If you find yourself fretting over your newborn feeding schedule, you’re not alone. Questions like “how much should a newborn eat?” and “how often should I feed baby?” are some of the most common concerns among new parents. After all, baby is growing by leaps and bounds. She’ll grow more in the first year than at any other point in her life, doubling in size by the time she’s 5 months old and tripling by the end of her first year—so it’s important to feed baby the fuel she needs to power through each stage of development. Whether you opt for breast milk or formula, here’s what you need to know to make sure baby is eating enough.
In this article: How much breast milk should a newborn eat?How much formula should a newborn eat?What if you’re breastfeeding and formula-feeding?Signs baby is getting enough milkNewborn feeding FAQs
How Much Breast Milk Should A Newborn Eat?
Wondering how much should a newborn eat? “As pediatricians, we say to feed on demand,” says Jennifer Trachtenberg, MD, a pediatrician in New York City and an assistant clinical professor of pediatrics at The Mount Sinai School of Medicine. And luckily, when all goes right, breastfeeding is an ingenious, self-sufficient system. When baby suckles, it stimulates your breasts to produce just the right amount of milk to meet his nutritional needs. When baby needs more (because of a growth spurt, for example) he suckles more, causing your body to crank up production. Genius. Of course, that’s presuming that baby—and your breasts— cooperate.
It’s hard to clock how much a newborn eats when you’re breastfeeding. Use these guidelines to make sure baby is eating enough.
How many ounces should a newborn eat at a time? From the time your milk comes in a few days after birth, baby will likely take in two to three ounces at each feeding, working his way up to four ounces by the end of the first month. To gauge roughly how much milk baby needs, try this quick, easy calculation: Multiply baby’s weight by two and a half. For example, an eight-pound baby should be eating about 20 ounces a day.
In terms of how often you should feed baby, you can expect a newborn to breastfeed as much as every two to three hours (or more!), or 8 to 12 times a day. While baby (and mom) are still figuring out how to breastfeed, it can take 20 to 45 minutes per feeding, or more. But all that suckling helps to establish your milk supply, so it’s time well spent. As baby’s stomach gets bigger and can hold more milk at a time, she’ll be able to go longer between feedings—about three to four hours. She’ll also get more efficient, usually taking in 90 percent of the milk she needs within the first 10 minutes of nursing.
How Much Formula Should A Newborn Eat?
One advantage to formula-feeding is parents can measure every ounce of milk baby guzzles down. But it can pose its own challenges too: While babies are blissfully free from concepts like the clean plate (or empty bottle) club, parents aren’t. Here’s a breakdown of how much formula a newborn should eat.
Ounce for ounce, formula has the same average calories as breast milk, so the total amount that breastfed and formula-fed babies will need to eat in a day is basically the same: about two and a half times baby’s weight in pounds. The newborn feeding schedule for formula, however, might be a little different. Since babies tend to digest formula more slowly, they’ll go longer between feedings. Baby will likely get hungry every three…