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.
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
Baby Feeding Goals For 0
The American Academy of Pediatrics indicates that on average, a baby this age will consume about 2.5 ounces of formula a day for every pound of their body weight while breastfed babies might consume about 2 to 2.5 ounces of expressed milk for every pound of their body weight. Additionally, your baby will likely eat 8 to 10 times in a 24-hour period.
As they get older both breastfed and formula-fed babies are typically satisfied with about 2 to 4 ounces of formula or expressed breast milk per feeding. Watch for your baby’s hunger cues and work with your pediatrician to determine the total number of ounces in a day’s time your baby should be eating. Here are some recommendations based on the AAP guidelines.
|How Much an Infant 0-3 Months Needs Per Day|
You also can estimate how much milk your baby needs based on their age.
- Newborns: 2 to 3 ounces per formula feeding or expressed breast milk per feeding
- 1 month old: 3 to 4 ounces per formula feeding or 2 to 4 ounces of expressed breast milk per feeding
- 2 months old: 4 to 5 ounces per formula feeding or 3 to 4 ounces of expressed breast milk per feeding
- 3 months old: 4 to 5 ounces per formula feeding or 3 to 4 ounces of expressed breast milk per feeding
According to Dr. Roberts, the important thing to remember is that every child is different. The numbers in the above charts are meant only as guidelines.
Recommended Reading: How Much To Feed Newborn
Choosing The Best Formula For Your Baby
When you first walk into a shop or pharmacy that sells formula, you might find the range of boxes and packets on display a bit bewildering at first, with so many different brands and types of infant formula on offer.
Donât let this confuse you though: Just check the label carefully and keep in mind that newborns need what is known as âfirst infant formulaâ until at least 6 months of age, unless your doctor or midwife advises otherwise.
Experts also advise sticking to this type of formula until your baby is at least around 1 year old, when you can start giving your baby cowâs milk to drink.
What About Starting Solids
When a baby is still hungry after 32 ounces or nursing 8-10 times, it may be time to start solid foods. Typically, this occurs sometime between 4 to 6 months of age.
There are several other indicators that your baby is ready to start solid foods. First, note that the American Academy of Pediatrics recommends breastfeeding as the sole source of nutrition for your baby for about 6 months. In addition, they advise that most babies are ready to start solid foods when they reach the following milestones:
- They can sit in a high chair or feeding chair and hold their head upright.
- They can open their mouths as food comes their way.
- They can move food from their mouth to their throat.
- They are approximately double their birth weight and over 13 pounds.
Itâs usually best to start with solids once or twice a day, and to finish each meal with nursing or a bottle. Some babies prefer a little formula first to take the edge off their hunger. Babies can have as much of the solids as they want. In reality, the number of calories they are getting from solids at this age is very minimal therefore it is still important to keep their schedule of milk feedings.
Also Check: How To Safely Co Sleep Newborn
How Do I Know When To Feed My Baby
When your baby is hungry they may give you little signals, known as early feeding cues . They might:
suck their fist or fingers
make murmuring sounds
turn their head and open their mouth .
Looking out for and responding to these cues is important. It can help prevent your baby from becoming upset and frustrated, which will make it more difficult to feed them . Here’s what you might see…
How To Calculate Formula Needs
In addition to looking for cues to when your baby is hungry and when they’ve had enough, you can use different techniques to estimate the amount of formula to prepare. But again, from one day to the next, your baby may want more or less at any feeding. So watching for hunger/fullness cues is important.
Read Also: Why Do Newborns Fight Sleep
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.
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.
Read Also: How To Tell If A Newborn Is Deaf
How Much Should A Baby Eat In Months 6
- The intestinal lining is still maturing solid foods too soon can cause inflammation and increase risk of allergic reactions due to the inflammatory response
- Breast milk helps to keep the pH of the gut balanced for healthy microbial/probiotic growth, which in turn, helps with digestion and immune health
- Replacing feedings with solid foods or displacing with water can affect caloric intake, as well as milk supply in the mother.
- Not waiting too long is important, too. Food before one is just for fun, is actually not true. Introducing slowly is a functional felement to tongue control, which also is connected to speech. Also, this is important for the baby’s weight gain!
How Much Breastmilk Does A Newborn Need
Newborns will generally feed for between 20 and 30 minutes at a time every two to three hours. This adds up to 8-12 feedings a day.
