Baby's First Year · Musings

How much should baby be eating?

Sorry, Daddy and Mommy overfed you.

From 1 month onwards, you were displaying all the classic signs of reflux (heartburn)… the arching back, vomiting, painful screams, unsettled naps…

You can’t seem to sleep more than 20 mins during the day, taking 5-10 mins catnaps and then crying. It doesn’t help we are next to the darned expressway where vehicles zooms past every milli-second.

Some mommies knows instinctively how much to feed their babies.

Unfortunately, I’m not one of them.

So, if you are like me, doing a mix of breastmilk and formula bottle feeding, here is a simple guide to help you decipher whether that crying is due to stomachache from eating too much or just plain hungry (from a mommy who had gone thru the same nightmare):

1. Buy a weighing machine. 

You need to know how much baby weighs to calculate his daily intake.

Total Daily intake (ml/24 hours): (Baby’s weight in kg) x 100 (min intake), x 150 (max intake)

Eg. Baby O is 6.7 kg, his min daily intake should be 670 ml, max 1005ml, in a 24 hour cycle. As I’m doing a mix of breast milk & formula, I find that the amount Baby O takes will tend towards max, usually exceeding by 200ml per day. However, during the 3rd month as I gave more formula, it was well within the stipulated intake.

Guide taken from here: Babycenter

2. Appropriate bottle teat

Always start with the slowest flowing teat your baby can take to reduce choking from drinking too fast and too much. However, if your baby finds it too slow and getting frustrated, change to a faster flowing teat so he will not suck in too much air from trying to get that milk quickly. Different babies prefers different brands of bottle teats too.

Although Avent recommends size 2 teats for 1 month+ onwards, Baby O didn’t start on size 2 til 2 months old. He was quite comfortable with size 1’s flow. Secondly, he is a fast drinker. I read that babies generally needs at least 10 mins of sucking to “feel” full, article here. Switching to a faster teat will mean finishing the milk within 8 mins and he’ll be crying for more even though he has already taken his full intake.

We only changed to size 2 after he started pulling and jerking the bottle teat sideways to facilitate faster milk flow and appearing frustrated at 10 weeks.

3. Feeding only after 2 hours

Unless you are latching on and dunno how much baby is eating, if baby cries and displays hunger signs after 2 hours, feeding him is generally safe. Anything earlier than that, check for other possibilities like diaper, temp, gas etc. Sometimes we realised all Baby O needs is a good burp, lol~

Other feeding signs to look out for include amt of spitting up and baby’s behaviour.

a) Why do babies spit up?

There’s a little flap that opens and closes in our stomach that keeps food in. This flap is still immature in young babies and sometimes milk will come back up in the form of spitting.

b) How much baby vomit is normal?

Unless your baby cries after spitting or there’s projectile vomiting (literally shooting out) in huge amounts, spit up is normal. Here’s a pictorial guide.

Reflux is generally caused by over-feeding. If you suspect your baby is having reflux, here’s some tips to help get through those crying spells:

Sit baby upright during feeding. Minimize distractions and ensure the teat is always full with milk to prevent baby taking in too much gas.

Don’t jiggle and move baby too much within half an hour after baby feeds. Daddy K likes to change his position when the bottle is still in Baby O’s mouth and stand up and walk right after eating. The result? Puking show!

The Four “S” of soothing: Swaddle, Side/Stomach, Swinging, Shushing. I generally follow a combination of the Baby Whisperer‘s and “Happiest Baby on the block” soothing methods since I started weaning Baby O from the pacifier. You can search for videos online for demos.

Relax. Remember this will go away in time!

Most moms, like me, will worry whether their babies are eating enough.

I guess this is just God’s way of telling me, “Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothes?


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