be concerned about.
If you think that your baby may not be eating enough or they are not producing enough wet diapers, contact your pediatrician right away. They can determine if there is an underlying issue and help you figure out a healthy feeding plan for your baby.
The Secretory Activation Phase
This phase happens when your body switches from producing colostrum to releasing more mature milk to meet the evolving needs of your growing newborn. While the timing is different for each mom, this typically occurs in the 24 120-hour range after birth. However, it can take longer for some moms, in which case you should work with your doctor or nurse to ensure your newborn is receiving the correct amount of nutrition until your milk volume increases. Often by the end of the first week, mothers are producing about 500 mLs or 16 ½ ounces of milk per 24 hours. Also around the 1 week mark, your babys stomach will have grown to about the size of an apricot with the capability of holding around 45 60 mL or 1 ½ – 2 ounces of milk
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How Much Formula Should A Newborn Eat
One advantage to formula-feeding is parents can measure every ounce of milk baby guzzles down. But it can pose its own challenges too: While babies are blissfully free from concepts like the clean plate club, parents arent. Heres a breakdown of how much formula a newborn should eat.
Ounce for ounce, formula has the same average calories as breast milk, so the total amount that breastfed and formula-fed babies will need to eat in a day is basically the same: about two and a half times babys weight in pounds. The newborn feeding schedule for formula, however, might be a little different. Since babies tend to digest formula more slowly, theyll go longer between feedings. Baby will likely get hungry every three to four hours, eating about 2 ounces per feeding as a newborn and progressing to 4 ounces by the end of the first month. Expect to add about an ounce per month until baby is eating 6 to 8 ounces of formula at a time, which usually happens when baby is 6 months of age. In general, 32 ounces of formula a day is the most baby will ever need.
When To Stop Feeding Baby
Newborns usually wont keep eating if theyre full, so its important not to force the breast or bottle if theyre showing you signs that theyre done eating. Signs include closing their mouth and letting go or turning their head away from the breast or bottle. Suckling will slow down with a looser latch and longer pauses. Theyll appear relaxed, content and might even have floppy arms, open palms, and a loosey-goosey body. They might even fall asleep when theyre full which is basically what most grown-ups wish they could do.
If you overfeed your baby, they may swallow more air, which might lead to a gassy and upset belly. An overfed baby may also spit up more than usual and have loose poop .
Your pediatrician or lactation specialist will be able to guide you through breastfeeding your newborn, so dont hesitate to reach out if you need help.
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How To Tell Your Baby Is Hungry
Learning your babys hunger cues is a crucial step towards making sure theyre well-fed. Beyond crying their little heart out, here are a few common signs that your little persons ready for their next meal:
- Sucking on their fingers and hands
- Sucking on their tongue
- Nuzzling against your chest or breasts
- Smacking their lips
- Turning their head and opening their mouth when you stroke their cheek
How Much Milk Should Baby Drink
Most healthy formula-fed newborns take 2 or 3 ounces of formula per feeding, and eat every 3 or 4 hours. By one month of age, most have increased on their own to about 4 ounces every 4 hours. By six months, the amount at each feeding has increased to 6 or 8 ounces, but the frequency has dropped to 4 or 5 times a day.
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Is My Baby Getting Enough Breast Milk
You will know your baby is getting enough breast milk if:Your newborn has frequent bowel movements.
- Typically, the stools are loose and change from black to brown to mustard-yellow in color in the first five days.
- Breastfed babies vary in stool patterns, but by their third day of life, they will usually have at least 2 to 3 stools in a 24 hour period. At five days old, most breastfed babies have at least four yellow, seedy stools per day. Older babies vary. Some have a bowel movement every day, while other babies have bowel movements every few days.
- There are also wet diaper patterns:
- Day 1 = one wet diaper
- Day 2 = 2 wet diapers
- Day 3 = 3 wet diapers, and so on
- Day 6 and older = 6 to 8 wet diapers in a 24-hour period.
- Your baby’s urine is pale in color.
- You can hear your baby swallowing the milk.
- Your baby is calm and relaxed after eating.
- Your baby is gaining weight. Many babies may lose up to 7 to 10 percent of their birth weight during their first days of life. Babies are born with fat reserves and usually regain the weight by two weeks of age. Frequent around-the-clock feedings will help prevent a major drop in weight.
- Your breasts feel softer after feeding.
Many breastfeeding mothers find that keeping a diary can be very helpful in determining if their baby is getting enough milk.