Is My New Baby Eating Enough?

No matter how prepared you think you are, you’ll still have questions once your newborn arrives. One of the most common worries new parents have? Whether their little one is eating enough.

Every baby has their own needs, but there are some basic guidelines to keep in mind when it’s time for a feeding.

How Much Do Babies Eat?

Newborn to 2 months: During their first month, babies need to eat 8-12 times each day. That’s about once every 2-3 hours. Some who are breastfeeding, though, can eat every 1.5 hours, and up to 15 times a day. If your baby isn’t waking up on his own for a feeding during the first few weeks, you should get him up to eat on schedule.

If you’re breastfeeding, your little one will spend about 10 to 20 minutes on your breast. Some may nurse for longer, but make sure he’s actually sucking and swallowing the whole time.

Giving formula? Plan on your baby drinking 1.5 to 3 ounces at each feeding.

After about a month, he’ll start eating at least 4 ounces at each feeding. As breastfed babies get the hang of nursing, they’ll get more milk from you, too. You may not notice, though, since they’ll do it in less time.

Whether you’re nursing or bottle feeding, as your baby keeps growing, so will his appetite.

At 2 months, he may drink 4-5 ounces at each feeding, 3-4 hours apart.

At 4 months, he may need up to 6 ounces every time. The pediatrician also may encourage you to start to introduce solid foods.

By 6 months, some babies drink as much as 8 ounces of breastmilk or formula even as they go longer between feedings.

Remember: The exact amount your little one drinks will vary from day to day. For instance, he may want to eat more than normal when he’s going through a growth spurt. Trust your baby to know how much food he needs.

You can watch for a few signs that he’s full:

  • He pulls away from your breast or his bottle
  • He falls asleep during a feeding
  • He shakes his head or keeps his mouth closed

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Signs That Your Baby Is Eating Enough

When he’s getting the right amount of food, you’ll see:

Plenty of wet diapers. The first few days after birth, he may only wet one or two diapers each day. After that, he should need six to eight cloth (five or six disposable) diaper changes every 24 hours, plus have two to five poopy ones each day.

Steady weight gain. After the first 2 weeks, your baby should gain about 4-7 ounces per week until his sixth month, and 3-5 ounces from 6 to 18 months.

Your baby is active and happy. A child that’s eating well will look alert and be active. He’ll also seem content between feedings.

Signs That Your Baby Isn’t Eating Enough

Reasons to call your doctor include:

  • Dark pee or orange crystals in his diaper
  • He would rather sleep than eat
  • He won’t latch onto your breast or pulls away from you
  • He’s fussy right after feedings

As a new parent, it’s key to learn to trust your instincts. If have any concerns that your baby isn’t eating as much as he should, check in with his doctor.

WebMD Medical Reference Reviewed by Renee A. Alli, MD on June 26, 2017

Sources

SOURCES:

La Leche League International: “How can I tell if my baby is getting enough milk?”

Mayo Clinic: “Feeding your newborn: Tips for new parents,” “Infant and toddler health.”

HealthyChildren.org: “Amount and Schedule of Formula Feedings.”

KidsHealth from Nemours: “Formula Feeding FAQs: How Much and How Often.”

Cleveland Clinic: “Feeding Your Baby: The First Year.”

Bright Futures/AAP: “Nutrition Supervision.”

American Academy of Pediatrics: “Breastfeeding Initiatives: FAQs.”

© 2017 WebMD, LLC. All rights reserved.

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