A baby who is underweight can fail to develop normally, so it's essential that your baby get enough nutrients. No two babies have the same feeding schedule. Some are ready to eat at the same time each day and others will be starving one day and uninterested in food the next. While a change in eating habits often is nothing to worry about, call your pediatrician anytime you sense something is wrong.
Typically, a baby needs to be fed eight to 12 times in a 24-hour period during her first month of life. As she ages, she'll gradually need to eat less often. She should eat seven or eight times a day during her second and third months. By the time she's 6 months old, she should need to eat five to six times a day. If you feed her formula, multiply her weight times 2.5 to determine how many ounces of formula she should drink over 24 hours. When your baby is 6 months to 1 year old, she should have four to five feedings of milk or formula daily along with two to three feedings of solid food.
Causes of Slowed Appetite
If your baby's suddenly eating less but seems to still be healthy and interested in eating, he's likely just going through a healthy slow phase. In a baby 4 to 7 months old, eating less can also indicate he's beginning teething. If you think his teeth are coming in, give him a cold washcloth to chew on and ask his doctor if you can give him a pain reliever. In some cases, his eating less could indicate a larger medical problem. Consult a pediatrician if you suspect something's wrong.
Signs Your Baby is Healthy
Your baby's change in hunger could be a normal and healthy thing. Pay attention to how many diapers you're changing. A baby who's getting enough nourishment should wet five to six diapers and have at least one bowel movement a day. She should seem relaxed and content after each feeding. Your baby's skin should be smooth and unwrinkled and her face should be rounded by her third week of life. If you're breastfeeding, your breasts should feel softer after a feeding.
Signs of a Problem
A baby who is not getting enough daily nourishment will not urinate as frequently, and his urine may be dark yellow or orange. He may only pass bowel movements once every few days and they may be hard and dry. If he seems fussy after eating or expresses no interest in eating, this may also indicate a problem. Your baby's weight is one of the surest ways to track whether he's eating enough. A healthy baby should steadily gain weight after his first day of life. If he's not gaining -- or is losing -- weight, visit his pediatrician immediately.