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Is My Baby Eating Enough

You may think that you are prepared for your newborn, but in fact, you will have many questions about when your baby will arrive. One of the most common concerns that parents have is their little one is eating enough. We know that every baby is unique. There are some basic guidelines to keep in mind when it is time for a feeding. The physical act of breastfeeding is more than the quantity of milk that is supplied.

Is My Baby Eating Enough

You will find this when you will hold your baby in your arms. Every feeding with your baby, no matter if it is breastfeeding or bottle-feeding, will help you both to feel love, nutrition, and warmth.

How can you know if your baby is getting enough to eat?

The proof that your baby is eating enough is on the scale and in the diapers. As your baby is growing normally, you can trust him to let know if he or she needs more. Your baby will cry for more food if he or she is still hungry and he or she will turn his or her head away if they are not. You should let your baby nurse when he or she is hungry, even if he or she just ate an hour ago.

As a general rule, breastfed babies often nurse 15 – 20 minutes on each side every 2 – 3 hours, while infants who are fed with formula drink about 16 – 28 ounces daily during the first month. If your baby only wants six ounces of an eight-ounce bottle, you do not have to make him drink those last two. If you are breastfeeding your baby, you cannot tell how much your baby is drinking. So, the key sign that your baby is eating well is his or her number of wet or dirty diapers. [1]

You should expect several during the first few days, then look for six or more per day when you stop producing colostrum and start to make creamy milk. The colostrum is a low–volume and high-protein milk. If your baby sleeps past a feeding, there is no need to wake her or him once he has regained his birth weight.

Most newborns lose a little weight right after they are born. But, if your baby is still below his birth weight, even by a few ounces, and sleeps through or falls asleep during feedings, you should change his diaper or give your baby a bath to wake him up and eat. If you are thinking that your baby is not eating or growing enough, then it is best to talk with your doctor or pediatrician.

How much do babies eat?

Newborns to 2 months:

During the first month, your baby needs to eat eight to twelve times on a daily basis. This is about once every two to three hours. Some babies who are breastfed can eat every 1.5 hours and up to 15 times a day. If your baby is not waking up on their own for feeding during the first few weeks, you should get him or her up to eat on a schedule. If you breastfeeding, your baby will spend about 10 – 20 minutes on your breast.

Some babies may nurse for more, but you should be sure that he or she is actually sucking and swallowing the whole time. If you are giving formula, you should plan on your baby drinking 1.5 – 3 ounces at each feeding. After about a month, your baby will start to eat at least four ounces at each feeding. As your breastfed babies get the hang of nursing, he or they will get more milk from you too. You may not notice because they will do it in less time. No matter if you are breastfeeding or bottle-feeding, as your baby grows, his or her appetite will grow too.

At 2 months:

Your baby may drink four to five ounces at each feeding, three to four hours apart.

At 4 months:

Your baby may need up to six ounces every time. Your pediatrician may encourage you to start to introduce solid foods or advice you to wait if you are still exclusively breastfeeding.

At the age of 6 months:

Some babies drink as much as 8 ounces of breastmilk or formula even as they go longer between feedings.

You should remember that the exact amount that your baby drinks will vary from day today. [2] For instance, he or she may want to eat more than normal when they are going through a growth spurt. You should trust your baby to know how much food they need. There are few signs which tell your baby is full, such as

  • Your baby shake his or her head or keep his or her mouth closed
  • Your baby falls asleep during a feeding
  • Your baby pull away from your breast or their bottle

Also, these signs can help you to know that you are not overfeeding your little one. At regular checkups, your pediatrician will let you know if your baby’s growth (height and weight) is on track.

Signs that your baby is eating enough:

When your baby is getting the right amount of food, you will see:

Your baby is active and happy:

When your child is eating well will look alert and he or she will be active. Also, your baby will seem content between feedings.

