Skip to content

Health & Baby

Font Size

How Much Should My Baby Eat?

How to tell when your baby is hungry – and when she's had enough.
WebMD Magazine - Feature
Reviewed by Laura J. Martin, MD

In every issue of WebMD Baby, we ask our experts to answer readers' questions about a wide range of topics. In our September 2011 issue, we gave WebMD's baby care expert, Hansa Bhargava, MD, a question about how parents can tell when their new babies are hungry. Here's what she said.

Q: Once my baby is born, how will I know how much food to give her?

A: Babies are very good at expressing their needs. You just have to learn the signs.

Let's start with hunger. These days, most parents feed their babies on demand, meaning when they're hungry. How will you know? Newborns signal hunger several ways, including opening and closing their mouths, sucking on their hands, "rooting" or rubbing their heads against mom's chest, and crying. If your baby tends to sleep a lot, wake her every two hours to make sure she eats.

Your baby's signals that she's had enough to eat will also be clear. She may turn her head away from the breast or bottle, fall asleep, or start crying if you keep trying to make her eat. Also, if you are nursing, your breasts will feel softer after she nurses because she's emptying them as she eats.

Most babies lose a little weight (up to 10%) in the first week but gain about 5 to 10 ounces per week through the first month. A baby getting enough to eat should have seven or eight wet diapers and one or more stools per day.

Reviewed on June 15, 2011

Baby's First Year Newsletter

Because every week matters, get expert advice and facts on what to expect in your baby's first year.

Today on WebMD

mother on phone holding baby
When you should call 911.
parents and baby
Unexpected ways your life will change.
baby acne
What’s normal – and what’s not.
baby asleep on moms shoulder
Help your baby get the sleep he needs.

mother holding baby at night
mother with sick child
Chinese mother breast feeding newborn baby girl
Track Your Babys Vaccines
Baby Napping 10 Dos And Donts
Woman holding feet up to camera
Father kissing newborn baby
baby gear slideshow