Feeding timetable for babies
How Often and How Much Should Your Baby Eat?
By: Sanjeev Jain, MD, FAAP
One of the most common questions new parents have is how often their baby should eat. The best answer is surprisingly simple: in general, babies should be fed whenever they seem hungry.
How do I know when my baby is hungry?
For babies born
prematurely or with certain medical conditions, scheduled feedings advised by your pediatrician are best. But for most healthy, full-term infants, parents can look to their baby rather than the clock for hunger cues. This is called feeding on demand, or
A hungry baby often will cry. But it's best to watch for hunger cues before the baby starts crying, which is a late sign of hunger and can make it hard for them to settle down and eat.
Some other typical hunger cues in babies:
Sticking tongue out
Rooting (moving jaw and mouth or head in search of breast)
Putting his/her hand to mouth repeatedly
Opening her mouth
Sucking on everything around
It is important to realize, however, that every time your baby cries or sucks it is not necessarily because he or she is hungry. Babies suck not only for hunger, but also for comfort; it can be hard at first for parents to tell the difference. Sometimes, your baby just needs to be cuddled or changed.
General guidelines for baby feeding
It is important to remember all babies are different―some like to snack more often, and others drink more at one time and go longer between feedings. However, most babies will drink more and go longer between feedings as they get bigger and their tummies can hold more milk:
Most newborns eat every 2 to 3 hours, or 8 to 12 times every 24 hours. Babies might only take in half ounce per feeding for the first day or two of life, but after that will usually drink 1 to 2 ounces at each feeding. This amount increases to 2 to 3 ounces by 2 weeks of age.
At about 2 months of age, babies usually take 4 to 5 ounces per feeding every 3 to 4 hours.
At 4 months, babies usually take 4 to 6 ounces per feeding.
At 6 months, babies may be taking up to 8 ounces every 4 to 5 hours.
Most babies will increase the amount of formula they drink by an average of 1 ounce each month before leveling off at about 7 to 8 ounces per feeding. Solid foods should be started at about 6 months old.
Concerns about overfeeding or underfeeding your baby
Babies are usually pretty good at eating the right amount, but they can sometimes take in more than they need. Infants who are bottle feeding may be more likely to overfeed, because drinking from a bottle may take less effort than breastfeeding.
Overfed babies can have stomach pains, gas, spit up or vomit and be at higher risk for obesity later in life. It's better to offer less, since you can always give more if your baby wants it. This also gives babies time to realize when they're full.
If you are concerned your baby wants to eat all the time―even when he or she is full―talk with your pediatrician. Pacifiers may be used after feeding to help sooth healthy-weight babies who like to suck for comfort, rather than nutrition. For babies who are breastfed, it's best to wait to offer pacifiers until around 3 to 4 weeks of age, when breastfeeding is well-established.
Trouble gaining weight?
Most babies will double their birth weight by 5 months of age and triple their birth weight by their first birthday. If your baby is having trouble gaining weight, don't wait too long between feeding―even if it means waking your baby. Be sure to talk with your pediatrician about how often and how much to feed your baby.
How do I know if my baby is getting enough to eat?
A newborn's diaper is a good indicator of whether he or she is getting enough to eat. In the first few days after birth, a baby should have 2 to 3 wet diapers each day. After the first 4 to 5 days, a baby should have at least 5 to 6 wet diapers a day. Stool frequency is more variable and depends whether your baby is breastfed or formula fed.
During regular health check-ups, your pediatrician will check your baby's weight and plot it on a growth chart. Your baby's progress on the growth chart is one way to tell whether or not they are getting enough food. Babies who stay in healthy growth percentile ranges are probably getting a healthy amount of food during feedings.
Talk with your pediatrician if you have any questions or concerns about your baby getting the right amount to eat.
