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How Much Do Newborn Babies Eat?

author image Jennifer Bodin
Jennifer Bodin covers a variety of topics, from health to family budgets. An Army veteran, she is a fitness enthusiast who has designed physical fitness programs. Bodin holds a Bachelor of Arts in communications from the University of Illinois and a Master of Arts in education from the University of Phoenix.
How Much Do Newborn Babies Eat?
A breast pump and bottles of expressed milk on a table. Photo Credit: Pilin_Petunyia/iStock/Getty Images

As a new parent, feeding your newborn child can be a stressful activity. Because newborn babies cannot talk or express to you how they are feeling or if they are hungry, you have to judge when and how much they need fed. The amount individual babies eat is going to vary based upon the weight and other factors of the child. However, following a few simple guidelines will help you best determine how much nourishment your newborn needs.

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Reading your babies physical and emotional cues is the best way to understand when and how often your child needs fed. When they are hungry, newborns show signs of rooting by turning their head toward your chest, often with an open mouth, or toward any other body part that is near their mouth or cheek. Another more obvious sign of possible hunger is crying. Newborns may put their fingers in their mouth, pucker their lips as if to suck, stick out their tongue or seem to smack their lips when they are hungry.

Time And Age

Typically at the newborn age, babies will eat every two to three hours throughout the day and night. You will also want to ask your physician about growth spurts, as children encounter these around seven to 14 days, three to six weeks, and beyond. During these periods your baby will likely eat more than normal. Illness can inhibit appetite, so if your child is not feeling well, they may not show signs of hunger as often as normal.


Your child's weight will also be a factor in how much she eats. According to the Baby Center website, the rule of thumb for a baby who is not eating any solids is to give your child 2.5 oz. of formula or breast milk for every pound of his weight. Remember that this is your baby's estimated food needs for a full day, meaning 24 hours, not for just one feeding.

Signs of Satisfaction

As it is important to read your child's hunger cues, you can also identify cues of satisfaction in your baby.One of the easiest signs to notice is if your baby is content after eating. An alert state when awake, resting well, and weight gain are also positive signs of fulfillment. Last, monitor your babies diapers. On average, your newborn should have around four to six wet diapers a day and regular bowel movements.

Expert Insight

If you have any questions about whether your child is receiving enough nourishment, contact your doctor. It is always better to error on the side of caution than to take chances with your baby's health. Schedule regular well baby checkups to ensure that your child is developing properly. It is also wise to keep personal records of your child's health. Through following given guidelines and consulting with your physician, you are paving the way for a well-fed, healthy child.

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