How Much Should a Newborn Eat?
Just like you, your baby will sometimes have a quick snack and other times a full feeding. Knowing how much to feed your baby is as important as how often newborns eat. Newborns will consume a range of 1.5-3 ounces of milk at each feeding. If they eat a little less, don’t panic. And if they eat a little more, maybe they fell a bit short at each feeding.
How Often Should A Newborn Eat?
If they’re crying and take a bottle, they probably need to eat. On average, a newborn will feed every 3-4 hours. Just because this is the average doesn’t mean your baby is going to become hungry every 3-4 hours just like clockwork. If your baby isn’t letting you know he or she is hungry every 3-4 hours, though, you might decide to wake baby to feed (a tough one for parents).
As a parent, you’ll learn how often newborns eat by observing how often your particular newborn eats. Some newborns eat every 2 hours! If you’ve got one of those, it can be challenging, but you’re going to be just fine.
How often newborns eat will vary a little bit by a newborn. Some newborns are naturally hungry than others, and it’s nothing to worry about for parents. The first rule of how often do newborns eat is easy. Your baby needs to eat when they’re hungry.
How to Know If Your Baby Is Hungry (or Full)
Beyond the question of how often newborns eat is the subject of how they act when they’re hungry. As a parent, you’ll soon learn to recognize all the signs that your baby is craving a bottle, and you’ll become very in tune to the process of feeding.
It’ll be second nature. With newborns, though, you’re just getting to know their signs of hunger and habits, so don’t feel bad if you miss a cue or two. Many people don’t know how to tell if a baby is hungry. That’s perfectly okay. Just like your newborn is learning, you’re learning, too.
Signs Your Baby Is Hungry
- Opening mouth
- Sticking out those adorable newborn tongues
- Putting parts of hands in mouth
- If the newborn’s head moves side to side as if looking for something
- licking or smacking lips
- rooting or nuzzling against the chest
- sucking on things, like his/her hands
Later signs of hunger include:
- fidgeting and fussing
- turning red
The best way to make sure your baby is getting enough milk is to watch for signs of hunger and fullness. Here are some tips on how your newborn may tell you these things:
Signs Your Baby Is Full
If your baby thinks she or he is done but you try to force him or her to eat more, the baby may start to cry. Look for these earlier signs of the baby being finished:
- turns away from the breast or bottle
- seems bored with the bottle or breast
- falls asleep
Sometimes a baby will be incredibly sleepy, and so fall asleep not because it’s satisfied but because its need for sleep is greater. Some babies are still hungry after breastfeeding.
When will my baby start eating more?
You will notice your baby eats more as time goes along. They might start consuming more milk in the second month of life than the first and more in the third month of life than the second. That’s perfectly natural. As they grow healthier and bigger, babies are going to need more of that sweet, sweet milk you keep giving them, whether it’s from a bottle or a breast.
If they seem to be eating more or more often, just know that it’s perfectly natural and you’re still doing your job as a parent. It’s all good and well, and there’s nothing wrong with your baby.
The only time you should consult a pediatrician is when you notice that your baby isn’t eating enough or seems to be constantly hungry and eating much more than normal. At this point, you might want to have a conversation with your pediatrician and find out what the problem is. It could be something very simple that needs to be adjusted about feeding time or a health condition your pediatrician will need to address. Either way, you’re doing your job as a parent at each and every turn and deserve to have some praise. Good job!
Is My Baby Eating Enough?
Another way you can check to make sure your baby is eating enough is by counting the number of diapers they soil per day. If your baby is getting enough milk, she or he will usually create 7 or 8 wet diapers and at least one stool per day. For the first few days, up to day 4, your baby will likely create less waste than this. The first day may only see a single wet diaper.
By ensuring that your newborn weighs how much a newborn should weigh, checking the amount of soil your newborn is creating, listening to your baby’s signals, and making sure that your feeding schedule compares favorably to the general guideline, you can be assured that your baby will get the nutrition it needs in its crucial first months.
Bottle-Feeding vs Breastfeeding
Bottle feeding vs breastfeeding proponents often argue back and forth, but the truth is that your child needs milk. What’s healthier could be debated on for eternity, but the important thing is that newborns grow up healthy and strong with both methods of feeding.
No matter which you choose, bonding occurs.
Now that you know how often newborns eat, you have a better idea of how to successfully create a safe, secure environment for your newborn as they feed. Remember, too, that each feeding is a chance for you to hold and bond with your baby. You’re giving them the food they need to grow healthy and strong and doing it in the most intimate way. It’s your life and love spent giving them what they need to maintain their own life and love.
If you’re breastfeeding, you’ll like want a breast pump to have fresh milk ready for your newborn at all times. And you better have that formula ready at all times because a hungry baby is a loud baby!
Your precious newborn can turn extremely contrary in a mere moment if you fail to adhere to their one major complaint in life at this point: I’m hungry! When your newborn is hungry, they will most likely let you know in the loudest way possible. And parents, especially mothers, tend to be very in tune with their newborns (don’t worry if you’re not quite there yet!).
Many new mothers are extremely exhausted from the birthing experience or may even have postpartum depression. You’re not alone if this is the case. Just get help because that newborn of yours is hungry. A lot.