How Often Should My Newborn Eat

What Should I Do To Support My Babys Feeding Schedule

HOW MUCH SHOULD MY NEWBORN EAT? Your Newbornâs Stomach Size and How Much Milk They Really Need

Newborn feeding pattern

If youâre in the thick of the first 8 weeks, take a deep breath! You and your baby are both still learning and things will get easier over time. Focus on babyâs feeding cues to let you know what to do.

Feed your newborn 6 to 10 times for formula and 8 to 12 times for breastmilk in a 24-hour period versus focusing on a specific feeding schedule. Follow your babyâs hunger and fullness cues.

Older baby feeding pattern

As baby gets older, their feeding cues may change.7 A consistent baby feeding schedule may not emerge until your baby is around 6 months old. Remember that your baby needs to eat frequently , especially throughout the first 3 months. Watch for your babyâs natural schedule, but do not force it or stick to a rigid baby feeding schedule.

Allow your babyâs cues to guide you in determining how much breast milk or formula to offer and how frequently. Itâs ok if your baby stops nursing sooner than usual or does not finish a bottle, and itâs also ok if your baby prolongs breast feeding or needs you to prepare an additional bottle.

Read more: Breastfeeding on Demand vs. on a Schedule

Find your support group

Build a strong support network. Feeding a baby is a demanding job! Having friends and family members who can support you, whether with holding the baby while you nap or tossing in a load of laundry so you donât have to, will allow you to focus on yourself and your baby.

Letâs Chat!

How Do I Know When My Baby Is Ready For Solid Food

Many healthcare providers recommend that you exclusively breastfeed your baby for the first six months of life. However, if youre not exclusively breastfeeding, your baby may be ready to start solid foods between four and six months.

Every baby develops differently, so here are signs to look for to know your baby is developmentally ready for solid food:

  • Baby can sit upright with little or no support in the high chair.
  • Baby has good head control for long periods of time.
  • Baby is hungry for more nutrition after eight to 10 breastfeeding or 32 ounces of formula.
  • Baby shows interest in what you are eating.
  • Baby readily opens mouth to accept the spoon feeding.

For children with special needs, speak with your childs healthcare provider or therapists about seating/adaptive feeding. Please speak with your healthcare provider and/or dietitian if your baby was born early.

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

  • Rooting
  • 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

Don’t Miss: How Do I Know If My Newborn Has Acid Reflux

Between Days 6 And 10 Start Settling Into A More Predictable Breastfeeding Routine

Because your baby is likely receiving more milk than she did before, you may notice a more regular pattern of nursing, sleeping and alert periods after your milk comes in. If your baby likes to suckle for comfort, you may find that she prefers to cluster feed at certain times of day, meaning shell nurse almost continuously for a few hours, rather than nursing only once every two to three hours.

By this time, your baby should be producing four or more yellowish bowel movements and six or more wet diapers every 24 hours. Consult the A.A.P.s breastfeeding guide to help ensure you and your baby are still on the right breastfeeding path. Its also important to continue to find time to rest when your baby is sleeping.

How Can I Tell If My Baby Is Full

How often should I feed my baby?

Dont worry about taking the bottle or breast away for fear of your little one getting too full. Newborn babies will stop nursing or taking a bottle during a feeding session when theyre satisfied. Some signs that your baby is full include:

  • Pulls away from breast or bottle on their own
  • Turns their head away from breast or bottle
  • Appears content after a feeding session

Also Check: How To Help Newborn Who Is Constipated

Signs Baby Is Eating Enough

When it comes to newborns, how often you should feed baby depends on how much milk your newborn wants. Keep an eye out for signs you have a hungry babylike if they wake up and start rooting, or suckling or moving their mouthpreferably before they start fussing or crying. Pay attention to babys cues even while you feed. Youll know theyre still hungry if theyre actively suckling and audibly swallowing. When baby stops suckling, relaxes their hands and has that sleepy, relaxed milk-drunk look, youll know theyve eaten enough.

Checking babys diaper can also give you a clue as to whether baby is eating enough: A wet diaper every three to four hours is a good sign. Stools can be more variable: Some babies poop every time they eat, others just once a day.

But at the end of the day, how baby is acting and growing are the most important , Trachtenberg says. By measuring babys weight gain, your pediatrician will be able to tell if your child is thriving. Babies usually gain about half an ounce to two ounces per day for the first three months, says Meryl Newman-Cedar, MD, a New York City-based pediatrician and clinical instructor of pediatrics at Weill-Cornell Medical Center. But keep in mind that the big picture is more important than any single weigh-in. In general, you want to see babys height and weight basically follow their own growth curve, she says.

Typical Portion Sizes And Daily Intake For Infants Age

0 to 4 months

  • Breast milk or infant formula Feedings per day: eight to 12.

4 to 6 months

  • Breast milk or infant formula Feedings per day: four to six.
  • Infant cereal .

6 to 8 months

  • Breast milk or infant formula Feedings per day: three to five.
  • Infant cereal .
  • Crackers bread .
  • Juice or water .
  • Fruit or vegetable .
  • Meat or beans .

8 to 12 months

  • Breast milk or infant formula Feedings per day: three to four.
  • Cheese or yogurt .
  • Infant cereal bread crackers or pasta .
  • Juice or water .
  • Fruit or vegetable .
  • Meat or beans .

While babies do not need additional water or juice for hydration, it is recommended to provide some in a cup to help with transition off the bottle, which is recommended at 12 months. If you have any questions about your babys diet and nutrition, talk to your pediatrician or a dietitian. They can help you form a healthy plan for your child.

Last reviewed by a Cleveland Clinic medical professional on 02/17/2020.


Read Also: How To Get Rid Of Jaundice In Newborns

How Often Should I Alternate Breasts

Try to offer both breasts during each feeding to sustain your milk supply. Your baby may not take the second breast if theyre full.

