How long after birth does baby feed
Baby's first 24 hours | Pregnancy Birth and BabyBaby's first 24 hours | Pregnancy Birth and Baby beginning of content
The first day of your new baby’s life is thrilling and exhausting for both of you. This page explains what your newborn baby can sense, and how the umbilical cord and placenta can be managed. It has general information for you if you have had a healthy, full-term pregnancy – 37 to 42 weeks’ gestation.
What will my newborn baby look like?
When your baby is born, their skin might be blue and mottled. They are likely to be covered in amniotic fluid, blood and vernix, which is a cheesy white substance. This is normal.
Their skin will start to become pink as they start to breathe — which is about a minute after birth. Your baby’s hands and feet may still appear blueish for several hours.
The amniotic fluid and the vernix are there because they were there in the womb. They are important for your baby to be able to smell and taste after birth. These familiar things help your baby to feel secure outside the womb.
Birth of the placenta and cutting the umbilical cord
After you have given birth to your baby, you will have more contractions that will help you deliver the placenta. Once this happens, the umbilical cord, which is connected to the placenta, will be clamped in two places and cut. Your support person might be invited to cut the cord.
After a normal vaginal birth, your newborn baby will be put on your chest for skin-to-skin contact. Your baby needs sleep and food, and they need to feel secure and warm, so they need to feel your skin.
Doing this simple thing:
- reduces newborn crying
- helps start and sustain breastfeeding
- helps maintain your baby’s body temperature
After this first contact, they will be weighed, measured and observed to make sure they are healthy.
If you have a caesarean section, ask your midwife to make sure your baby has skin-to-skin contact with you as early as possible. It may be possible for you or your partner to hold your baby-skin-to skin in theatre and in recovery.
Babies start to show signs of wanting to feed soon after birth and usually attach and suck at the breast about 50 minutes after birth. They may then breastfeed for an hour or more. Put your baby against your chest, and they will probably find your breast and start feeding. If that doesn’t happen, you can ask your midwife or a lactation consultant for help.
The first milk you make is called 'colostrum'. It’s thick and often yellowish, rather than pure white. It’s the ideal milk for your baby. Normally a small amount is produced — your baby’s tummy is just the size of a marble.
If they haven’t fed an hour or so after birth, try again a couple of hours later. You can also express some colostrum to feed to your baby on a spoon.
Weighing and measuring
After skin-to-skin contact and the first breastfeed, your midwife might offer to weigh your baby, and measure your baby’s length and head circumference. Your baby doesn’t need to be washed for at least 24 hours.
At the time of weighing, your midwife will also offer to give your baby a vitamin K injection to prevent bleeding from vitamin K deficiency.
Cord blood collection if you are Rh negative
If your blood group is Rh negative, some blood will be taken from the umbilical cord to determine whether your baby’s blood group is compatible.
Your baby will stay with you so you can bond and respond easily to their needs. They’ll probably sleep soon after their first feed, and that might last 6 hours or so. They will probably sleep for more than half of their first day in the world.
One of the main observations made after birth is called an Apgar score. It assesses your baby’s adjustment to life outside the womb. The Apgar score is measured at 1 minute and 5 minutes after birth while the baby is on your chest. Sometimes it is measured again at 10 minutes after birth.
It records your baby’s heart rate, breathing, colour, muscle tone and reflexes. The maximum score is 10. A score of 7 or above usually means your baby is doing well. It is not an ability or intelligence test, and it doesn’t predict your baby’s health later in life.
What will my newborn baby see, hear, smell, taste and feel?
Your baby has been listening to your voice for the last half of your pregnancy and will recognise it when you speak to them after birth. Your partner or support person’s voice may also be familiar if they have also been talking near your baby. Your baby will feel secure when they hear your voices and may respond by turning their head towards you. Your baby will also be able to hear your heart beating as they did in the womb.
Your baby’s vision is blurred at birth but they will be able to focus on your face from about 30 centimetres away. This is called the ‘cuddle distance’. It is roughly the distance from your breast to your face. Your baby will make the connection between what they hear and what they see.
Your baby will smell and taste the amniotic fluid and your colostrum, which has a similar flavour.
