An excerpt from Your
Guide Feeding Your Baby
General Guidelines for Feeding Your Baby
You may feel uncertain when you think about feeding your baby.
How will you know he’s hungry? How will you know when he’s
full? How will you know he’s getting enough to eat? How often
should you feed him? These important questions (and probably others
you haven’t even thought about!) will be answered in this
Even though this task may be one you’re unsure about, your
baby will help you. He’ll tell you many things, in his own
way. You’ll know when he’s hungry; he’ll exhibit
definite signs of hunger, including fussing, putting his hands
in his mouth and turning his head and opening his mouth when his
cheek is touched. You may decide you want to feed at regular intervals
to help your baby get on a schedule. Or you may decide to let your
baby set his own schedule— some babies need to eat more often
than others. Below are some general guidelines.
- Most newborns eat every 3 to 4 hours, although some feed
as often as every 2 hours.
- Sometimes, a baby needs to feed more often than usual,
such as during periods of growth.
- A baby is usually the best judge of how much he needs at
each feeding. He’ll usually turn away from the nipple (mother
or bottle) when he’s full.
- It’s a good idea
to burp your baby after each feeding. Some babies even need
to be burped during a feeding.
- Hold your baby over your shoulder or sit your baby in your
lap, and gently rub or pat his back. You will probably want
to place a towel over your shoulder or at least have one handy
in case he spits up. If your baby doesn’t burp, don’t
- Babies frequently spit up some breast milk or formula after
a feeding. It’s common in the early months because the
muscle at the top of the stomach is not fully developed.
- When a baby spits up enough to propel the stomach contents
several inches, it is called vomiting. If your baby vomits
after a feeding, don’t feed him again immediately. His
tummy may be upset; wait until the next feeding.
- If you have questions about baby’s feeding, talk
to your pediatrician.
For additional information about feeding your baby, see
Your Pregnancy™ Quick Guide Feeding Your Baby.