Some women find it helpful to alternate breasts in the middle of each feeding session, while others prefer to switch breasts at each feeding so that theyre only nursing from one for an entire session and the other during the next session.

No matter which method you choose, be sure to keep track of which breast you offered last so that youre giving both the same amount of nursing time throughout the day.

Sore Nipples

Your body is adjusting to a new life on the inside and outside: you have a new baby and a new body! During the first few days postpartum, your nipples may be a little sore from nursing. This can make breastfeeding miserable and uncomfortable. Over time, your body does eventually adjust and sore nipples become a thing of the past! But to help keep your skin comfortable while nursing especially during those first few days try our Nursing Comfort Balm, which is a soothing and restorative nipple cream. This lanolin-free balm moisturizes and protects your nipples, eases discomfort, and helps replenish and restore your skin during and after breastfeeding. Breastfeeding is now a painless pleasure!

What Guidelines Should I Follow When Feeding My Baby

How Often Should My Baby Feed?

A few simple guidelines you should follow when you are feeding your baby in the first year can include:

  • Foods to avoid include:
  • Spicy, salty and sugary foods.
  • Foods that may cause choking like nuts, seeds, popcorn, chips, pretzels, raw fruits , raw vegetables , raisins, whole grapes, hot dog pieces and sticky foods such as marshmallows.
  • Also Check: How Do I Get Medicaid For My Newborn

    Birth To The First Month

    The first month is difficult for mom and baby because you are both trying to adjust to this new life. Your newborn will be feeding what seems like all the time, and it can be hard to catch a break.

    Take Note

    You should establish on-demand feeding with your baby if you are breastfeeding because it will help maintain your supply and keep your baby in control of the intake. It is possible your baby will simply want a snack or a drink, instead of a meal.

    Is My Baby Hungry

    If your baby is hungry, he or she will try to let you know. Crying is a late sign of hunger so its a good thing your baby exhibits other signs that can help signal to you it is time for them to eat. These include:

    • Moving head from side to side.
    • Constantly opening mouth.
    • Closing mouth.
    • Turning away from breast or bottle.

    If your baby does these things once, it may be an accident or because he or she needs to burp. Try to continue the feeding once more. If any of the signs persist, then end the feeding.

    Breastfed babies will often fall asleep at the breast and it can be hard to know if you should unlatch them. In fact, each time you try to take them off the breast, they start sucking again. If your baby begins actively swallowing again after starting to suck, then he may still be hungry. Otherwise, dont feel bad taking him off the breast.

    Editor’s Note:

    Read Also: How To Make My Newborn Poop

    On Day 2 Expect Your Baby To Be Hungry And To Breastfeed Frequently

    Today, your baby is likely much more alert and hungry, and will want to nurse every two to three hours . Your baby should be content between nursing sessions.

    On day two, you will likely be discharged from the hospital. Your nurse will weigh your baby to determine how well she is feeding. Keep in mind that if she was born at term, shell lose weight in the three to four days after birth. According to Dr. Enrique Gomez-Pomar, M.D., a neonatologist at Rush Foundation Hospital in Meridian, Miss. and an assistant professor of pediatrics at the University of Kentucky, your baby can lose up to 5 percent of the birth weight on day one, up to 7.5 percent on day two and up to 10 percent on day three. If your baby is losing more than that, said Dr. Gomez-Pomar, it could be a sign that your breastfeeding technique isnt working and should be further evaluated.

    If your baby isnt latching or nursing adequately, you may need to self-express or pump your breasts for colostrum and feed it to her with a syringe, tube, cup or slow flow bottle. Your nurse or lactation consultant can teach you how. This will be necessary until your baby can breastfeed on both breasts for 10 to 15 minutes per session.

    If your nipples are painful, cracked, bruised or blistered, correct your babys latch and positioning to prevent additional damage. To speed healing, apply nipple cream or gel pads to your nipples after nursing.

    Signs Baby Is Getting Enough Food

    How Often Should I Feed My Baby? Tips for Infant Feeding Schedules

    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.

    Recommended Reading: What Are The Basic Needs For A Newborn Baby

    Dealing With Leaking Breasts

    Sometimes, breast milk may leak unexpectedly from your nipples.

    Wearing breast pads will stop your clothes becoming wet with breast milk. Remember to change them frequently to prevent an infection.

    Expressing some milk may also help. Only express enough to feel comfortable as you do not want to overstimulate your supply.

    If your baby has not fed recently, you could offer them a feed as breastfeeding is also about you being comfortable.

    How To Know If Your Baby Is Getting Enough To Eat

    You should always be mindful of your baby’s hunger cues as well as keep track of their wet and dirty diapers. These things are your best gaugealong with your baby’s well-visitsthat they are getting plenty to eat and growing appropriately.

    During your baby’s regular checkups, your pediatrician will check your baby’s weight and plot it on a growth chart. Your baby’s progress will let the doctor know whether or not your baby is getting adequate amounts of food.

    At home, your baby will show signs of being satiated. They will unlatch from the breast or bottle when they have had enough. They also will appear satisfied for 1 to 3 hours after eating.

    Another way to gauge whether your baby is getting enough is by paying attention to what’s in their diapers. A baby should have at least five to six wet diapers a day and should have at least two dirty diapers a day. Of course, their stool frequency will vary depending on whether or not they are breastfed or formula-fed.

    “Sometimes during this stage, parents will notice irritability, spitting up, mucus in the stools, or even bloody stools,” Dr. Roberts warns. “If this happens, be sure to talk to your doctor. It’s possible that your baby could have an allergy to the protein in milk.”

    Recommended Reading: Why Does Newborn Cry So Much At Night

    Related Posts

    Popular Articles