Urine and meconium
Within the first 24 hours your baby will probably pass urine and meconium (newborn faeces) at least once. Meconium is black and sticky. Your baby’s poo will change colour and consistency over the next few days.
You can call Pregnancy, Birth and Baby, 7 days a week on 1800 882 436 to speak with a maternal child health nurse to find out more.
Sources:Cochrane (Early skin-to-skin contact for mothers and their healthy newborn infants), National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) (NICE Guideline CG37: Postnatal care up to 8 weeks after birth), World Health Organization (WHO) (Recommendations on newborn health), Raising Children Network (After baby is born: what to expect in the first few hours), Australian Breastfeeding Association (Breastfeeding timeline)
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Last reviewed: September 2022
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Breastfeeding from the first hour of birth: What works and what hurts
Here’s what it takes to make sure mothers have a supportive environment for early and continuous breastfeeding.
by Leah Selim
31 July 2018
Whether delivery takes place in a hut in a rural village or a hospital in a major city, putting newborns to the breast within the first hour after birth gives them the best chance to survive, thrive and develop to their full potential.
UNICEF and WHO recommend exclusive breastfeeding for the first six months of life, starting within an hour of birth. Continuing to breastfeed exclusively – without any other food – for the first six months promotes sensory and cognitive development, and protects babies against infectious and chronic diseases.
But mothers cannot be expected to do it alone. Early and exclusive breastfeeding needs to be supported by hospitals and birthing centres, healthcare workers, governments and families. When it comes to supporting breastfeeding from the first hour after childbirth, here’s what works, and what hurts:
What works: Skin-to-skin contact immediately after birth
Immediate skin-to-skin contact helps regulate newborns’ body temperature and exposes them to beneficial bacteria from their mother’s skin. These good bacteria protect babies from infectious diseases and help build their immune systems.
Skin-to-skin contact immediately after birth until the end of the first breastfeeding has many other benefits as well. It has been shown to increase the chances that babies are breastfed, to extend the length of breastfeeding, and also to improve rates of exclusive breastfeeding.
What hurts: Supplemental foods or liquids for newborns
Giving newborns liquids or food other than breastmilk in the first days of life is common in many parts of the world, and is often linked to cultural norms, family practices or hospital policies and procedures that are not based on scientific evidence. These practices vary by country and may include throwing away colostrum – a mother’s “first milk” rich in antibodies – or having a doctor or elder family member give the newborn specific liquids or foods, like formula, sugar water or honey. These practices can delay a baby’s first critical contact with his or her mother.
>> Read the report: Early initiation of breastfeeding – the best start for every newborn
UNICEF/UN0155822/Zammit A health worker looks on as a new mother holds her baby to her chest, Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia.
What works: Delivering in baby-friendly hospitals
A hospital or health centre that is ‘baby-friendly’ provides the support women need to breastfeed – specifically by following the Ten Steps to Successful Breastfeeding. These facilities also counsel mothers who cannot or have decided not to breastfeed by teaching them how to use donor milk or feed safely with formula.
In countries like Sri Lanka and Turkmenistan, baby-friendly hospitals have been instrumental to increasing rates of breastfeeding. Almost 90% of women in Turkmenistan, and almost all mothers in Sri Lanka give birth in hospitals certified as baby-friendly, and both of the countries have high rates of early breastfeeding initiation.
What hurts: Caesarean sections without support for breastfeeding
Globally, caesarean sections (C-section) rates have continually risen over the past decade, and in many countries, early initiation of breastfeeding is significantly lower in newborns delivered by C-section.
Mothers who deliver by C-section usually face multiple challenges after childbirth, like managing the effects of anesthesia, recovering from surgery, and finding help to hold the baby safely. But with the right support – training birth attendants, putting breastfeeding policies in maternal wards, and involving fathers in breastfeeding – most newborns delivered by C-section can be put to the breast within the first hour.
UNICEF/UN065254/Phelps Zainab Kamara, supported by her mother, breastfeeds one of her twin sons, 3-month-old Alhassan Cargo, in Karineh Village in Sierra Leone.
