How Much Should A Newborn Eat? (It’s Less Than You Think!)

By Paula McLaren •  Updated: 06/01/22 •  8 min read  •  Baby » Baby Feeding

One of the most common worries that new parents have and ask is: how much should a newborn eat? Are they getting enough?

Of course, we all want our babies to be well fed and happy…

But it’s important to remember that your newborn’s tummy is only the size of a walnut!

Therefore, very young babies do not require a huge amount to eat… But as they grow, so do their demands for milk!

So, how much should a newborn eat over the first few months of life?

How Much Should A Newborn Eat?

How Much Should A Newborn Eat Chart

Here’s a quick reference chart to help you identify how much a newborn should eat relative to their age over the first few months of life:

AgeAmount per feedFeedings per 24 hours
Up to 2 weeks2-3 ounces8-10 feeds
2 to 4 weeks2-4 ounces6-8 feeds
1 month3-4 ounces 6-8 feeds
2 months5-6 ounces5-6 feeds
3 to 5 months6-7 ounces5-6 feeds

REMEMBER: This chart is only a guideline and each baby’s needs will vary in both the amount they can eat and how frequently they want to feed. 

How Much Should A Newborn Eat Chart

NOTE: Knowing the signs of hunger in your little one and identifying when they are full is equally, if not more important when assessing whether your baby is getting enough to eat.

Signs Baby Is Hungry

Signs your baby is getting hungry and needs a feed are:

You should use these signs to tell you when your baby is ready to feed rather than trying to stick to a newborn feeding schedule all the time.

How Much Should A Newborn Eat If They Are Breastfed?

It is always harder for breastfeeding mums to gauge if their baby is getting enough milk as they are unable to actually measure the amount of milk their baby is taking… 

Therefore, the best way to judge how much should a newborn eat if they’re breastfed is to know: 

Ideally, you should still be aiming for your breastfed newborn to be consuming around 1-2oz (30ml – 60ml) every 2-3 hours at 1 week old and 5-6oz (150ml – 180ml) every 4-5 hours by 2 months old.

However, your baby will naturally feed around these quantities and timings without you having to track it too much.

If you pump as well as breastfeed, you will get an idea of what your breasts can produce and how they feel after a feed.

Over the first few weeks, you will instinctively get to know if your baby has had a full feed or not.

How Much Should A Newborn Eat If They Are Formula Fed?

With formula fed babies it is much easiest to work out how much they are eating in relation to their weight and age, as it can be precisely measured. 

As an added bonus… at the end of each feed, you are also able to see how much they have not consumed!

The following formula recommended by the American Academy of Paediatrics is a great way to calculate how much should a newborn eat if they’re formula-fed:

A baby should consume, on average, about 2.5oz (75ml) of formula a day for every pound (453g) of their body weight.

This will roughly equate to about 1-2oz (30ml – 60ml) of formula every 2-3 hours in the first couple of weeks, gradually increasing to 4-5oz (120ml-150ml) every 4 hours by 12 weeks old. 

How Much Should A Newborn Eat If They Are Both Breast And Formula Fed?

The reasons for supplement feeding are varied… from low breast milk supply, having multiple babies, your doctor’s recommendations, and convenience or personal lifestyle choices…

But whatever your reason, your newborn baby should still be eating about 1-2oz (30ml-60ml) every 2-3 hours, in the first few weeks, gradually increasing to 5-6oz (150ml – 180ml) every 4-5 hours by the age of 2 months old.

And unless medically required, it is recommended that you should try not to supplement feed until your little one is at least 1 month old

By then you will have hopefully established a healthy milk supply with your baby feeding well from your breast.

And after this month, you can start to slowly introduce formula feeding sessions…

Begin by introducing a 3-4oz (90ml-120ml) glass bottle of formula about 90 minutes after a breastfeed (when your baby is ready to eat but not starving). Then wait a couple of days before introducing another supplementary formula feed.

Repeat this process until you reach the number of formula feeds you wish to offer your baby regularly.

This method will allow you to establish breastfeeding and limit the risk of not producing enough breast milk when it is needed. 

How Do I Know If My Baby Is Getting Enough To Eat?

As you get to know your little one, you will start to learn the signs that your baby is content and has enough to eat.

Signs Baby Is Getting Enough To Eat

Here are the main signs to be aware of to ensure your baby is getting enough to eat:

Signs Baby Is Not Getting Enough To Eat

In contrast, here are the signs to watch out for if your baby is not getting enough to eat:

If your baby is showing any of the above signs you should consult your paediatrician immediately.

Can You Overfeed A Newborn?

In short: no.

If you follow your baby’s lead, feed on demand and stop when they want to stop… You will not overfeed your newborn.

And by being aware of the signs that your baby is full will also ensure they do not get overfed:

Also, to ensure you don’t accidentally overfeed your baby… remember the following:

Follow these simple rules and your baby will be perfectly satisfied after every feed.

How Much Should A Newborn Eat Summary

In conclusion, the best way to manage how much a newborn should eat is to follow your baby’s lead and learn their hunger cues to get the timing of their feeds correct.

Remember that regardless of whether you’re breastfeeding, bottle feeding or both, your newborn baby will need to eat about:

NOTE: Depending on your breastmilk and baby’s preferences… breastfed babies may need to eat more regularly than formula fed babies in the early weeks.

And at the end of the day, if your baby is gaining weight, feeding contentedly and producing regular wet nappies then you and your baby are doing great.

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Paula McLaren

Paul Mclaren - Norland Nurse NNEB RSH is the founder of Teething to Tantrums and has been in the child care industry as a Norland Nanny since 1982. Since then, her mission has been to help parents become the best they can possibly be. And each year, she continues to help more families understand their child's development, the trials and joys of parenting and of course, how to care for their little ones.

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