Newborn Feeding Information and Instructions

Initially, most newborns have little appetite. Babies are born with a small amount of extra fluid in their bodies, which is lost in the first few days, and helps them to tolerate smaller fluid intake during that time.

During the first days of life, infants generally lose 4 to 10 ounces; breast-fed babies may lose a little more. Most babies regain this lost weight by 10 to 14 days of age.

Your new baby may cry, as though asking to be fed as often as every 2 1⁄2 hours. Keep in mind that your baby does not need to be fed every time he or she cries. Consistent crying at short intervals may mean more milk is needed at each feeding, or your baby may be uncomfortable from soiled or wet diapers, colic, swallowed air, or an environment that is too hot or too cold.

If your baby cries at less than 2 hours, rocking or using a pacifier may help extend times between feedings. It is best not to get into the habit of offering frequent small feedings to please a fussy baby. So before you offer the breast or bottle, be sure your baby is not crying for some reason unrelated to hunger.

Your baby should not be allowed to sleep more than 4 hours during the day without feeding. Otherwise, there is a risk that baby will reverse day and night and feed at night rather than during the day.

Unless your child is under 6 pounds it is not necessary to awaken him at night for feedings. Make nighttime feedings brief and boring. Feed quickly and quietly and do not stimulate the baby.