What works: Birth attendants trained to support breastfeeding
In Rwanda, the proportion of deliveries with skilled birth attendants more than doubled from 2005 to 2014, with nearly all births in health facilities being assisted by skilled birth attendants. The rates of early initiation of breastfeeding also increased significantly during this time. This progress was in part thanks to new policies instituted by the Government to support breastfeeding in hospitals.
Rwanda now has 45,000 community health workers who counsel mothers about feeding practices and safe deliveries. And while the rate of C-sections nearly doubled from 2010 to 2013, this jump did not impact early breastfeeding – a finding that reveals the power of well-trained health professionals.
What hurts: Outdated practices
While skilled birth attendants have the potential to play a crucial role to ensure new mothers breastfeed their newborns, they may not necessarily do so. If staff members are not trained and facilities have outdated practices – such as separating newborns and mothers without medical justification or giving other liquids or foods to newborns – it may hurt the rates of early initiation of breastfeeding.
By 2014 in Viet Nam, nearly all women (94%) were giving birth in health facilities, compared to just 64% in 2006. But at the same time, there was a drop in early initiation of breastfeeding, with rates decreasing by nearly 40%. In response, in 2016 the Ministry of Health approved national guidelines that emphasize skin-to-skin contact immediately after birth and support breastfeeding within the first hour after birth.
UNICEF/UN0212492/Noorani During a one-to-one counseling session, nurses help a woman with an infant with proper breastfeeding technique at UNICEF supported health centre in Kafr Shukr town, Egypt.
Giving mothers all the support they need to start breastfeeding within the first hour after childbirth provides immense health benefits. But we cannot stop there. Mothers should have the freedom to continue to breastfeed for as long as they choose. It’s our collective responsibility to remove the barriers in our society that make breastfeeding so difficult.
What works: Paid family leave
Working women should not have to decide between breastfeeding and working. The International Labour Organization recommends that governments give women the right to 18 weeks of paid maternity leave and ensure they have time and space for continuing breastfeeding when they return to work. UNICEF recommends using these guidelines as a minimum requirement.
What hurts: Workplaces without breastfeeding-friendly policies
When women do return to work, they need support from their employers to continue breastfeeding. The right to breastfeed in the workplace is critical to women who wish to continue breastfeeding their children, as are sufficient time and appropriate spaces for breastfeeding or expressing and storing breastmilk.
Learn more about the benefits of breastfeeding
Mini parenting masterclass: Breastfeeding
Busted: 14 myths about breastfeeding
How Much Should a Newborn Baby EatSearch Support Icon
Home ›› How Much Milk Should a Newborn Baby Drink?
Home ›› How much milk should a newborn baby drink?
Like every new mom, you're probably wondering, "How often should a newborn eat?" and “How many milliliters does a newborn baby drink at a time?”. A mother's body is designed to provide her baby with all the nutrients she needs, but every mom needs practical advice and confidence when it comes to how much milk a newborn should drink.
Whether you are breastfeeding, bottle feeding or a combination, here you will find all the information you need to know about how much food your baby needs to grow and develop properly.
Signs indicating that the child is hungry
Every mother has a wonderful maternal instinct, but we cannot guess the child's desires from the first time. Over time, you will learn your child's unique gestures and body movements, as well as signs that he is hungry. In the meantime, here are some of the most common signs that a child is hungry:
- turns head towards your breast or bottle;
- puts pens in mouth;
- pouts, smacks or licks lips.
If your child is showing any of these signs, they are probably trying to tell you it's time to eat. Ideally, your baby should be fed on demand when he is hungry. If you're breastfeeding, on-demand feeding is a good way to keep your milk supply going as your body will naturally respond to your baby's needs and continue to produce the required amount of milk. Bottle-feeding on demand can also be beneficial for your baby, as it allows him to self-regulate his feeding needs.
How much breast milk should a newborn drink?
So, how much should a newborn baby eat? A remarkable feature of each child is its uniqueness, so it would be wrong to feed the baby strictly according to the instructions. Don't panic if the recommendations below don't fit your own feeding schedule, but please contact your healthcare provider or pediatrician if you have any questions.
Although every baby is different, newborns typically eat every two to three hours, for a total of 8 to 12 meals a day.
