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Is my baby eating enough?

Is my baby eating enough? -- Noting how often you need to change your baby's diaper can help you answer that common question. Full-term infants should have a wet diaper at least six to eight times a day and at least one stool every day. Our chart for baby's first feedings and diapers (requires Adobe Reader) can help you keep track.

In addition, here are some good guidelines for your baby's nutritional needs.

For breastfed babies

Babies' caloric requirements vary. But if you breastfeed, your baby is probably getting enough to eat if he or she...

  • is gaining about 30 grams (one ounce) per day
  • seems satisfied
  • sleeps two to four hours after each feeding
  • has six to eight wet diapers per day

In their first few weeks, most babies eat 8 to 12 times a day. But feeding times may not be evenly spaced. Many babies cluster their feedings, eating more often at certain times of the day, then taking a longer nap.

Still wondering if your baby is getting enough breastmilk? These resources might help:

Bottle-fed babies

If you formula feed, your full-term baby should take about two to three ounces of formula at each feeding, gradually increasing to four to five ounces by the end of the first month. Another way to look at this is that your baby should take about two to three ounces of formula per day for every pound of weight.

Bottle-fed babies usually eat 8 to 12 times a day during the first week and about 6 to 10 times in the second and third weeks after delivery. However, some infants will continue to feed every two to three hours for several weeks.

Still wondering if you baby is getting enough formula? These resources might help:

What about juices and water?

At this stage, babies do not need and should not receive additional water or fruit juices. Their sole food should be breast milk or formula.

Rapidly growing infants have caloric and protein requirements that are not met by juices. Babies who receive juice may take less formula or breastmilk, reducing their protein intake.

Occasionally, your baby's doctor will recommend additional water, prune juice or pear nectar if constipation is a problem.

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Source: Children's Hospitals and Clinics of Minnesota

First published: 05/03/2001
Last updated: 04/09/2007

Reviewed by: Jeffrey Nelson, MD, pediatrician, Allina Health Coon Rapids Clinic