How Much Should Baby Eat – Figuring out your baby hunger level is tough for even the most experienced parent.  Knowing what is normal is beneficial to determine what to expect, however every child’s needs are different.  It is helpful to garner information on what is typical and then adjust to accommodate your own baby.

How Much Should Baby Eat
How Much Should Baby Eat – How Can I Tell If My Baby Needs To Be Fed?

Do not wait for your baby to start crying to begin feeding.

Crying is a late sign of hunger.

However, babies’ cries are not always a sign they need to be fed.

Other ways to tell if your baby needs to be fed [2]:

  • Opening their mouth
  • Sticking out their tongue
  • Moving their head from side to side
  • Sucking on their hands, fingers or fists
  • Puckering their lips as if suckling
  • Nuzzling at mom’s breast
  • Exhibiting the rooting reflex (moving their mouth in the direction of something that is stroking or touching their cheek)

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How Much Is Enough To Feed Infant
How Much Should Baby Eat – How Much Is Enough?

Every baby is different, but there are statistics that provide loose guidelines.

Below are the averages of how much food babies should be consuming [1][3]:

  • Newborns: 1.5 – 3 ounces (45-90 milliliters) every 2-3 hours
  • 2 months: 4 – 5 ounces (120-150 milliliters) every 3-4 hours
  • 4 months: 4 – 6 ounces (120-180 milliliters), frequency dependent on size
  • 6 months: 6 – 8 ounces (180-230 milliliters) every 4-5 hours dependent on baby food is being introduced

Look For Growth Spurts In Baby
How Much Should Baby Eat – Look For Growth Spurts

As babies mature, they should eat more and go longer between feedings.

There may be times when your baby is hungrier than usual which may mean a growth spurt!

Growth spurts generally happen around the ages of:

  • 7 – 14 days old
  • 3 – 6 months
  • 4 months
  • 6 months

Check Your Baby’s Diapers
How Much Should Baby Eat – Check Your Baby’s Diapers

Make sure that your baby is well hydrated by checking their diaper.

Newborns typically have at least six wet diapers and four bowel movements a day.

A newborn’s bowel movements are thick and tarry.

They become more yellow or green as they grow.

Formula-fed babies have firmer, less seedy stools when compared to breastfed babies.

Their urine should look clear or very pale.

If crystals are present, contact a medical health professional. That may be a sign your baby is dehydrated.

Other symptoms of underfeeding may include:

  • Not gaining enough weight
  • Discontentment even after feeding is complete

Well Baby Checks
How Much Should Baby Eat – Well-Baby Checks

Always attend checkups with your doctor.

Typically they take place at:

  • 2 weeks
  • 2 months
  • 4 months
  • 6 months
  • 9 months
  • 12 months
  • 15 months
  • 18 months
  • 2 years

During well visits, your baby is weighed, and length (height) is measured.

Your baby undergoes a thorough physical assessment.

Many times, this is when subtle anomalies are caught. Your doctor will ask you what activities and behaviors your child is exhibiting.

This will help determine if your baby is meeting typical developmental milestones.

Well-child visits are an excellent time to ask questions and learn what to expect.

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[1]  Healthy Children; How Often and How Much Should Your Baby Eat?, Sanjeev Jain, MD, FAAP, March 22, 2018.
[2]  Healthy Children; Is Your Baby Hungry or Full? Responsive Feeding Explained, American Academy of Pediatrics, September 15, 2017.
[3]   Nutrition News; Is Your Baby Eating Too Much Or Too Little?, November 16, 2016.

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