Feeding Your Newborn

How often and how much

Whether feeding your newborn by breast or formula, you may worry about how often your little one needs to eat. Generally, it’s recommended that babies be fed on demand — whenever they seem hungry. Having said that, your baby will tell you when he/she is ready for a meal. Crying, putting fingers in his/her mouth or making sucking noises are the common tell-tale cues.

A newborn needs to be fed every 2 to 3 hours

If you’re breastfeeding, your baby should nurse about 10-15 minutes at each breast.

If you’re formula-feeding, your baby will most likely drink about 2-3 ounces at each feeding. Some newborns may need to be awakened every few hours to make sure they get enough to eat (more frequently if your pediatrician is concerned about weight gain). Note: If you are having to wake your baby up often to feed, or if he/she doesn’t seem interested in eating or sucking, contact your pediatrician.

How much is enough?

If you’re formula-feeding, you can easily monitor if your baby is getting enough to eat — you can see the milk disappear in the bottle.

If you’re breastfeeding, it can be a little trickier. If your baby seems satisfied after feeding, produces 4-5 wet and/or poopy diapers per day, sleeps well and is gaining weight regularly, you can be confident that he/she is eating enough. Another good way to tell if your baby is getting enough breast milk is if your breasts feel full before nursing and noticeably less full afterward.

If you’re breastfeeding exclusively, it’s important to give your baby a vitamin D supplement daily.

When to add cereal to your baby’s diet

At around 6 months of age, your baby will be ready to start having iron fortified cereal.

If you have concerns about your child’s growth or feeding schedule, please talk to one of our pediatricians at Westchester Health Pediatrics.