Whether feeding your newborn by breast or a bottle, you may be stumped as to how often to do so. Generally, it's recommended that babies be fed on demand — whenever they seem hungry. Your baby may cue you by 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. Call your baby's doctor if you need to awaken your newborn frequently or if your baby doesn't seem interested in eating or sucking.
If you're formula-feeding, you can easily monitor if your baby is getting enough to eat, but if you're breastfeeding, it can be a little trickier. If your baby seems satisfied, produces about six wet diapers and several stools a day, sleeps well, and is gaining weight regularly, then he or she is probably eating enough. Talk to your doctor if you have concerns about your child's growth or feeding schedule.
Babies often swallow air during feedings, which can make them fussy. You can prevent this by burping your baby frequently. Try burping your baby every 2 to 3 ounces (60–90 milliliters) if you bottle-feed, and each time you switch breasts if you breastfeed. If your baby tends to be gassy, has gastroesophageal reflux, or seems fussy during feeding, try burping your baby every ounce during bottle-feeding or every 5 minutes during breastfeeding.
The following are burping strategies:
*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.
*Sit your baby on your lap. Support your baby's chest and head with 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 careful 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, making sure it's higher than his or her chest, and gently pat or rub his or her back.
If your baby doesn't burp after a few minutes, change the baby's position and try burping for another few minutes before feeding again. Always burp your baby when feeding time is over, then keep him or her in an upright position for at least 10–15 minutes to avoid spitting up.