- Making Sure Your Baby is Getting Enough Milk
- Amount and Schedule of Formula Feedings
- Is Your Baby Hungry or Full? Responsive Feeding Explained (Video)
- Remedies for Spitty Babies
- Ask the Pediatrician: With the baby formula shortage, what should I do if I can't find any?
- Ask the Pediatrician: How should we feed our baby if we're running low on money?
Airplane Choo Choo: A Feeding Guide for Children (National Dairy Council)
Sanjeev Jain, MD, FAAP, is a Clinical Associate Professor of General Pediatrics and Adolescent Medicine at the University of Wisconsin School of Medicine and Public Health. Within the American Academy of Pediatrics, he is a member of the Section on International Child Health and the Wisconsin State Chapter.
The information contained on this Web site should not be used as a substitute for the medical care and advice of your pediatrician. There may be variations in treatment that your pediatrician may recommend based on individual facts and circumstances.
Tips for the First Year
Eat, sleep, pee, poop, repeat. Those are the highlights in a day of the life of a brand new baby.
And if you’re a new parent, it’s the eating part that may be the source of many of your questions and worries. How many ounces should your baby take? Do you wake a sleeping baby to eat? Why do they seem hungry all the time? When can your child start solids?
Questions abound — and, despite Grandma’s insistence, the answers have changed since you were a tot. It’s now recommended that newborns, even formula-fed ones, eat on demand (consider it good preparation for the teenage years) and that babies wait to start solid foods until they’re 4 to 6 months old.
On day one of life, your baby’s stomach is the size of a marble and can only hold 1 to 1.4 teaspoons of liquid at a time. As your baby gets older, their stomach stretches and grows.
It’s hard (or impossible, really) to know how much milk your baby is taking in while breastfeeding. But if you’re bottle feeding due to any number of valid reasons, it’s a bit easier to measure.
Here, from the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP), a typical feeding schedule for bottle-fed babies.
|Age||Ounces per feeding||Solid foods|
|Up to 2 weeks of life||.5 oz. in the first days, then 1–3 oz.||No|
|2 weeks to 2 months||2–4 oz.||No|
|2–4 months||4-6 oz.||No|
|4–6 months||4–8 oz.||Possibly, if your baby can hold their head up and is at least 13 pounds. But you don’t need to introduce solid foods yet.|
|6–12 months||8 oz.||Yes. Start with soft foods, like one-grain cereals and pureed vegetables, meats, and fruits, progressing to mashed and well-chopped finger foods. Give your baby one new food at a time. Continue supplementing with breast or formula feedings.|
Every baby is unique — but one thing that’s pretty consistent is that breastfed babies eat more frequently than bottle-fed ones. That’s because breast milk is easily digested and empties from the stomach a lot quicker than formula.
There’s no rest for the weary. According to La Leche League International, you should begin nursing your baby within 1 hour of birth and provide about 8 to 12 feedings daily in the first few weeks of life (yeah, we’re exhausted for you).
At first, it’s important not to let your baby go more than 4 hours without feeding. You’ll likely need to wake them up if necessary, at least until breastfeeding is well established and they’re gaining weight appropriately.
As your baby grows and your milk supply amps up, your baby will be able to take in more milk in less time at one feeding. That’s when you might start to notice a more predictable pattern.
- 1 to 3 months: Your baby will feed 7 to 9 times per 24 hours.
- 3 months: Feedings take place 6 to 8 times in 24 hours.
- 6 months: Your baby will feed around 6 times a day.
- 12 months: Nursing may drop to about 4 times a day. The introduction of solids at about 6 months helps to fuel your baby’s additional nutritional needs.
Keep in mind that this pattern is just one example. Different babies have different paces and preferences, along with other factors that influence the frequency of feedings.
