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Newborn Feeding Schedule for Formula

Newborn Feeding Schedule for Formula

This guide will provide information on newborn formula feeding schedules, hunger cues, and tips to determine if your newborn is getting enough formula.

Newborn babies have tiny tummies and need to eat frequently throughout the day and night. In the first few weeks of life, your newborn will likely eat every 2-3 hours, around 8-12 times a day. As your baby grows, their stomach will get bigger, and they will be able to go longer stretches between feedings.

How Much Formula Should a Newborn Drink?

  • General guideline: In the first week of life, newborns typically drink 1 to 2 ounces of formula every 2 to 3 hours. This amount increases as your baby grows. By the end of the first month, most babies will take 3 to 4 ounces per feeding.
  • Pay attention to your baby's cues: It's important to feed your baby based on their hunger cues rather than a strict schedule. Indicators your baby is hungry include rooting (turning their head towards your touch), sucking on their hands, and fussiness. Once your baby is full, they may turn away from the bottle, fuss less, or seem sleepy.

How Often Should a Newborn Feed on Formula?

Generally speaking, newborns should be fed whenever they are hungry, or every 2-3 hours, 8-12 times a day, or as advised by your pediatrician. Keep in mind, a newborn baby's belly is tiny and they don't need a lot of infant formula or breast milk with each feeding to be full, and as your baby grows, feedings will likely become less frequent, but the amount consumed at each feeding will increase. Be sure to follow your doctor’s guidance for how often to feed your newborn.

Example Newborn Formula Feeding Schedule

While every baby is different, and every parent may follow a different feeding schedule, the following gives you an idea of what a schedule might look like. Feel free to alter your own schedule and review with your pediatrician!

Example Newborn Feeding Schedule
7:30 A.M. Wake up and feed
8:15-9:30 A.M. Nap 1
9:40 A.M. Feed
10:30 A.M.-12:30 P.M. Nap 2
12:40 P.M. Feed
1:30-2:45 P.M. Nap 3
2:50 P.M. Feed
4:00-5:00 P.M. Nap 4
5:10 P.M. Feed
6:15-6:45 P.M. Nap 5
6:50 P.M. Feed
8:00 P.M. Bedtime
8:00 P.M.-7:30 A.M. Overnight or dream feed as needed

Should I Wake My Newborn to Eat?

  • Newborns (first few weeks): Yes, you may need to wake your baby to eat every 2-3 hours to ensure they get enough nourishment. Dream feeding is a technique that can help, it involves not fully waking your baby for feedings, and is popular among many parents in our community!
  • Older newborns: Generally speaking, it’s best to feed your newborn whenever they are hungry, including at night. It can help to establish a sleep schedule early by sleep training your baby so that they can feed more during the day and sleep more at night as they get older. Dream feeding can be part of that routine if you like, but it really comes down to what works for you and your baby–just be sure to talk with your pediatrician about how much and how often to feed your baby and follow their guidance.

Newborn Hunger Cues: When is My Baby Hungry?

Newborns may communicate hunger through cues such as:

  • Rooting (turning their head towards your touch)
  • Sucking on their hands
  • Fussiness
  • Crying

How to Know When Formula Feeding Newborn is Full

Newborns may communicate fullness by:

  • Turning away from the bottle
  • Fussing less
  • Seeming sleepy
  • Unclenching their fists

How Do I Know If My Newborn is Feeding Enough?

  • Wet diapers: Newborn babies should have several wet diapers a day–as many as 6-8 diapers can be perfectly normal.
  • Bowel movements: Stool frequency can vary, but your baby should have at least a few bowel movements per week. The stool color can also provide clues to how well they’re tolerating their feedings and overall health.
  • Weight gain: Your pediatrician will help you track your baby's weight gain to ensure they are growing properly.

If you have any concerns about your newborn's feeding habits or weight gain, be sure to consult with your pediatrician.

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