1. Follow your baby’s cues
Rather than basing your feedings just on length of time, it’s important to read other signals. Your baby will usually let you know when they’re hungry by fussing and crying, especially an hour or so after nursing. A well-fed baby will likely be content.
- Movement. When your baby fidgets and turns away while feeding, they may be telling you they’ve had enough. It’s important to pay attention to these signals since this is their way of letting you know they’re full.
- Sounds. When feeding from a bottle, it’s easy to get a read on how much your baby’s taking in. Breastfeeding moms, who can’t actually see the milk flow, can listen for sucking and swallowing sounds. You may also see milk around your baby’s mouth.
2. Do the math
Nutritional Needs for Infants:
- Breastfed newborns feed approximately 8-12 times a day
- Bottle-fed newborns take 2-4 ounces of formula every 2-3 hours
Some days your baby may feed more, but the amount averages out over time. If the milk is available, your baby will take what they need and push away when they’re done.
3. Track diaper changes
Most infants wet their diapers at least six times a day, sometimes more. Peeing is an important sign of hydration which is important for infant nutrition. Bowel movements may be frequent in the beginning, sometimes occurring after every feeding. This may continue or decrease to once or twice a day. Your baby might skip days entirely or have a stool only once a week. All of these diaper changing scenarios are considered normal.
4. Don’t worry
Your newborn may lose up to 10% of their weight in the first week of life, but try not to fret. They’ll usually begin to regain it by the end of the second week and continue at a steady rate in the weeks to come. Be sure your baby’s doctor is monitoring their height and weight at visits.
Feeding can be a time of worry and stress—we know. Infant nutrition is important, but don’t forget that feeding is also a great time to bond with your baby. Keep these nutritional needs for infants in mind, and if you’re still worried that your baby isn’t gaining weight, chat with your doctor.
“My advice to new moms is that if you baby is healthy, growing and is loved, you are doing a good job!” – Enfamil® mom