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Newborn and Infant Care

New born feeding

12/11/1998

Question:

The pediatrician recommended that my new born baby (10 days old) should be fed every 3 hours , but then sometimes the baby sleeps for more than 4 hours, should we wake him up to feed or wait till he wakes up on his own, what is the right procedure?

Answer:

Congratulations on your new baby! You don't mention whether your newborn is a full-term or a pre-term baby, so this answer assumes he is full term. Also there are differences if your baby is breastfed or bottle-fed. In either case, it would be a good idea to discuss the following information with the pediatrician or the nurse in the pediatrician's office before you use any of it.

Assuming your baby is full term, it would not be unusual for him to have one or two 4-hour feeding intervals a day AS LONG AS he wakes to eat often enough, his daily wet and dirty diaper count is allright, and he is gaining enough weight.

A breastfed newborn should wake to eat at least 8 times, and up to 12 times, a day. A bottle-fed newborn should wake for about 6-8 daily feedings, although some bottle-fed newborns perfer to eat smaller amounts 8-10 times a day.

Whether breast or bottle-fed, a 10-day-old baby should have 6 (or more) soaking wet diapers a day. You also should be changing at least 2-3 dirty diapers daily. No matter how fed, a 10-day-old baby should gain at least 1/2-1 ounce per day or at least 4-7 ounces a week. (Many pediatricians recommend a baby be brought in for a weight check before two weeks of age. If your pediatrician does not have this policy, most will let you bring the baby in for a weight check if you call first.)

If your baby's diaper counts have been good and he is gaining weight, ask the pediatrician if you still have to wake him every three hours. Continue to count wet and dirty diapers for several days when you first let your baby sleep four hours. If you notice a decrease in his usual number of wet or dirty diapers, contact the pediatrician to ask if you should resume 3-hour feedings.

Contact me again if you need more information than I've shared here or if you'd like me to clarify anything in this response.

Enjoy your new little one...

For more information:

Go to the Newborn and Infant Care health topic, where you can:

Response by:

Karen Kerkhoff Gromada, MSN, RN, IBCLC
Adjunct Clinical Instructor
College of Nursing
University of Cincinnati