Sunday, October 26, 2008
How much should your baby eat?
One of the most common questions my clients ask is "how much should my baby be eating?" and the answer might surprise you.
For nursed babies who are healthy and weight-gaining, the answer is exactly what they are already eating. Now, I realize this isn't the answer most new parents are looking for when they worry about their baby's health. As long as your nursling is gaining weight (1/2 - 1 oz per day), has several wet diapers and bowel movements and is content between feedings, he's probably eating precisely what his body needs.
For your bottle fed baby, there are a couple of easy guidelines for knowing how much to offer your baby. The first is the most simple, but not quite as accurate. Take your baby's weight in pounds and multiply by 2.5. For example: an 8 pound baby should eat around 20 ounces in 24 hours. 8 x 2.5 = 20.
This is just a guideline! It's okay if your little one takes in 22 oz or only 18. Just be sure your baby has at least 6 wet diapers a day and is steadily gaining weight.
My favorite way to calculate the amount you offer your baby is to convert the baby's weight into ounces and divide by 6. For example: a 7 lb 6 oz baby weighs 118 ounces, divided by 6 equals 19.7 ounces per day (rounded up). 7 x 16 = 112 + 6 = 118/6 = 19.7.
Spread the total equally over the whole day. For some babies, this might be 8 feedings or for others it might be 6 feedings. As babies get older, they require fewer feedings each day , but are able to eat a larger amount at each feeding.
The bottom line is this: don't worry so much! Just in case you do tend to worry, now you know how to estimate what your newborn is likely to eat.
Best wishes for healthy, happy babies,