Feeding and Burping Your Baby

You may be wondering how often you should feed your baby. Typically, it’s recommended that babies be fed every time they seem hungry. You will know that your baby is hungry when he or she is crying, putting fingers in his or her mouth, or making sucking noises.

A newborn baby needs to be fed every 2 to 3 hours. If you’re breastfeeding, give your baby the chance to nurse about 10–15 minutes at each breast. If you’re formula-feeding, your baby will most likely take about 2–3 ounces (60–90 milliliters) at each feeding.

Some newborns may need to be awakened every few hours to make sure they get enough to eat. Consult your baby’s doctor if you need to wake your newborn frequently or if your baby doesn’t seem interested in eating or sucking.

If you’re formula-feeding, you can easily determine if your baby is eating sufficiently, but if you’re breastfeeding, it can be more challenging. If your baby seems satisfied, produces about six wet diapers and several stools a day, sleeps well, and is gaining weight normally, then he or she is most likely eating enough.

Another effective way to determine if your baby is getting milk is when your breasts feel full before feeding your baby and less full after feeding. Talk to your doctor if you have concerns regarding your child’s growth or feeding schedule.

Babies often swallow air during feedings, which can make them fussy. To avoid this, burp your baby often. Try burping your baby every 2–3 ounces (60–90 milliliters) if you bottle-feed, and each time you switch breasts if you breastfeed.

If your baby seems to be gassy, has gastroesophageal reflux, or seems fussy during feeding, try burping your little one after every ounce during bottle-feeding or every 5 minutes during breastfeeding.

Try these burping tips:

  • Hold your baby upright with his or her head on your shoulder. Support your baby’s head and back while gently patting the back with your other hand.
  • Position your baby sitting on your lap. Support your baby’s chest and head using one hand by cradling your baby’s chin in the palm of your hand and resting the heel of your hand on your baby’s chest (be mindful to grip your baby’s chin — not throat). Use the other hand to gently pat your baby’s back.
  • Lay your baby face-down on your lap. Support your baby’s head using one hand and make sure that it’s slightly higher than his or her chest. Using your other hand, gently pat or rub his or her back.

If your baby doesn’t burp after a few minutes, switch to another position and try burping for another few minutes before feeding again. Always burp your baby after feeding, then keep him or her in an upright position for at least 10–15 minutes to avoid spitting up.

You can learn more now about baby nutrition by age, or…

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