Unfortunately for new parents, there’s no one-size-fits-all guide to nourishing your infant. The ideal newborn feeding amount will vary based on your baby’s body weight, appetite, and age. It’ll also depend on whether you’re breastfeeding or formula feeding. Always consult your healthcare provider or a lactation consultant if you’re unsure how often to feed a newborn, and check out these general guidelines as a starting point.
How Much Should a Breastfed Newborn Eat
Your infant probably won’t be too hungry in their first few days of life, and they may only take in a half-ounce per feeding. The amount will soon increase to 1 to 2 ounces. By their second week of life, your thirsty baby will eat about 2 to 3 ounces in one session. They’ll continue drinking larger amounts of breast milk as they grow. Of course, it’s hard to keep track of ounces when you’re breastfeeding.
So how often do newborns eat? For their first four to six weeks, breastfed babies generally get hungry every two to three hours around the clock. That equates to around eight or 12 feedings per day (although you should allow them to drink more or less if they desire). Babies usually consume about 90 percent of their breast milk portion in the first 10 minutes of a feeding.
How Much Should a Formula-Fed Newborn Eat?
As with breastfeeding, newborn babies generally won’t drink much formula during their first few days of life—may be only a half-ounce per feeding. The quantity will soon increase, and formula-fed babies will begin taking in 2 or 3 ounces at once. By the time they turn 1 month, your baby may consume up to 4 ounces every time you feed them. They’ll eventually cap out at around 7 to 8 ounces per feeding (although this milestone is several months away).
The question of “how many ounces should a newborn drink?” also depends on a baby’s measurements. Aim to give your baby 2.5 ounces of formula per pound of body weight each day.
In terms of a newborn feeding schedule, plan to give your baby formula every three to four hours. Formula-fed infants may feed a little less frequently than breastfed infants because the formula is more filling. Your pediatrician may recommend waking your newborn every four or five hours to offer a bottle.