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How much and when to feed a new born

Alternative Text By: Deepali Soam | December 8, 2018

We often get confused when it comes to feeding a new-born. One of the most common questions new parents have is – How much and how often should we feed a baby?

The answer is simple –  Feed them when they demand, feed them when they seem to be hungry. It’s important to follow this simple rule because every baby is different and so is their need.

For babies born prematurely or with some medical conditions, please check with your paediatrician about the feeding schedule.

But for healthy infants, new parents can look to their baby rather than the clock for hunger signals. Here are a few things to know about feeding new-born during first days, weeks and months

How do I know when my baby is hungry?

Most of the babies cry when they are hungry but still we need to look for hunger signals before they start crying.

Here are some common hunger signals

  • Sucking on everything around
  • Licking lips
  • Moving head in search of a breast or bottle.
  • Fussiness
  • Putting his/her hand to mouth continuously
  • Opening her mouth
  • Putting things inside his/her mouth

It is essential to realize that every time your baby cries or shows signs of hunger, it is not necessarily because he or she is hungry. Sometimes baby sucks or fusses to get some cuddles.

How Often and How much should I feed my baby?

Your new-born baby’s belly is small; feed them keeping this in mind.

First of all, it is important to accept that every child is different. Some may drink more milk and some may eat more. Feeding pattern can vary from baby to baby.

  • Initially baby takes 1 to 2 ounces at each feeding and this amount gradually increases to 2 to 3 ounces by 2 weeks.
  • About 2 months of age, babies start taking 4 to 5 ounces per feed at every 3 to 4 hours
  • At 4 months, babies generally take 4 to 6 ounces per feeding.
  • At 6 months, babies feed may increase up to 8 ounces every 3 hours.

After 6 months your baby will start eating solid foods and you can continue to breastfeed or formula feed when your baby shows signs of hunger. Kindly note that few feeding sessions may be long, and other may be too short. That is okay. Babies will commonly take what they need at each feeding and stop eating when their little tummy is full.

How to check if my baby is getting enough to eat?

Diaper Change

A new-born’s diaper is an awesome indicator of whether your baby is getting enough food or not. Soon after birth, your baby should have 2 to 3 wet diapers each day. It will increase to 5 to 6 wet diapers after 4 to 5 days.

Regular Health Check-ups

During regular health check-up, you’ll get to know the progress of your baby. Your paediatrician will check the weight and height of your baby and plot it on a growth chart. This can be compared to your previous visit.

Activities of your Baby

If your baby is active and showing different signs of growth according to the age then you need not to worry. Your baby is getting enough food.

Note – Please talk to your paediatrician before feeding new food or if you have any concerns regarding the amount to be fed.

This content has been certified by our panelist Dr. Rajiv Chhabra

Dr. Rajiv Chhabra

20 years of experience

Consultant - Paediatric & Neonatal Intensivist Head of Department - Paediatrics Artemis Hospitals

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