How much to feed your baby

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Is your baby getting enough to eat?

It’s no secret that feeding can be stressful for new parents. There are plenty of questions to ponder: How often should your baby be fed? How do you know if he’s getting enough nourishment? Do his nutritional needs change from week to week?  Here is some information that might help answer your questions.

Generally, formula fed babies eat every 3-4 hours during their first weeks, while breastfed babies eat every 2-3 hours.  However, after a few weeks the amount consumed at each feeding will increase and the number of feedings will decrease. In other words, he will eat more but less often.

Proper weight gain is the truest test of whether or not your baby is eating enough. Here’s another test—count his wet diapers. If you get six or more per day, and your baby is happy between feedings, he’s likely getting plenty to eat.

Formula feeding:  How much? How often?

If you are exclusively formula feeding, here’s a guide to how much and how often you should feed formula to your baby.

But remember, these are just averages—your baby’s appetite is always the best guide.

Feedings per day
Approximate amount of formula per day
Birth 6 – 10 410-650 mL
(14-22 ounces)
2 weeks 6 – 10 470-770 mL
(16-26 ounces)
1 month 6 – 8 500-860 mL
(17-29 ounces)
2 months 5 – 7 650 – 1030 mL
(22-35 ounces)
3 months 5 – 7 710 – 1150 mL
(24-39 ounces)

It is important to pay attention to your baby’s cues; his behaviour will tell you when he’s hungry and when he’s full.

Signs That Your Baby Is Hungry

  • Waking up and acting restless
  • Sucking on his fist, smacking his lips
  • Rooting: When you stroke his cheek, his natural reflex will be to turn toward the bottle or breast and make sucking motions with his mouth.
  • Opening his mouth after feeding: A hungry baby may continue to show interest in sucking even after finishing the first breast or bottle.
  • Crying:  This can be one of the later signs of hunger.  You’ll notice other feeding cues first.  

Signs That Your Baby Is Full

  • Closing lips
  • Turning his head away from the breast or bottle
  • Decreasing or stopping sucking
  • Spitting out the nipple or falling asleep when full
  • Showing increasing interest in surroundings rather than eating

Your baby is the single best authority for when he needs to be fed and when he is satisfied. His internal regulator for hunger and fullness is fine-tuned to his particular energy needs. That’s why rigidly counting the ounces of formula or the number of minutes per breast feeding session isn’t the best way to calculate how much is enough. Instead, pay attention to his cues; his behaviour will tell you when he’s hungry and when he’s full.

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