Whether you're nursing or bottle-feeding your newborn, you want to ensure your little one gets the proper nutrition to grow healthy and strong. Every baby is different, but in general, your baby should eat every 4 hours in the first month, cites KidsHealth.org. In the next two months, your baby may eat less frequently during the day, but eat more ounces of formula or breast milk at a time.
Breastfed babies need to eat more frequently than formula-fed babies because breast milk is so easily digested. Your newborn should eat "on demand," which means whenever he shows signs of hunger. Typically this is every 1 to 3 hours, and at least 8 to 12 times a day, according to KidsHealth.org. As your baby gets older, he will feed less frequently, around every 2 to 3 hours. KidsHealth.org recommends nursing 10 to 15 minutes on each breast in the beginning.
Your newborn should take about 2.5 ounces of formula a day for each pound she gains, suggests Drugs.com. For the first eight weeks, your newborn should feed at least six to eight times a day. She should have a bottle every 3 to 4 hours. If your newborn sleeps more than 4 hours at a time, wake her up to feed her. The formula should drip slowly from the bottle, so as not to overfeed your baby.
Rather than trying to put your newborn on a strict feeding schedule, watch for hunger signs. The early signs of hunger are stirring, stretching, moving the head from side to side, sticking out the tongue, sucking motions, lip movements and nuzzling the mother's breast. When these signs are not heeded, your baby may fuss and cry out of hunger.
Signs of Underfeeding
If your newborn often seems hungry and does not seem satisfied after his feeding, he may not be getting enough to eat. Signs of underfeeding include failing to gain the doctor-recommended amount of weight, wetting fewer than six diapers a day and irregular bowel movements. Additionally, if he is fussy, cries a lot or doesn't sleep well, he may be underfed.
Spitting up a small amount after a feeding is normal, but vomiting is not. If your baby is disinterested in feeding, there may be a problem. Your newborn may be allergic to her formula if she acts fussy, cries after feeding or has problems with bowel movements. If her stomach feels tight after feeding or she pulls her legs to her chest out of pain, she may have an allergy. Talk to your doctor if your baby exhibits any of these symptoms or develops a rash or fever.