How many milliliters does a newborn baby drink? At the very beginning, your body will only produce a small amount of yellowish and thick breast milk called colostrum. This milk is an ideal source of nutrients that your newborn needs, in addition, it has many immunological components. 1
How much milk does a newborn baby drink? Infants drink 30-60 ml per feeding, while this volume increases to 60-90 ml by two weeks of age. So don't worry if you don't feel like your body is producing much milk in those first few days after your baby is born! Feeding times will also vary, ranging from 10 to 30 minutes at the very beginning and then gradually increasing as your baby grows.
How much breastmilk the baby takes if bottle feeding
If you choose to bottle feed your baby from time to time, do so at the same intervals and for the same period of time as if you were breastfeeding. Pumping is a great option for breastfeeding your baby. It will allow you to separate from the baby if necessary and at the same time retain all the benefits of breastfeeding.
It's also important to get a bottle that helps make bottle feeding more natural for both you and your baby. For example, take a look at this Philips Natural bottle. Its wide, physiologically shaped nipple promotes a natural latch that is identical to that of a mother's breast, making it easier to alternate between bottle and breastfeeding.
Natural Baby BottleSCF033/27
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the child is full
How to understand that the child is already full? When breastfeeding or bottle feeding, look out for the following signs that may indicate that your newborn baby is full:
- baby closes his mouth;
- turns head away from bottle or breast;
- handles are not clenched and relaxed;
- falls asleep quickly.
If the baby shows signs of fullness, stop breastfeeding or bottle feeding, even if the bottle is not yet empty. 2
The right choice for you and your baby
Remember that every child is different and no one is as close to you as you are. Choose the feeding option that works best for you and your newborn, whether breastfeeding, bottle feeding, or a combination.
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how much milk a child needs for 1 feeding, the rate of formula and breast milk
The birth of a baby is a very joyful event. However, along with the joy of parents, many more questions arise. After all, it is so important that the baby grows up healthy and actively develops. One of the first such questions is usually: "How much does a newborn eat per feeding?" It would seem that feeding is such a natural process that it should not cause difficulties. However, most mothers are concerned that the baby does not have enough milk or, on the contrary, he overeats. How to strike a balance? Let's talk about it in this article.
Breastfeeding is good for both the baby and the mother:
- it helps the baby to get the substances necessary for growth, development and immunity and just satisfy hunger;
- promotes active contraction of the woman's uterus (under the influence of sucking movements) and a faster recovery process after childbirth.
Newborns eat little, their sucking reflex is just developing and is beginning to be put into practice. In addition, a woman's milk is not produced immediately. In the mammary glands at the end of pregnancy and in the first hours after childbirth, colostrum is formed. This is not exactly milk, it even outwardly differs from mature milk, and in its chemical composition it is similar to blood. This is a very valuable product. It is high in fat and contains immunoglobulins and antitoxins, which strengthen the immune system and protect the baby's body from infections. After a few days, colostrum is replaced by transitional milk. It is lighter, but also quite oily.
Read also: Complementary foods for artificial feeding
This is important!
A mother should not worry that her baby was hungry, even if she applied it 10 times to the breast, but it seems that he did not eat almost a drop. The size of the stomach of a newborn is very small, so only about 10 ml is eaten per feeding. Thus, for the whole day the baby can drink up to 100 ml.
On average, milk arrives 3-4 days after birth and its quantity gradually increases. The stomach of the baby also grows. This means that the amount of milk consumed also increases. So, for the first day, a newborn can drink 10 ml per feeding, for the second day - 20 ml, and for the third - 30 ml. But remember that each organism is individual and there are no strict limits here. However, if by the 4-5th day of life the child's body weight does not increase, but only decreases (by more than 8%), then this requires the attention of a specialist.
There is a folk way to determine the rate of consumption of breast milk. You need to multiply the number of days that have passed since the day of birth by 10. But this method is inaccurate and has no scientific confirmation.
So how much should a newborn eat per feeding? The table shows the daily and one-time volume of milk by months for children under 1 year old.
