Aside from the new changes to your daily routine, you’ll probably be wondering how often to feed your newborn. Let’s find out.
How Often To Feed Newborn
How Often To Feed Newborn – How often do you feed a newborn? Crying is a good barometer to gauge when your little one is hungry. However, there are other signs that indicate when your baby is hungry. Among the possible signs of hunger signs feeding cues are:
- Sucking on hands or even fingers.
- Being fussier than usual.
- Leaning towards the bottle or breast when you place them nearby.
- Opening their mouth, puckering the lips or sticking out their tongue.
During the first few weeks or months, you should feed your baby whenever needed. This is called “feeding on demand” or “demand feeding” instead of following a strict schedule .
In the beginning, you may be feeding your baby about 8 to 12 times a day. If you’re breastfeeding, don’t compare the number of times you breastfeed to formula fed babies.
Breast milk gets digested faster compared to formula milk. It’s not unusual for breastfed babies to feed more frequently than formula-fed babies.
At the beginning of the breastfeeding experience, your body will express colostrum. Colostrum is yellow in color and expressed first by the mammary glands after giving birth. It is very rich in antibodies .
By the time your baby reaches 1 to 2 months, breastfed babies can only nurse about 7 to 9 times a day only .
It is understandable that there will be concerns that may crop up with regards to feeding your baby. Here are some questions and solutions that may alleviate some of your concerns.
- Do you need to wake babies? You don’t really have to disrupt your baby’s sleep once there is weight gain and feeding every three to four hours. Keep in mind that newborns typically lose some weight in the first few days, but they do tend to gain it back.
- Should you wake your dozing baby during feeding? Some pediatricians require you to wake babies gently if they fall asleep while feeding. They want to ensure the infant gets proper nutrition as well as not to disrupt the feeding schedule. To wake your baby, undress them a bit, then tickle their feet. Or, pat the bottom lightly to wake them gently .
- What is the average breastfeeding per day? A baby typically needs feeding every 2 to 3 hours in a 24-hour period. The length of feeding time will vary. It’s important that you are aware of your baby’s individual feeding cues .
- What about milk supply? You may be worried that your milk supply may not be enough to meet your baby’s needs. If your little one is gaining weight just by drinking mother’s milk, then you know that your baby is getting enough of your milk. Remember, the more your baby suckles the greater milk production .
It is important that you let your baby suckle on one breast on their own before offering the other breast.
Take note that some babies become sleepy, but this is completely normal.
Remember, part of the experience of feeding your baby is to let them feel skin-to-skin contact.
Newborn Feeding Schedule
How Often To Feed Newborn – What is a newborn? Babies are considered newborns from the time they were given birth to until 3 months of age. During this time, your little one’s sleep schedule is going to be quite unpredictable.
Newborns sleep in short bursts, such as 30 to 45 minutes or even 3 to 4 hours. In between sleeping periods, they will require feeding. It will be up to you to wake your baby gently for their feeding time .
- In the beginning, feeding your baby often follows the time that their little ones are awake. Thus, you will need to ensure your baby gets a full feeding before letting them sleep .
- During the second week, you will start teaching your baby the difference between daytime and nighttime. When feeding, allow your baby to experience the natural sunlight and dim the lights in the evening.
- In the third week, your newborn’s sleep schedule and feeding schedule is still being developed. Lie your baby down at specific times to cue them it is time to go to sleep. If you desire, give your little one a pacifier to help your baby to calm themselves on their own.
- During the fourth week, you’ve probably adjusted to your sleep patterns already so that your baby is getting proper nourishment and you are getting more sleep. At this point, you’re establishing a new schedule that takes care of your newborn’s needs and your obligations.
How Do You Know When To Feed A Newborn?
How Often To Feed Newborn – It is also important that you are familiar with the hunger cues of your particular baby.
Babies cannot talk, so they express their hunger in a variety of ways.
Here are a few familiar cues.
- Waking up and feeling restless. Your baby may move his mouth from time to time or even raise his or her hands to the face. This is a sign that your baby is becoming hungry and feeding them should be done as soon as possible .
