Due to their tiny tummies, 2-month-old babies often eat very frequently. Whether you breastfeed or formula feed, it can be difficult to determine whether your baby is getting enough milk. Although no hard-and-fast rules exist as to the “right” amount of milk to feed a 2-month-old, you can ensure he gets enough by following his cues and watching for signs of adequate milk consumption. Signs of hunger in a baby this age include snacking her lips, sucking on her hands or fingers, rooting—turning her head toward your hand when you touch her cheek—and crying.
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Since they cannot actually see the amount of milk a baby drinks, breastfeeding moms often wonder how often they need to nurse their babies. Pediatrician Dr. Alan Greene offers reassurance that babies naturally eat until they become full and stop when they receive adequate nutrition. According to Dr. Greene, nursing on demand—when your baby displays signs of hunger—can build your milk supply and ensure your baby gets enough to eat. How often your baby will need to nurse depends upon his appetite and current nutritional needs. From 1 to 3 months, your baby will probably want to nurse six to eight times a day.
Babies usually decrease the number of bottles of formula they drink—while increasing the amount of formula they eat at each feeding—as they grow older. Since babies do not digest formula as rapidly as they do breast milk, according to the KidsHealth from Nemours website, you will usually not need to feed a formula-fed infant as often as a breast-fed one. Kids Health states that 2-month-old babies typically eat six to eight bottles of 4 to 6 ounces a day and might need an additional 1 ounce of formula by the time they reach 3 months.
Although most babies get the milk they require to grow and thrive, inadequate milk production in a nursing mother or feeding problems in a baby, including allergies or medical conditions, can occasionally deprive babies of the milk they need. When your baby does not get enough to eat, he will usually show signs of hunger even after a feeding or exhibit a pattern of inadequate weight gain. Talk to your pediatrician about any concerns relating to your baby’s feeding or growth.
Watching for signs of adequate milk consumption can help protect your baby from dehydration or failure to thrive. Babycenter.com, a baby and parenting advice site, suggests that your baby should appear relaxed and content after a feeding. He should wet five to six diapers a day and soil diapers on a regular basis. He should continue to exhibit a consistent pattern of growth. Although the exact growth pattern will vary from baby to baby, Babycenter suggests that a general guideline is a gain of 2 to 3 ounces a month during the second and third months.
If your baby starts to show signs of hunger after he finishes a feeding, try adding 1 or 2 ounces more at a time. Avoid preparing too much since you will have to discard it if he fails to finish a bottle. Continue breastfeeding on demand—babies undergo several growth spurts during the first year when they need to eat more often. By adding extra nursing sessions when your baby shows signs of hunger, you can accommodate the increased nutritional needs of your growing baby.