How often and how much should my newborn be feeding?

Day 1:  Your baby’s tummy is extremely small at this time.  Your baby’s stomach can fit enough breast milk to fill a thimble or the size of a marble (less than an 1 oz.).  So, naturally, your baby will not want to eat for long, but will want to eat often.  So, don’t force the extra milk down your baby, your baby’s stomach will not get larger by doing this, but only force the milk to come right back up.  This is when your colostrum should be filling your baby.

The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends that healthy, full-term newborns should breastfeed every 2-3 hours or 8 – 12 times every 24-hours.

You may wonder why you have to feed your baby so often.  Again, your baby’s tummy is very small, and second, your baby is quite efficient at digesting the milk.  It only takes about 90 minutes to digest and your baby’s tummy is empty again.

Day 3:  Your baby’s tummy is growing quickly.  Today, you baby’s stomach is about the size of a large marble.  You’re baby may start taking about 1 oz. per feeding.  You will continue to feed your baby every 2-3 hours or 8 – 12 times every 24-hours.  This is not the time to start forcing your baby onto a schedule.
If your baby does not finish a bottle, then save it for later.  If your baby finishes the bottle, but is still be wiggling or seems to be unsettled.  Just fix another bottle and feed your baby until he seems satisfied.  Save the remaining bottle for the next feeding.

Day 7:  Just baby’s stomach is about the size of a ping pong ball and might be eating about 1.5 – 2 ounces of milk each feeding.  You should still be feeding every 2-3 hours or 8 – 12 times every 24-hours.

Day 10:  Your baby’s tummy is about the size of a large chicken egg and can probably drink 2 ounces, maybe a little more, each feeding.  And you will still continue to feed your baby every 2-3 hours or 8 – 12 times every 24-hours.

Don’t ever doubt your own judgment.  Have confidence in yourself and what you think your baby wants.  Your baby will eat when she is hungry and stop eating when she is full.  So just take a deep breath, calm down and listen to the cues from your baby.

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