Newborn Feeding Schedule: How Much And When To Feed Them?

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When you are a new mom, you are confused about the baby’s feeding schedule. Should you feed the newborn when they cry or should you follow a pattern? How much milk is enough for your baby? Such questions nag you constantly.

Just when you think you have understood your baby’s food needs, it is time for them to have solid foods; and this only adds more questions.

Therefore, MomJunction shares with you the ideal food schedule a baby should have throughout their first year.

Feeding Schedule For Babies Aged 0-5 Months

How much to feed (1):

At this early infancy stage, your baby will feed very frequently and nap every 3 to 4 hours.

Feeding schedule for formula-fed babies:

AgeFormula per feedingNo. of feedings a day
Birth to 1 month2-3 ounces (oz)8 to 12 times
2 months4-6oz6 to 8 times
3 to 5 months5-8oz5 to 6 times

Feeding schedule for breastfed babies:

AgeNo. of feedings a day
Birth to 2 monthsExclusively breastfed babies must be fed on demand. And many newborns clusterfeed.
2 to 4 months8 to 10 times or more
4 to 5 months6 to 8 times or more

When to feed:

  • The baby’s feeds are small but frequent, given that they have a small tummy and need to be fed at short intervals.
  • Breastfed babies feed more frequently than the formula-fed ones because breastmilk digests quickly.
  • They are usually awake for every 1 to 2 hours, and nap for 3 to 4 hours. You may feed them during their wake times.

[ Read: How Much Milk Does Baby Need In The First Few Days ]

Feeding tips (2):

  • Read the hunger cues like lip-smacking or sticking the tongue out, given by the baby and do not wait until they cry.
  • Sit in a comfortable position, and be relaxed while feeding.
  • Hold the baby in a position that is convenient for them to suck.
  • Hold the baby when they are bottle-feeding.
  • Do not put your baby in bed with a bottle in their mouth. This increases the chances of ear infection.
  • You don’t have to introduce solids for babies who are on exclusive breastmilk.
  • Solids can be introduced at around 6 months for all formula fed babies. Sometimes, your pediatrician may suggest you to start with solids after 4 months.
  • In the night, wake your newborn every three to four hours to breastfeed or four to five hours to formula-feed. You can even dream feed the baby. Once the baby is beyond two month of age, is healthy, feeds well during the day, and is gaining weight well, it’s okay to let the baby set their own pattern of feeding at night and they don’t necessarily need to be woken every three to four hours to eat.

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Feeding Schedule For Babies Aged 6, 7 And 8 Months

You can start finger foods between six to eight months. Formula intake decreases and solid foods quantity increases at this time.

How much to feed (1) (3):

Foods for the baby6 to 8 months
Breastmilk4 to 6 or more feedings a day
Formula6 to 8oz formula per day (4 to 5 feedings a day)
Baby cereal4 to 8 tablespoon (tbsp) or more a day
Pureed vegetables4 to 8tbsp or more a day
Pureed fruits4 to 8tbsp or more a day
Protein foods (pureed lean meat, turkey, chicken, fish, eggs or beans)1 to 6tbsp per day

[ Read: How Often To Breastfeed Newborn ]

When to feed:

This is the pattern that most babies in the 6-8 month age group follow. They will take frequent naps and feed with less time gaps. These timings are just an indication; you may create a schedule depending on your baby’s sleep and snack time.

6-6.30amWake up and breastfeeding
8.15-8.45amBreastmilk or formula
9.45- 10amNap
10.45-11.15amBreastmilk or formula
11.45-12 noonNap
1.15- 1.45pmBreastmilk or formula
5.45pmBegin bedtime routine
6.15pmSleep for the night

Note: You may also include 1 to 3 times of feeding at night.

Feeding tips:

  • You can start giving solid foods.
  • Begin with very small amounts, and continue breastfeeding/ formula.
  • You can give the baby a few tablespoons of water when you begin solid foods.
  • Do not force-feed the baby. If they are reluctant, try the food later.
  • Feed the baby with a soft spoon.
  • Try one new food at a time so that you know the cause of food allergies if any.
  • Do not add salt or sugar to the baby’s meal.

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Feeding Schedule For Babies Aged 9, 10, 11, And 12 Months

In these months, there will be rapid changes in your baby’s feeding as they can eat a variety of foods, but in lesser amounts.

Your baby will increase the consumption of table foods. In the 11th or 12th months, the baby may start to feed themselves with a cup and spoon.

[ Read: Formula Milk For Babies ]

How much to feed (1):

Foods for the baby9-12 months
Breastmilk4 to 6 or more
Formula (who are not having breastmilk)6 to 8oz formula per feeding

4-5 feedings per day for 9-10 months old

3 to 4 feedings for 10-12 months old

Baby cereal4 to 8tbsp or more of prepared cereal
Other grains such as crackers, whole wheat toast, noodles, brown rice, grits, and soft tortilla pieces1/4 cup, 2 times a day
Vegetables1/4 to 1/2 cup, 2 to 3 times a day
Fruits1/4 to 1/2 cup, 2 to 3 times a day
Dairy such as yogurt and diced cheese1/4 cup, 1 to 2 times a day
Protein foods such as cooked lean meat, chicken, turkey, fish, eggs, beans, or tofu1/4 cup, 1 to 2 times a day

When to feed:

The schedule for feeding or napping will be more organized and have a particular pattern by now. The baby should be fed solid food three to four times a day.

7amWake up and breastfeed
10amMorning nap (ideally, an hour)
11amFormula or breastfeed
2pmEarly afternoon nap ( an hour minimum)
3pmBreastmilk or formula snack
6.15-6.30pmReady for bedtime
7pmBreastfeed or formula before the baby sleeps

Feeding tips:

  • You may introduce mashed or ground food while also feeding pureed foods.
  • Let your baby use fingers to eat food.
  • You can teach them to eat on their own using a spoon.
  • Make your baby sit and eat with the rest of the family.
  • Do not use canned food for making infant food. Canned foods usually contain sugar and salt, which should be avoided in baby foods.
  • Wash the vegetables and fruits.
  • Do not give cow’s milk or fruit juices to your baby until they turn one year.
  • Do not force your child to finish everything on the plate, if they cannot eat.

Each baby’s feed and sleep schedules are unique. You need to adjust your timings based on the cues of your baby. As you follow this regularly, you will develop a schedule that suits your little one.

Through this article, we aim to help new moms get on to a pattern. The pattern might change every week, as your baby grows.

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Do you have any tips or experiences to share? Let us know in the comment section below.

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