Like breastfed babies, bottle-fed newborns should eat on demand. On average, that’s about every 2 to 3 hours. A typical feeding schedule may look like this:
- Newborn: every 2 to 3 hours
- At 2 months: every 3 to 4 hours
- At 4 to 6 months: every 4 to 5 hours
- At 6+ months: every 4 to 5 hours
For both breastfed and bottle-fed babies
- Don’t give liquids other than formula or breast milk to babies under a year old. That includes juices and cow’s milk. They don’t provide the right (if any) nutrients and can be upsetting to your baby’s tummy. Water can be introduced around 6 months when you start offering a cup.
- Don’t add baby cereal to a bottle.
- It can create a choking hazard.
- A baby’s digestive system isn’t mature enough to handle cereal until about 4 to 6 months of age.
- You could overfeed your baby.
- Don’t give your baby any form of honey until after their first birthday. Honey can be dangerous for a baby, occasionally causing what’s called infant botulism.
- Do adjust your expectations based on your baby and their unique needs. Premature babies are likely to follow feeding patterns according to their adjusted age. If your baby has challenges like reflux or failure to thrive, you may need to work with your doctor on the appropriate feeding schedule and amount they should be eating.
Schedules are the holy grail of every parent. Your child will naturally start to fall into a feeding pattern as their tummy grows and they can take in more breast milk or formula at one sitting. This may begin to happen between 2 and 4 months of age.
For now, though, focus on learning your baby’s hunger cues, such as:
- rooting around your chest, looking for a nipple.
- putting their fist in their mouth
- smacking or licking their lips
- fussing that can escalate quickly (don’t wait until your baby’s hangry to feed them)
Once your baby is a few months old, you may be able to introduce a sleep/feed schedule that works for you.
Let’s say, for example, your 4-month-old wakes every 5 hours for a feeding. That means if you feed at 9 p.m., your baby wakes around 2 a.m. But if you wake and feed the baby at 11 p.m., just before you go to bed, they may not rouse until 4 a.m., giving you a decent chunk of nighttime winks.
In general, if your baby seems hungry, feed them. Your baby will naturally eat more frequently during growth spurts, which typically occur around 3 weeks, 3 months, and 6 months of age.
Some babies will also “cluster feed,” meaning they’ll feed more frequently during certain periods and less at others. For example, your baby may cluster feed during the late afternoon and evening and then sleep longer at night (yay!). This is more common in breastfed babies than bottle fed babies.
Worried about overfeeding? While this isn’t really possible to do with an exclusively breastfed baby, you can overfeed a baby who’s taking a bottle — especially if they’re sucking on the bottle for comfort. Follow their hunger cues, but talk to your pediatrician if you’re worried your little one may be overeating.
Your baby is probably ready for solids if they’re 4 to 6 months old and:
- have good head control
- seem interested in what you’re eating
- reach for food
- weigh 13 or more pounds
Which food to start with? The AAP now says it doesn’t really matter much in what order you introduce foods. The only real rule: Stick with one food for 3 to 5 days before offering another. If there’s an allergic reaction (rash, diarrhea, vomiting are common first signs), you’ll know which food is causing it.
As your baby grows, move from pureed baby food to ones that have more texture (for example, mashed banana, scrambled egg, or well-cooked, chopped pasta). This generally happens around 8 to 10 months of age.
Your supermarket offers a variety of baby food products, but if you want to make your own, keep it sugar and salt free. Additionally, at this stage, don’t feed your baby anything that could be a choking hazard, including:
- hard foods, such as popcorn or nuts
- hard, fresh fruits, like apples; cook to soften or chop into very small pieces
- any meat that isn’t well cooked and very well chopped (this includes hot dogs)
- cheese cubes
- peanut butter (though talk to your pediatrician about this one — and the benefits of introducing diluted peanut butter before the age of 1)
As your baby nears their first birthday, they should be eating a variety of foods and taking in about 4 ounces of solids at each meal. Continue to offer breast milk or formula. By 8 months, babies are drinking about 30 ounces a day.
Oh yeah, and buy some stock in a company that makes stain-fighting laundry detergent. It’ll pay for college.
