How do I know when and how many times a day my baby needs to be fed?

How do I know when and how many times a day my baby needs to be fed?

You may question, "How do I know if my baby is hungry?" Actually, your baby will show you cues when he is hungry e.g. he opens his mouth and moves around, put his fingers into his mouth make smacking sound or becomes irritated. Recognize these cues and feed your baby accordingly, he will then suckle better. Don’t wait till your baby cries to feed him, as it may affect his suckling or he may even refuse the feed! 

Most newborn babies need frequent feeds of about 8-12 times a day in the first month. A healthy full-term baby is born with sufficient reserve in his body. After his first feed in the delivery room, the baby will be in a sleepy state and some babies will take a long rest and only wake up 1 - 2 times. So you may find your baby only suckle more actively for 3-4 feeds in the first day. Starting from the second day until the first month, baby’s appetite will increase and demand to be feed more frequently. You may also notice his feeding pattern and cues more easily. If your baby is still very sleepy on the second day and unwilling to suckle, you should consult the Maternal and Child Health Centres or other healthcare professionals immediately.

Every baby has his own pace on feeding. What you need to do is to feed your baby on demand and observe if he has normal number of wet diaper and bowel motion every day and has satisfactory body weight gain. Once your baby suckles properly, his feeding pattern will gradually become more regular and the number of feeds will gradually decrease.

If you have further question, you may consult Maternal and Child Health Centres or other healthcare professionals for advice.