Molo volume for one feeding (ml)
Milk rate per day (ml)
|3–4 days||9000 9-60|| |
200-300 9000 9000 9000 9000 9000 9000 9000 9000 9000 9000 9000 9000 9000 9000 9000 9000 9000 9000 9000 9000 9000 9000 9000 9000 9000
| 9000-9 |
1/6 body weight
1/7 body weight
1/8–1/9 body weight
It is not necessary breastfeeding, complementary foods are introduced at about 6 months. This means that the amount of milk consumed is reduced, giving way to more adult foods.
How to calculate the amount eaten
In terms of measuring the amount eaten, formula feeding seems to be just perfect. Here is a bottle with a scale, here is water, here is a measuring spoon. However, in terms of its benefits, formula milk will never be compared with breast milk. And besides, making measurements is not as difficult as it seems at first glance. Babies just need to be weighed before and after feeding on a baby scale. To ensure the accuracy of the result, you need to weigh several times a day. If nothing threatens the health of the baby, he does not look thin and pale, develops according to age, and the mother has enough milk, then monthly weighing in the clinic is usually enough.
For breastfed babies, there is a rule - to put the baby to the breast on demand. Previously, it was believed that it was necessary to maintain an interval of 3 hours, but now pediatricians agree that the breaks between feedings can be 1. 5–2 hours. This does not mean at all that the baby will overeat.
Video: Does a child get enough food in the first months of life?
Author: pediatrician, Ph.D. Komarovsky E.O.
The duration of one feeding is usually 15-30 minutes. Although there are deviations from the norm. For example, a woman has a lot of milk, and the child is full in 5-10 minutes. Or, on the contrary, there is not enough milk, and the baby can suck out the remains for a long time. Some babies just enjoy suckling and use their mother's breast as a pacifier.
What is important to consider
At first, mother and baby are only getting used to the ongoing changes, so the feeding regimen may not be ideal. However, you should adhere to the following rules.
- In the first couple of weeks, a woman needs a lot of dedication, because the interests of the child in the matter of satisfying hunger come to the fore. You can’t refuse food to a baby, even if it costs a sleepless night.
- If there is any doubt that the child is undernourished or overeating, it is best to start monitoring the frequency of feedings. So, you need to mark the time at which the baby was really hungry, mark the intervals between feedings. This information may also be useful at the appointment with the pediatrician.
- It is impossible to establish a clear feeding regime, as with artificial feeding, especially in the first weeks after birth. Maintaining intervals of more than 2–3 hours during the day and 3–4 hours at night is highly discouraged.
- Do not try to force feed your baby. He is still too young to realize the need for food, and is guided solely by his feeling of hunger. If the baby persistently refuses the breast, you need to try to offer him to eat a little later. If the interval is too large, it is better to contact a specialist for advice.
- It is important that your baby latch on correctly. His mouth should capture not only the nipple, but also the areola. Thus, the milk will properly enter the mouth, and the woman will reduce the risk of cracked nipples.
- Soothers and bottles are not recommended for breastfed babies. Such products can reduce the intensity of sucking movements.
- It is best to give your baby only one breast at a time. In the mammary gland, fore milk is formed, with which the baby quenches his thirst, and hind milk, with which he "eats up", since it is more nutritious in composition.
- Hold the baby upright for about 10 minutes after each feeding. This helps to free the tummy from air and excess milk.
As a rule, with a normal feeding regimen and a sufficient amount of milk from the mother, the weight of the child increases by 500–600 g by a month.
Features of artificial feeding Now consider the situation when the mother does not have the opportunity to breastfeed the baby. In this case, it is necessary to choose a quality milk formula that will cover the nutritional needs.The pediatrician should help in this matter. The doctor will always take into account the peculiarities of the child's health and will be able to advise a regular or medicinal product. Do not forget that when breastfeeding, the baby makes more effort. He drinks milk gradually and feels full. When feeding with a formula, a strict dosage is needed, since usually saturation does not come immediately, and the baby may require a supplement that he does not really need (the feeling of hunger should disappear after a few minutes).
Almost all known mixtures require 8 or 7 meals a day with an interval of 3 hours. Night feedings are also included. When the baby grows up a little, it will be possible to skip them and sleep 5-6 hours until morning. With regard to formula milk, the principle of feeding on demand is not suitable. Therefore, it is necessary to observe both the dosage indicated by the manufacturer and the regimen.
It will not be difficult to calculate how much the baby eats for feeding.