How Often Should I Feed My Newborn?

newborn being breastfed

As you can imagine, newborn babies have tiny little stomachs that can’t hold much milk! They need to be fed frequently to keep their hunger at bay. As a new parent, it is easy to be left wondering how often your baby needs to be fed and how much they need to eat during each feed. In this article, we will run through the answers to some common questions about breastfeeding your newborn.

How Often Do You Feed Newborns?

Newborn babies need to be fed as often as 8-12 times a day. This means that they need to be fed every 2-3 hours, including during the night! During their first few days of life, your baby might need to feed even more frequently, around every 1-2 hours. As your little one grows, they will be able to go longer and longer between feeds.

Newborns should be fed on demand, which means whenever they show signs of hunger. Common newborn hunger signs can include rooting around for a nipple, sucking on their hands, and making sucking noises. It is important to feed your baby whenever they show these signs of hunger, even if it hasn’t been long since their last feed.

Your newborn's feeding schedule should be flexible. Let your baby feed for as long as they want on one breast before offering the other breast. This ensures that they are getting enough milk and helps to stimulate your milk production over time!

How Much Colostrum Does a Newborn Need?

Colostrum comes in a few days before your little one is born and is the first thing they’ll eat before your milk comes in. It is rich in nutrients and antibodies that help to protect the newborn's immune system. It’s important to remember that this has all of the goodness necessary, and this is all they need at this stage!

The amount of colostrum a newborn needs can vary, but typically they will only need small amounts. So, don’t worry if it seems like they aren’t taking much in each feed, it only takes a tiny amount for them to feel full. As your little one grows and their stomach expands, they will need more milk to satisfy their hunger.

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Newborn Breastfeeding Schedule

Breastfeeding your newborn can be challenging, especially in the early days. However, there are some general guidelines that can help you establish a breastfeeding schedule for your newborn.

During the first few days of life, lots of new mums worry that they aren’t producing enough milk, simply because of how often their little one wants to feed!

As mentioned, in the early days you should let your baby feed whenever they show signs of hunger, and not limit their feedings to a strict schedule. This is the best way to stimulate your milk production and ensure that your baby is getting enough milk from the get-go!

As your milk comes in, you may notice that your baby starts to feed more frequently. This is because they are trying to stimulate your milk production and get more milk. Your little one will soon develop their own breastfeeding schedule, and you’ll get better at picking up on the hunger cues that they show you. 

The first week or two of breastfeeding your newborn can be challenging, no matter how much research you do or how many children you already have! It’s important to stick with it and get to know when your little one is telling you that they’re feeling hungry again.

If things aren’t getting easier and you’re worried about how much your newborn is eating, don’t be afraid to reach out to your GP or your newborn health visitor.

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