Bottle-feeding your newborn can be a challenging experience, especially if you’re a first-time parent. One of the most common concerns parents have is how much should they feed their newborn. It’s important to ensure that your baby is getting enough nutrition to grow and develop, but overfeeding can also lead to problems such as obesity and digestive issues. In this article, we’ll discuss the perfect amount of formula to give to your newborn.
The First Few Days:
Babies have small stomachs, and they won’t be able to consume a lot of milk in the beginning. For the first few days after birth, your baby will require very little milk, and their appetite will gradually increase over time. On the first day, your baby will probably drink only a teaspoon or two of milk. By the second or third day, the amount will increase to about 2-3 ounces per feeding.
It’s normal for newborns to lose a little weight after birth, usually about 5-7% of their body weight. This is because they are losing excess fluid. Once they have adjusted to the world outside the womb and your milk comes in or you start formula, they will begin to gain weight again.
How Much to Feed:
Most newborns need 8-12 feedings in a day, and each feeding should be approximately 2-3 ounces. However, every baby is different, and some may need more or less food than others. If your baby cries frequently or seems unsatisfied after a feeding, you may need to increase the amount of formula you give them.
On the other hand, if your baby seems to spit up a lot or has trouble with digestion, they might be getting too much formula at once. This is why it’s important to pay attention to your baby’s feeding cues and adjust accordingly.
It’s essential to watch your baby for signs of hunger and fullness during feedings. Some common feeding cues include:
- Smacking lips or opening and closing their mouth
- Sucking on fingers, hands, or clothing
- Rooting or searching for the nipple
- Fussing or crying
When your baby is full, they may turn away from the bottle, fall asleep, or become less interested in feeding.
For the first few weeks, it’s important to feed your baby whenever they show signs of hunger, rather than sticking to a strict schedule. This will help establish a good milk supply and ensure your baby is getting enough nutrition to grow and develop.
After the first month or two, you can start to establish a more regular feeding schedule. However, it’s still important to be flexible and adjust feeding times if your baby seems particularly hungry or full at certain times of the day or night.
Many parents wonder if they should wake their baby up for night feedings or let them sleep. In general, it’s okay to let your baby sleep through the night if they are gaining weight appropriately and seem content during the day. However, if your baby is still gaining weight or has medical issues, your healthcare provider may recommend waking them for feedings.
One of the biggest concerns with bottle-feeding is ensuring that the formula is prepared correctly. Here are some tips for preparing formula safely:
- Wash your hands, bottles, and other feeding equipment thoroughly before each use.
- Read the instructions on the formula can carefully and follow them closely.
- Use clean, sterilized water to prepare the formula.
- Never use homemade or alternate formulas, as they may not provide adequate nutrition and can be dangerous for your baby.
Before feeding, ensure that the formula is at the correct temperature. A good way to check the temperature is to place a drop on your wrist. It should feel warm but not hot to the touch.
In conclusion, feeding your newborn can be challenging, but with patience and attention to your baby’s cues, you can ensure they are getting the nutrition they need to grow and develop. Remember to watch for signs of hunger and fullness, be flexible with feeding times, and prepare formula safely.
- How often should I feed my newborn? Most newborns need 8-12 feedings in a day.
- How much formula should I give my newborn? Each feeding should be approximately 2-3 ounces, but adjust based on your baby’s cues.
- How do I know if my baby is getting enough formula? Watch for signs of weight gain, sufficient wet and dirty diapers, and overall contentment.
- Should I wake my baby up for night feedings? Unless recommended by your healthcare provider, it’s okay to let your baby sleep through the night.
- How should I prepare formula safely? Wash hands and equipment, follow instructions closely, use clean water, and never use homemade formulas.
- Mayo Clinic. (2021). Infant formula: Your questions answered. Mayo Clinic. https://www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-lifestyle/infant-and-toddler-health/in-depth/infant-formula/art-20045791
- March of Dimes. (n.d.). Bottle-feeding your baby. March of Dimes. https://www.marchofdimes.org/baby/bottle-feeding-your-baby.aspx
- Kids Health. (n.d.). Bottle-feeding. Kids Health. https://kidshealth.org/en/parents/bottle-feeding.html