The proof is on the scale and in the diapers. As long as your baby is growing normally, you can trust him to let you know if he needs more. Babies will cry for more food if they're still hungry and turn their head away if they're not. Let him nurse when he's hungry, even if he just ate an hour ago. As a general rule, infants who are fed formula drink about 16 to 28 ounces daily during the first month, while breastfed babies often nurse about 15 to 20 minutes on each side every two to three hours. If you're bottle-feeding, don't worry about the exact amount he drinks. If your baby only wants 6 ounces of an 8-ounce bottle, you don't have to make him drink those last two.
If you breastfeed, you can't tell how much your newborn is drinking, so a key sign that baby is eating well is her number of wet or dirty diapers -- expect several during the first few days, then look for six or more per day when you stop producing colostrum (a low-volume, high-protein milk) and start to make a creamy milk. If your baby sleeps past a feeding, there is no need to wake him once he has regained his birth weight (most newborns lose a little weight right after they're born). But if he is still below his birth weight (even by a few ounces) and sleeps through or falls asleep during feedings, change his diaper or give him a bath to wake him up to eat. If you're worried that he's not eating or growing enough, see your pediatrician. --Sharlene K. Johnson and Sharon Anne Waldrop
Copyright 2009 Meredith Corporation.