Steady weight gain:

After the first two weeks, your baby should gain about four to seven ounces per week until they are six months, and three to five ounces from six to eighteen months. [3]

Plenty of wet diapers:

The first few days after your baby was born, he or she may wet one or two diapers each day. After that, your baby should need 6 – 8 cloth (5 or 6 disposable) diaper changes every 24 hours, plus have 2 – 5 poopy ones each day. [4]

Signs that your baby is not eating enough:

There are some reasons for which you should be worried and call your doctor:

  • Your baby wet fewer diapers [4]
  • Your baby is fussy right after feedings
  • Your baby will not latch onto your breasts or he or she pulls away from you
  • Your baby would rather sleep than eat
  • Your baby will pee dark or orange crystals in his or her diaper

As a new parent, it is important to learn to trust your instincts. If you have any questions about your baby’s eating, then you should talk with his or her doctor.

What if my baby has lost weight?

It is common for babies to lose between 6% and 9% of their birth weight by a few days after the birth. But, this does not mean that your baby is not getting enough milk. The body of your baby will lose the excess fluid he or she took in while he or she was bathed in amniotic fluid in your womb. If you had extra fluids through a drip during the last six hours of your baby labor or birth, then your baby may have more fluid to lose.

When your baby will have his first poo (known as meconium), then this means that he or she will lose a bit of weight. Your baby build up meconium throughout the months he was in your womb. After a few days, when your baby’s body has adjusted to life outside your womb, he or she should start to gain weight again. If your baby has weighed when he was between 5 – 7 days, you may be able to see that he or she is starting to grow. After about 2 weeks, most babies are at or above their birth weight. [5]

Your health visitor will weigh your baby at about 2 weeks, during his or her first visit after your baby was born. This visit is a good chance for you to check that your baby is putting on weight again. If your baby is not regaining his birth weight, then your health visitor will work with you to find out the reason why this is happening, so you can get your baby back on track.

One of the hardest things for many women about settling into breastfeeding is feeling confident that you are giving your baby enough milk. You should not hesitate to ask for help from your baby feeding specialist, breastfeeding counselor, health visitor, maternity support worker, or midwife at any time. You need to remember that you cannot overfeed your breastfeeding baby.

What can I do if I do not think my baby is getting enough?

In most cases, breastfeeding problems, including low supply, can be solved more easily when the problem is addressed sooner rather than later. Even if you are not sure whether or not there is a problem, you should talk with a lactation consultant, because it can help you a lot. You will feel more relaxed and peaceful when you know that things are going well. But, if they are not going in the way you want to, you can get help to improve your breastfeeding for you and your baby.

If you think that your baby is not getting enough milk, then you can hand express your milk. You can feed the expressed milk directly into his mouth, by teaspoon or cup. If you have noticed that your baby is showing signs that he or she is not getting enough milk, you should not hesitate to seek help from a lactation peer or professional and also your baby’s health care provider. You need to remember that you are the expert on your baby. If something does not seem right, then you need to trust your intuition and reach out for help.


[1] Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. How much and how often to breastfeed. Retrieved from

[2] Appleton J, Laws R, Russell CG, et al. Infant formula feeding practices and the role of advice and support: an exploratory qualitative study. BMC Pediatrics. 2018;18:12.

[3] Lampl M, Mummert A, Schoen M. Promoting healthy growth or feeding obesity? The need for evidence-based oversight of infant nutritional supplement claims. Healthcare. 2016;4(4):84.

[4] Nommsen-Rivers LA, Heinig J, Cohen RJ, Dewey KG. Newborn wet and soiled diaper counts and timing of onset of lactation as indicators of breastfeeding inadequacy. Journal of Human Lactation. 2008;24(1):27-33.

[5] Byun J, Han JW, Youn JK, et al. Risk factors of meconium-related ileus in very low birth weight infants: patients-control study. Scientific Reports. 2020.

Merlin Joy
Merlin Joy
Holding a doctorate degree, Dr. Merlin Joy AKA Sinatra developed passion for home remedies from her mother, grand father and grandmother. Sinatra loves to read books and hiking. You can contact her through [email protected]


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