A newborn’s stomach is about the size of a cherry, and can only hold about 1 tablespoon of milk at a time. By day 3 of life, your baby’s stomach can hold about 1 ounce, and by 1 week of age your baby is able to eat up to 2 ounces at a time. By 1 month, your baby can eat up to 5 ounces at a time.
Newborns need to eat at least 8-10 times per day, which works out to about every 2-3 hours. The maximum length of time a newborn can go without eating is 4 hours. If your newborn baby sleeps for 4 hours straight, you need to wake your baby to eat.
Many newborns will “cluster feed,” meaning they may eat several times in a row, then go a few hours before their next feed. This is totally normal! At the beginning, cluster feeding tends to happen during the wee hours of the morning. That’s because prolactin, the hormone that makes women produce milk, naturally peaks in the early morning hours. Don’t worry, the cluster feeding during the wee hours only lasts a few weeks. Soon your baby will learn the night-day difference and will start to eat more during the daytime and less at night.
Both breast milk and formula contain all of the carbohydrates, protein, fat, vitamins, minerals, and water that your baby needs for the first 4-6 months of life. After 4-6 months of age, you can begin to supplement with baby foods and water.