How Much Should A Newborn Eat – First-time parents often wonder, “How much should a newborn eat?” especially during the first few weeks of their newborn’s life. It is difficult to determine exactly how much nutrition your newborn baby is receiving, but there are basic guidelines to help.

How Much Should A Newborn Eat
How Much Breastmilk Should A Newborn Eat
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How Much Should a Newborn Eat
How Much Should An Infant Eat?

How much should a newborn eat? Talking to a certified lactation consultant after giving birth provides some information on how much newborn babies require for adequate feeding and weight gain. For newborns, feeding occurs several times a day depending on the demand of your baby. This means to pay attention to your baby’s feeding cues in order to learn when to offer your nipple. Breastfeeding is a self-sufficient feeding system; once your baby starts to suckle, your breast is stimulated to produce the right amount of milk for your baby’s needs. Proper breastfeeding or formula feeding will cause gain weight in no time.

Here is a guideline on how much milk breastfed babies consume. At the start, your baby will be consuming around 2 to 3 ounces of breastmilk during each feeding and working their way to 4 ounces by the end of the month. You will be feeding your baby 8 to 12 times a day, so you will need to ready your breast and yourself for feeding sessions. Your baby’s weight will increase in just a few weeks’ time. Once a baby’s stomach grows bigger, the time between feedings will increase, but expect that the demand for breastmilk to also increase as they enter their growth spurt stage [1].

How Much Should A Newborn Eat
How Much Breastmilk Should A Newborn Eat

How Much Does A Newborn Eat
How Much Does A Newborn Eat?

How much does a newborn eat? During the first few weeks, newborns eat, poop and sleep. Wet and soiled diapers will come and go every day. Breastfed babies often have more bowel movements than babies who drink formula because breast milk contains immunoglobins [2].

First-time mothers may be worried that their newborns are not eating much during the first 24 hours, but this is perfectly normal as babies are still recovering from the process of birth. During the first two to three days, a mother’s breast is producing colostrum, a super concentrated food that has plenty of calories and nutrients. This food is plenty for your newborn to consume in small amounts during feeding time.

Mothers who plan on breastfeeding should exclusively breastfeed their babies during the first 24 hours as this is the time when mothers and children learn how to nurse correctly. Talk to a lactation consultant while you are still in the hospital to learn how to nurse your baby and to answer the question, “How much does a newborn eat?” It is hard to determine how much milk per day your baby is consuming during each feeding, but the average number of hours between each feeding is around two to three hours [3].

How Much Should A Newborn Eat
How Much Breastmilk Should A Newborn Eat
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How Much Formula Should A Newborn Eatwww
How Much Formula Should A Newborn Eat?

Parents have every right to determine whether they are going to feed their baby formula or breast milk. As breast milk is self-regulatory, parents must wonder, “How much formula should a newborn eat?” The consensus is to feed your baby when they appear to be hungry or are asking for a feeding. Formula-fed babies need to feed every two to three hours. As your baby’s tummy grows bigger, feeding can take place every three to four hours. If your baby is not gaining weight, feed them more often and speak to your pediatrician about steps to take.

How much formula should a newborn eat? You should prepare a 2 to 3-ounce formula bottle every feeding time for your newborn. Gradually increase the amount as you begin to understand your baby’s eating pattern. For those who are wondering how much formula should a newborn eat, use the following guidelines to feed your baby.

  • Newborn – Prepare a bottle of 1.5 to 3 ounces of infant formula every 2 to 3 hours.
  • 2 months – Bottle feeding should be done every 3 to 4 hours with around 4 to 5 ounces of formula milk.
  • 4 months – Formula feeding amounts to 4 to 6 ounces every feeding time.
  • 6 months – Prepare 6 to 8 ounces of formula milk at this point. The frequency of feeding depends on whether you are introducing solid foods at this point [4]

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How Much Breastmilk Should a Newborn Eat
How Much Breastmilk Should A Newborn Eat?

Doing your research early on can help you a clearer answer to the question, “How much should a newborn eat?” when your child is either breastfed or fed formula. Technically, your baby can only hold so much during their first few days because their stomach is the size of a cherry. By day 30, their stomach is the same size as an egg which is why they can eat more.

Below are handy recommendations on how much milk per day you can feed your little one.

  • One day old baby – Several feedings are recommended as your baby can only hold a teaspoon of colostrum that comes from your breast. Cluster feeding occurs at this point since your baby will be feeding multiple times. Your baby’s weight may decrease a bit at this point, but this is normal. Just like a day-old kitten, your little one will require your nipple every few hours.
  • 3 days old baby – At this age, the stomach is larger, and your baby can feed up to 0.8 to 1 ounce of milk. Milk production starts at this point, so you should not have trouble when you breastfeed. If you are experiencing any difficulty, get in touch with a lactation specialist.
  • 7 days old baby – Your baby’s stomach is the size of an apricot which means that they are able to hold up to 2 ounces of breastmilk. At this point, your little one may have gained back their birth weight. The number of changed diapers a day will increase.
  • 30 days old baby – How much breastmilk should a newborn eat? Your baby’s stomach is now the size of a large egg, and its storage capacity is up to 5 ounces of fluid. After several weeks, your baby’s weight gain will be at least a pound which means that they need about 17 to 24 ounces of milk per day.

Parents should take care not to supplement their infant’s diet with either goat’s milk or cow’s milk as these do not have the required nutrients [5].

So, how much breastmilk should a newborn eat? Although it is difficult to measure how much milk is being produced on a daily basis when your baby is breastfed, monitor your little one’s eating habits based on the hunger cues, the number of diapers changed on a daily basis and the increased weight gain.

The skin-to-skin contact that your baby experiences when breastfed encourages bonding and reinforces confidence. If your baby’s milk intake is hindered because your breast is not producing enough milk, wash your breast with hot, soapy water, or apply a warm compress to stimulate milk production. For mothers who feed their baby formula milk in a bottle, feed your little one the right amount to ensure their growth.

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How Much Should A Newborn Eat
How Much Breastmilk Should A Newborn Eat

How Much Should A Newborn Eat Resources:
[1]   Kids Health from Nemours; Formula Feeding FAQs: How Much and How Often, How Much Should A Newborn Eat, Elana Pearl Ben-Joseph, MD.
[2]   Healthy Children; 
How Often and How Much Should Your Baby Eat?, Sanjeev Jain, MD, FAAP, March 22, 2018.
[3]   Centers for Disease Control and Prevention; How Much and How Often to Feed Infant Formula.
[4]   Healthy Children; Amount and Schedule of Formula Feedings, July 24, 2018.
[5]   Healthy Children; Breastfeeding Mealtime Milestones, April 02, 2012.

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