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How often should I feed my newborn baby?

Newborns lose weight in the days following birth—often ½ pound…or a bit more.  No wonder they need to eat so often! Within a couple of days, most breastfed babies eat 10-12 times/day and formula-fed babies take 7-8 bottles/day. Your little one will tell you when she’s hungry by rooting (opening her mouth and turning towards anything that touches her cheeks), getting more active and cooing or fussing (that doesn’t calm by SNOO or the 5 S’s).

Please Note: Some babies—especially those with jaundice—get extra sleepy and may skip feedings…and even get dehydrated. The signs of dehydration are a sticky tongue (not wet with lots of drool) and reduced urine that is dark yellow…or pink.

In general, it’s best not to let your new baby (younger than 2 months) sleep more than 4 hours at a time, especially during the day, to ensure they are eating enough until they get back to their birth weight.

If your little one is pretty hard to rouse or refuses 2 feedings in a row, give your doctor a call!

Once your baby is over their birth weight, peeing consistently, and growing well (this rarely takes more than 5-10 days)... You can let your baby sleep longer stretches. At this time, it’s a good idea to boost calories while the sun is up. During the day, Dr. Karp suggests: 

  1. Try to wake breastfeeding babies every 1.5-2 hours for a feed
  2. Alternate breasts while nursing (back and forth)—5-7 minutes on the first side, then switch to the other (Your health care provider may have his/her own preferred approach)
  3. Introduce a Dream or Cluster Feed into your routine
  4. Formula-fed babies usually feed every 3-4 hours during the day and night for the first few weeks
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