When you have never had experience with a newborn baby, there are multiple questions that rush around your head. First off, don’t worry – this is completely normal and we’re here to help you get the answers you need. Something you will be doing a lot of with your newborn is feeding them. But how much milk should a newborn drink?
There are factors that change the amount that your little one should be fed. If you’ve chosen to breastfeed instead of formula milk, this will slightly change the amount your baby needs. We will go through this in much more details throughout the blog.
Your baby will grow more in their first year that at any other point in their life. I’ts important that during this time, they are getting the correct nutrients and not too much or too little of it. Whether you choose breast milk or formula, here’s what you need to know if you’re feeding them the correct amount.
It can be really difficult to know how much milk your baby is drinking when they breastfeed as it takes away your task of measuring it up. However, breastfeeding is a self-sufficient system. When your baby suckles, it stimulates the breasts and allows them to produce the right amount of milk for your baby. Although this may sound strange, your body knows how much your baby needs to meet their nutritional needs. Once your baby has stopped sucking, it means they have been fulfilled.
When your baby starts growing and requires more milk, they will simply suckle for longer, telling your breasts that they require more nutrients. Breastfeeding is a really easy way regarding giving your baby enough each time. There’s no time spent measuring it out and making sure it’s cool enough for your baby. However, not everyone like to breast feed and sometimes that can come down to cooperation.
Many women experience their breasts not providing milk for their babies, or their babies not suckling on. In this case, may women give up and move over to either expressing their breastmilk to feed with a bottle or using formula. If you choose to start feeding your baby breastmilk through a bottle, you should follow the feeding guidelines for formula. This will ensure your baby is not getting too little or too much.
Back to breastfeeding – your newborn baby will usually take in around 2-3 ounces at each feeding, moving up to around 4 by the end of their first month. If you’re still struggling on how much your baby should drink, you can take your baby’s weight and multiply it by two and a half. This will give you how many ounces they need a day.
It’s normal to breastfeed your little one every 2-3 hours. This can vary and may be more, it depends on when your baby gets hungry again. The minimum amount of times you should be feeding your baby per day is 8 and it can go up to 12 if you’re feeding exactly every 2-3 hours.
Breastfeeding can take much longer at first as you and your baby are both adjusting to it. However, this allows you to work out how much your breasts are holding for each feed. Once your baby starts to get bigger, they will be able to last around 4 hours before being fed again. This is because their stomachs will increase in size and therefore, be able to hold more milk per feeding.
You will also notice that as you feed more and more, it will get quicker. Your baby will get the hang of suckling on properly and getting the milk as fast as they can get it. Once experienced, your baby will be able to get 90% of the milk they need within the first 10 minutes of feeding – what an improvement!
As we mentioned earlier, breastfeeding means there’s no measuring the milk out for your little one. However, some parents prefer to do this as it leaves them feeling relaxed knowing their baby has had the amount they need. Although this is great to know your baby is getting all of their nutrients, it can pose some risks. If there is a specific amount of milk your baby has to drink, they can get into the habit of drinking it all every single time. Although this is normal, it’s important to monitor this as they may just be drinking it for the hell of it and not because they’re hungry.
In terms of calories, formula isn’t much different to breastmilk. Formula is designed to be as close as possible to breastmilk to ensure that your baby received all of the nutrients that it should. You should use the same calculation that we used with breastmilk – your baby’s weight multiplied by two and a half.
Digesting formula can be quite different to breastmilk. Formula is usually digested slower and therefore can mean your baby can go longer in between feedings. You’ll probably find that your baby gets hungry every 3 to 4 hours – instead of 2 to 3 with breastmilk.
For individual feeds, your baby should start on 2 ounces as a newborn and then progressing onto 4 ounces by the end of the first month. After this, you can gradually add an ounce at the end of every month until you are up to 6 to 8 ounces. You will need to use our calculation to find out if your baby needs to stick to the lower end at 6 ounces or go up to 8 ounces.
32 ounces of formula is the most your baby should be having per day. If you find that your baby is still hungry after all of this, it may be time to start introducing some solid foods. This normally occurs around the 6-month mark. The last thing you should do is to keep increasing the formula. Your baby needs to move onto other foods as they grow and develop.
All newborns are different and some will require more milk than others. It depends on your baby’s digestive system and how well they digest breastmilk or formula throughout the day. You’ll know if your baby is hungry as they will wake up and suckle or move their mouth around. This is a sign that they are looking for milk.
You can gage if your baby has had enough during feeding too. If they continue sucking after the milk is out, it’s a sign that they should start being fed slightly more. However, if they stop sucking and relax their body, you’ll know that they have had enough for now.
Your baby’s nappy will also tell you a lot about whether they are eating enough. If they have a wet nappy every 3-4 hours, it usually means their body is digesting correctly and they are receiving enough. However, what it really comes down to is your baby’s weight.
During the early stages of your baby’s development, you will attend regular appointment with a paediatrician to check your baby’s weight and if they are doing ok. During these appointments, the paediatrician will tell you whether your baby is thriving or if you need to increase or decrease the amount of milk they are having per day.
We hope that this blog has helped you gain some information on how much and how often you should be feeding your newborn baby. If you’re still feeling a little confused, it’s a good idea to ask your local paediatrician or GP and gain some advice off of them too. They will be able to assess your baby’s weight and tell you how much and how often you should be giving them formula or breastfeeding.