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Babies need lots of energy and nutrients - all from milk! Learn about your feeding choices and their changing appetite.
Breastfeeding - your newborn baby will need frequent feeds every two to three hours in the early days. This is because breastmilk is very easily digested and their stomachs are quite small. But don’t try to stick to a schedule yet, just feed your baby on demand. They’ll let you know how much they need! Generally, if your baby is feeding well, they will let go of your breast once they’re full. But if you’re worried about whether your baby is getting enough milk, try feeding them more regularly. It’s also worth holding them close to you; if they want to feed they’ll move towards your breasts.
As your baby grows they’ll probably take more milk but less often. At around 6 weeks of age, many babies go through a growth spurt which can mean a hungrier baby for a few days. The feeding schedule you had may go straight out the window! It is worth knowing that this may occur so you can just increase the frequency of the feed and then allow the pattern to settle back after a few days.
If you’re breastfeeding, the more you feed, the more milk you’ll produce, so don’t panic if your baby seems to be guzzling all the time; your body will adapt to cope with their demands.
At 2 months it’s important to keep up the night feeds, especially in the early weeks, as they are essential for your baby’s nutritional requirements and for maintaining your milk supply.
At this stage feeding problems are also common amongst babies, for example, colic occurs in 1 in 4 young babies. It is comforting to know that colicky babies do not have any lasting problems once the colic stops, but it can be very hard to listen to the long periods of crying every day. To discover some tips on soothing a colicky baby, take a look at our article on colic.
Your baby’s nutritional needs are changing as they grow so they will probably be feeding for longer now but might be taking less feeds per day. You should still be guided by your baby but by now a feeding pattern may be starting to show.
At 3 months old your baby may seem much hungrier but don’t be tempted to start weaning as it’s more than likely that they’re going through a growth spurt. It’s important not to confuse this with the real signs of weaning because their digestive system needs time to develop before you introduce solids, however puréed they are! Milk should still be supplying all their nutrients until about 6 months when they start weaning.
Lots of mums feel concerned about whether their baby is getting enough milk and if they’re still hungry after a feed. It’s hard to pinpoint exactly how to tell, as there’s no hard and fast rule but generally, hungry babies tend to cry for a feed more often and will take more when you do offer them their milk.
Did you know?
Your newborn’s tummy is the size of a marble. It’s not surprising then that they need to feed little and often.