Bear in mind that there will be days where your baby feeds almost non-stop. These cluster feeds tend to coincide with growth spurts, and things usually revert back to a more predictable pattern after a day or so.
Its best to not let newborns snooze through a feed . Aim for at least 8 feeds a day, even if that means disturbing their beauty rest.
Recommended Reading: How Hot Should Newborn Bath Be
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.
How Much Should A Newborn Eat Who Is Breastfeeding
If your newborn is exclusively breastfeeding, then perhaps the best question to ask is how often.
Breastfeeding babies need to eat often and they usually do!
It is not recommended that breastfeeding infants ever be placed on a feeding schedule. Why? Because it just doesnt work that way!
If you try to get your breastfeeding baby to feed on your terms, you will be setting yourself up for a very frustrating experience.
Not only that, but your baby may not be getting the calories or nourishment that he needs!
Instead, it is highly recommended that breastfed babies be always fed on-demand.
Read Also: How To Get A Ssn For Newborn
How Much Should A Newborn Eat Who Is Breastfeeding Vs Formula
That is the big question here. Depending on your infant feeding choice, it varies.
It is much easier to keep track of a formula-fed babys milk volumes.
But, if you are breastfeeding, you have no way of tracking the volume intake of the feeding.
Sometimes this can really be difficult for new moms!
It is quite common for a breastfeeding mother to worry if her baby is getting enough to eat.
This is especially true when you have a fussy feeder!
Many new moms assume that because their infant is fussy at the breast, that they are not making enough milk.
Relax! This is usually NOT the case!
In this post, I am about to demystify this for you and provide exclusively breastfeeding mothers some tips for knowing if your baby is getting enough to eat!
When Should You Start Feeding Your Newborn Baby
Newborns especially are most alert an hour or two after birth, which is why its important to start breastfeeding as soon as possible. If you miss that very active stage, your baby may be sleepier later, which makes it harder to practice latching on for that first initial feeding.
If your babys not showing signs of wanting to latch, you should continue to offer your baby the breast every two to three hours. It can take a lot of practice, so its important to be patient as your baby is figuring out the best way to latch.
Write down the feeding times and number of wet and dirty diapers your baby has had while youre in the hospital. Your nurse and doctor will be able to help you determine if your baby needs some additional encouragement to nurse or supplement.
Also Check: How Much Milk Is A Newborn Supposed To Drink
Should I Wake Baby For Feedings
In the first few weeks of your newborns life, it is possible your baby will snooze right through a feeding.
It is essential a baby receives all necessary feedings because the tummy is so small and can empty relatively quickly.
If you are breastfeeding and your baby sleeps for more than 3 hours, it is important you wake your baby up for you to maintain your milk supply. A formula-fed baby can sleep for about 4 hours, but then should be awakened to feed .
You should wake your baby during the first few weeks of life, but eventually, it is a good thing to let your baby go for longer periods without feeding.
It may seem impossible, but your baby will eventually make the transition to sleeping through the night without food. In the meantime, your newborn needs all the nutrients he or she can get!
Some advise that once your baby has reached birth weight , you no longer need to wake baby if he sleeps through a feeding. If your baby is consistently sleeping through feedings, you should ask your doctors opinion on waking your baby up.
Each baby is different and it is best to be on the safe side and seek the advice of your doctor.
How Much Formula Does Your Baby Need
Your newborn baby only needs small amounts of formula in the first few days â after all, his or her tummy is still very small, but itâs growing all the time.
Just to give you an idea how small your newbornâs stomach is, and how fast it grows:
On day one itâs about the size of a cherry and holds around 5-7 millilitres
On day three itâs the size of a walnut, with room for 22-27 millilitres of formula or breastmilk
After one week itâs grown to the size of an apricot and can hold about 45-60 millilitres at a time
After one month your babyâs stomach is about the size of a large egg, with a capacity of 80-150 millilitres.
From after the first week until around 6 months old , your little one may need around 150 to 200 millilitres of formula milk a day for every kilogram of body weight.
So, for example, a 1-month-old baby weighing around 4 kilograms might need between around 600 and 800 millilitres of formula a day, spread over several feeds. Here are some more examples of how much formula your baby may need per day based on different bodyweights:
|Approximate Quantities of Formula Depending on Body Weight|
All babies are different, and so are their appetites! In practice, though, once your child settles into a feeding pattern and you get to know his or her feeding cues, youâll probably find it natural to increase the quantity of formula gradually in response to demand.
Read Also: What Are The Signs Of Colic In Newborns