How often do they need to eat? How much do babies need to grow and thrive? What are guidelines for a schedule I can expect? Every situation is a little different, but expert sources tell us there are general ranges for frequency of feedings and guidelines by age, average schedules, and ways to tell if your baby is "getting enough" --whether you are nursing, or feeding pumped breastmilk or formula in a measured bottle.
Is my baby getting enough food?
In the first month, a baby’s stomach and capacity increases rapidly. At one week, a baby’s stomach capacity has grown to handle a .75 oz – 1 oz, intake per feeding, and it increases from there to 2.5 oz – 4 oz per feeding at the 1 month mark. After 1 month, babies intake average is 25 oz per day, 8 – 10 times in a 24 hour period . The amount of breastmilk consumed for a 24-hour period is 19 oz -30 oz.
If you are nursing, and use the recommended on demand feeding schedule, it is a little tough to tell just how much breastmilk a baby is getting. First you will want to watch the baby, not the clock to determine if the baby is properly latched and feeding. Then you can monitor and track how often, and for how long are you nursing, pumping or feeding to get a gauge on your feeding schedule. And note that it will likely not be consistent after 6 weeks. One important way to tell if your baby is getting enough breastmilk is to monitor wet/soiled diapers ----along with baby satisfaction while feeding, weight gain and growth in length and head circumference which will be measured at your doctor visits.
Tip: One tip we wanted to pass along to nursing moms is to try to drain one breast first, before using a timer to move the baby to the other breast to feed. And then switch to start on the other side for the next feeding. Although 90% of milk comes in the first 10 minutes if property latched, letting the baby finish on one breast first allows for the nutrient-rich hindmilk to be fed to the baby, and can help the breasts regulate their production.
With bottle fed babies it is a little easier to monitor the amount/quantity of pumped breastmilk or formula a baby eats. You can also monitor wet and soiled diapers; weight gain; baby’s satisfaction / response after feeding; and head/length growth are also the right indicators to determine if baby is getting enough. Most older babies drink on average 25 oz per day. And if your older baby is regularly consuming more than 32-40 oz per day, you may want to check in with your pediatrician.)
*To make keeping track of nursing, feeding, diaper changes and growth easier ---consider using our handy Baby Tracker journals from TimeToo.com. No-hassle monitoring of baby's day and well-being.
"Happy Baby to you" from Time Too.