Babies aren’t cookie cutter. Some will gain weight easily, while others will have problems. Things that can affect a baby’s weight gain include:
- having a birth defect like a cleft lip or palate, which creates problems feeding
- having a milk protein intolerance
- being premature
- being fed with a bottle versus the breast
A 2012 study of more than 1,800 babies found that the infants who were fed with a bottle — regardless of whether the bottle contained breast milk or formula — gained more weight in the first year than babies who nursed exclusively.
Your baby’s doctor is the best one to advise you on a healthy weight range for your baby.
How, when, and what to feed a baby are top worries of every parent — but there’s good news: Most babies are pretty good judges of when they’re hungry and when they’re full — and they’ll let you know it.
You just need to present them with the right choices at the right time and pay attention to their cues. If you have any questions or concerns, your pediatrician is there to help you along the way.
Daily routine for a child under 1 year old
Daily routine is a system for distributing periods of sleep and wakefulness, meals, hygiene and health procedures, activities and independent human activities throughout the day.
Compliance with a rational daily routine corresponding to the age characteristics of the child contributes to his healthy growth and development. Getting used to performing various types of activities at the same time, the child is prepared for the upcoming type of activity at every moment of time, which ensures their easier and faster implementation. Compliance with the correct daily routine provides a good mood for the child and maintains a keen interest in the study of the world around him, contributing to his normal motor and psychoverbal development.
The child's daily routine includes the following obligatory elements: diet, time spent outdoors during the day, frequency and duration of sleep, mandatory classes to develop skills in accordance with age, free time.
In the first months after birth, a healthy newborn baby sleeps for most of the day, since all external stimuli are very strong for the nervous system of a child, accustomed to a cozy intrauterine environment, and cause its rapid exhaustion. As the child grows older, the duration of sleep gradually decreases and the time of wakefulness increases.
|Age||Daytime sleep mode||Night sleep||Wake mode|
|From birth to 2 months||6 x 2.5 hours||6 hours||During feeding|
|2-4 months||5 times 2-2.5 hours||6.5 hours||4 x 1.5 hours|
|4-6 months||4-5 times for 2 hours||7 hours||4 times 2 hours|
|6-9 months||3-4 times for 1. 5-2 hours||8 hours||4 x 2.5 hours|
|9-12 months||2 x 1.5-2 hours||9-10 hours||4 times for 3-4 hours|
Closely related to the sleep-wake mode is the feeding mode of the baby. The sleep of a child in the first months of life is very sensitive and is easily disturbed under the influence of various extraneous stimuli, including hunger.
|From birth to 2 months||7-8 times, every 3 hours||6,9,12,15,18,21,24 (no night feeding)|
|From 2 to 6 months||6-7 times, every 3.5 hours|| |
6, 9.30, 13, 16.30, 20, 23.30 (without night feeding)
6, 9.30, 13, 16.30, 20, 23.30, 03 (with night feeding)
|From 7-12 months||5 times, every 4 hours||6,10,14,18,22|
A child's stay in the fresh air is essential in the daily routine. The total duration of stay in the open air for children under 1 year of age should be at least 5-6 hours a day. Fresh air has a calming effect on the baby, improves metabolic processes, and increases the body's defenses. In the summer, all games and activities should be held outdoors; in the cold and transitional seasons, two one-time walks of 1.5-2 hours are provided.
Fresh air also has a beneficial effect on sleep. By acting on the skin and mucous membranes of the nose and upper respiratory tract, it provides a faster fall asleep of the child and a higher quality of sleep. Sleeping outside can replace a walk, especially during the cold season.
The child's daily routine is generally individual, but ideally, one should strive to ensure that the child eats after waking up, and then stays awake until the next sleep. A well-slept baby eats with appetite and then calmly and actively plays or engages, and tired of games, easily goes to sleep.
