How Much Should an Infant Eat Daily?

Learn how much an infant should eat in an average day from pediatrician Dyan Hes, M.D. in this Howcast video about newborn and baby development.

So I guess the most popular question is, "How much should my baby be eating?" And this is a very hard question for pediatricians to answer, and we often feel challenged by this question, because every baby is different.

Newborns should be eating every two to three hours, around the clock, 24 hours. After two weeks, babies should be fed every three hours, and then after four weeks, which is one month, the baby can be fed every three to five hours in the evening, and usually every three hours during the day.

Babies consume around 24 to 30 ounces of milk, whether it be breast milk or formula, each day, up until about six months of age. At six months, most babies start solid foods. Solid foods can be infant fortified cereals, or it can be fruits or vegetables.

As they get older, babies start eating dairy products or some pureed meats. You have to discuss with your doctor what the right amount of food is for your baby, and no doctor is going to give you a set menu, it’s going to be going to be a guideline.

Babies sometimes will eat so much that they will start to spit up. That’s called over-feeding. I always say this little analogy; your newborn baby is almost like a garbage disposal. They will take as much as you can put in until it starts overflowing, and when you see that your baby is starting to spit up with every feed, then you have to wonder if you’re feeding your baby too much and discuss that with your physician.

Babies have to grow according to their growth curve, so it’s a really individualized answer that your doctor has to tailor to your baby’s needs. Remember some babies are born five pounds and some babies are born nine pounds, so those babies will have different caloric needs, and each parent has to discuss their baby’s plan with their pediatrician.