- Open mouth during feeding. Your baby might show signs that they are still hungry by keeping their mouth open even while feeding. If your little one is hungry, they may lean towards your breast or even your fingers.
- Rooting. In the first few weeks of your baby’s life, you may notice that your baby will be following your breast or a bottle while making sucking motions. Within 4 months, this becomes a voluntary sign that your little one is hungry.
- Smiling through feeding. You may find that your baby looks “dreamy” when they suckle and they are smiling. This may be a sign that they are still in need of milk.
- Sucking on a fist. Another possible sign that your little one is in need of feeding is when they suck on their fist. Offer your nipple or a bottle immediately if you see your infant do this so that they will be able to latch on quickly for a good feed.
How Much Do You Feed A Newborn?
How Often To Feed Newborn – Consider the first 24 hours to be the beginning of a learning curve for you as a new mother. Study how your baby acts. Remember, you are not the only one who got tired from birth because your little went through the same ordeal.
Your infant may not be interested in feeding directly after birth because they may be tired. Check for wet diapers as well as a dry mouth. These are both signs of dehydration.
According to John Hopkins Medicine, a baby should feed about 8 times that first day. Let your baby feed as long as they want. You will find yourself changing more diapers as their feeding increases .
If breastfeeding, your baby is consuming colostrum. Colostrum is considered a superfood for babies as it is rich in nutrients and calories so having them suckle for a few minutes is okay .
So how much does your baby need to eat? For breastfeeding moms, the recommended amount of feeding should be up to 8 to 12 times per day. This is just an average as no two babies are alike.
You should wake your baby gently every three hours or so to have them feed. The amount will vary at each feeding but the key is an overall weight gain for the baby.
Keep in mind that a growth spurt also occurs in the first few months. Your little one may eat more during this time .
With regards to bottle feeding, this is much easier to monitor. Babies who are formula-fed need to be drinking milk every 3 to 4 hours and will consume about 2 to 3 ounces of milk formula every time they eat .
The first week will be crucial for your little one. Feed your baby formula milk or offer your breast on demand.
Keep in mind that your little one will be eating every few hours so you should start with 1.5 to 2 ounces during the first week of feeding then move to 2 to 3 ounces every three to four hours.
Here are a few things that you should consider when it comes to feeding your little one.
- Switch formulas – If your baby is having some digestive issues with the formula milk switch to a soy formula since this can be easier to digest. (Make sure you get the approval of the pediatrician first before making a move.)
- Different digestive process – Breast milk is digested faster compared to formula so there will be more feedings if you breastfeed. Baby’s stools differ depending on if they are breastfed versus if they drink formula milk. The latter produces stools that are larger and dryer when compared to their poop when they are breastfed.
- Wash feeding equipment – If bottle feeding, make sure that you wash and rinse the feeding bottles and nipples with hot and clean water to help sterilize them. Remove any leftover formula in the bottle, including the dregs, to prevent stomach aches and other issues.
Everything You Need To Know About Breastfeeding
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How Often To Feed Newborn, How Often Do You Feed A Newborn Resources;
 WebMD; How Often Should You Feed Your Baby?, Dan Brennan, MD, July 16, 2017.
 Dictionary; Colostrum.
 Kids Health from Nemours; Breastfeeding FAQs: How Much And How Often, Elana Pearl Ben-Joseph, MD, February 2015.
 The Bump; How Much Should a Newborn Eat?, Natalie Gingerich Mackenzie.
 Australian Breastfeeding Association; Do I need to wake my baby for feeds?, June 2017.
 Kelly Mom; Breastfeeding your newborn — what to expect in the early weeks, Kelly Bonyata, BS, IBCLC.
 The Baby Sleep Site; Newborn Baby Sleep and Feeding Schedule, Emily DeJeu.
 A Mother Far From Home; The Ultimate Newborn Sleep Schedule: Week By Week.
 Parenting Science; The newborn feeding schedule, Gwen Dewar, PH.D., 2017.
 Johns Hopkins Medicine; Breastfeeding.
 Healthline; How Many Ounces Should a Newborn Eat?.
 Johns Hopkins Medicine; Breastfeeding, How Often To Feed Newborn.