When your baby is awake, try to keep him active and cheerful. It is necessary to dress the child in loose clothing that does not hinder movement, provide access to toys appropriate for his age, and most importantly, actively participate in games and activities with the baby as a whole family.
Author - Physiotherapist - DMITRIENKO T.G.
child development from 0 to 1 month
The long-awaited day has come and we finally arrived home with the baby from the hospital. And now, in place of the hospital calmness, where everything seemed so clear, a wave of emotions swept over me. When and how often should I put him to bed? How to combine sleep and feeding from the first days? Should a child have a regime or should not organize a clear schedule?
All the knowledge was in theory, but it was not easy to put it into practice. Therefore, I share recommendations that it is good for a young mother to know in order to survive such a difficult first month!
Before we talk about the baby's daily routine, it's useful to remember a few facts about the sleep of babies of this age: Yes, all children are different - some sleep more, others less. But in general, babies need to sleep about 16-18 hours a day.
Considering these facts, we can say that it is difficult to create a clear day schedule of 1 month.
Daytime dreams will not differ from nighttime. During the day, a newborn baby can sleep both 3-4 hours and 20-40 minutes in one dream.
The longest period of sleep can occur in a day.
How do you know when a baby wants to sleep again? Focus on signs of fatigue in a child: if he rubs his eyes, looks at one point, sucks his thumb, then it's time for him to sleep. It is also recommended not to exceed the awake time for more than 50-60 minutes if the previous sleep was more than an hour. If the sleep was less than an hour, the period of activity of the crumbs will be the same amount of time. Overworking the child leads to long bedtimes, restless sleep at night and an incomprehensible daily routine.
Sleep at night
Sleep can be about 7-10 hours at night. The baby will wake up for feeding. If in the evening your baby began to cry non-stop for several hours, it may be colic. The period of colic lasts up to 6-8 weeks. After feeding, hold the baby upright - this will help his digestion, do a light massage of the tummy.
If you suspect that crying is not related to colic, be sure to contact your doctor. If you are formula feeding, talk to your pediatrician - it is possible that changing infant formula will improve the baby's condition.
Confusion of day and night
Until 6-8 weeks of age, babies may confuse day and night due to an immature biological clock.
Take your baby out to bright light during the day and dim the lights at home in the evening. Use a night light with a warm, low light at night during feedings and diaper changes.
How to make it clear to a child of 1 month of age that it is time to start the day or go to bed?
Rituals will come to the rescue - daily repeated actions after waking up or going to bed. In the morning it can be hygiene procedures, and in the evening - bathing, quiet games, swaddling and a lullaby.
To prevent SIDS (Sudden Infant Death Syndrome), certain rules are followed when organizing a baby bed.
Always place your newborn on their back. This is the safest position for a baby right now.
Avoid overheating the baby - it is more dangerous for him than the cold. Therefore, pay attention to the temperature in the room: it should not exceed 21-23 degrees in winter and 25 degrees in summer.
The child needs to sleep on a flat, firm surface, without blankets, pillows, bumpers, toys or other things.
A separate nursery is not needed for up to six months, and sometimes up to a year - a crib in the parents' room is an ideal option for a child to relax. You can remove one wall of the crib and attach it to the bed of the parents. So the baby will be as close as possible to mom at night, but at the same time on a separate surface.
Tips to help your newborn sleep
Feeding your newborn
Feeding on demand is considered to be the best way to manage your newborn's diet.
In the early days, breastfeed as often as possible. This stimulates milk production. We feed from 15 to 90 minutes. Prolonged feeding allows a newborn baby not only to satisfy hunger, but also to survive the stress after childbirth and get used to the new world. After the baby is likely to fall asleep. Night feedings are equally important for both the baby and the mother. They will mostly occur every 3-4 hours.
To improve lactation, also try to feed in the early hours of the night.
If a breastfed baby is eating well and gaining weight, he does not need additional food and fluids until 4-6 months of age.
An important part of the daily routine of a newborn this month.