How Much Should Baby Eat?
Wouldn't it be nice if babies came with an instruction manual? One of the most helpful chapters would be the "What to Feed Me" chapter. First, there are the nagging questions, such as: Is he getting enough to eat? Is he getting too much? Plus, you have so many choices, and that brings the added stress of making the right decisions for your child's nutrition. Here's an easy-to-understand, user-friendly guide to help make feeding time more fun for you and your baby.
Drink Up! (0 to 6 Months)
For the first 4 to 6 months of your baby's life, the only nutrition she needs is breast milk or formula. During the first month or so, a baby will need to eat "on demand." This means that instead of trying to force a set feeding schedule, it's better to feed her whenever she gets hungry. It may be an hour after the last feeding began, or three hours, but during these early days and weeks her tummy isn't on any set schedule. Look for hunger cues such as tongue thrusting, lip smacking, head turning and "rooting," and sucking on fingers or fists. Feedings go much more smoothly if you recognize the signs of hunger before the hunger cries begin.
Formula-fed babies will need an average of 16 to 28 ounces of formula per day during the first month. Breastfeeding is obviously more difficult to quantify, but in general, babies will nurse at least 15 to 20 minutes per feeding, receiving 6 to 8 ounces of breast milk. By the time your baby is celebrating her 4-month birthday, she'll be taking up to 24 to 40 ounces a day. No wonder babies grow faster during these months than at any other time in their life!