A common question asked when bringing a new baby home from the hospital is “how much should it be eating and how often?” New parents worry their baby is not getting enough to eat for a few reasons.
One reason a parent may worry their baby is not getting enough to eat is because they are breastfeeding and are unsure of how many ounces they consume. Baby may also want to constantly be on the breast, known as cluster feeding, and typically occurs in the evenings. Breastfeeding parents will say their baby is always hungry because when holding them the baby can smell their milk and want to eat. Growth spurts in newborns happen when parents may not be aware and during this time infants want to eat more often than normal. Parents also think because their baby is waking often during the night they are not getting enough to eat during the day (which could be possible.)
So, lets answer the question: how much should a baby eat and how often? During a 24-hour period a baby should eat 2.5 ounces for every pound they weigh. For example, if a baby weighs 10lbs, they should eat 25 ounces in a 24-hour period. When planning a feeding schedule, it is important to remember every baby is different. Most newborns will eat every 2.-3 hours during the day. It is recommended to wake them to eat at the 2-3-hour mark during the day to feed to make sure they are getting the ounces they need. Newborns will also give hunger cues which are important to pay attention to as well. If they want to eat before the 2.5 hour mark it is important to feed them. If infants get the milk they are supposed to during the day, they will more than likely sleep longer stretches overnight. Of course, babies 5 days or more should have at least 6 heavy wet diapers and 4+ great than quarter size stools.
If you have any other questions or concerns about newborn feeding schedule or how much they are eating do not hesitate to consult with the pediatrician for further guidance. You can also receive more information through www.ncta.online. The Newborn Care Specialist Workshop and the breastmilk storage and handling will provide you with more education on this topic.