Why Does My Newborn Eat So Much?

  • Why does my newborn eat so much?

Why the HECK does my baby eat so much?

A NICU RN & Newborn Expert weighs in…

Hey there! I’m Ashli, a Registered Nurse, Newborn Expert, and Lactation and Baby Sleep Coach! I’m here to provide you with practical, evidence-informed tools to make feeding your baby easier for your entire household.

“Why does my newborn eat so much?” is a very common breastfeeding-related question among new parents. Before we dive into why your infant eats so frequently (and trust me, it’s not necessarily because you have a low supply of breastmilk), let’s take a moment to understand how breastmilk is made.

Breastmilk production

The magic of breastfeeding lies in a supply-and-demand system. The more your breasts are stimulated, the more milk your body will produce. This process is regulated by a polypeptide called Feedback Inhibitor of Lactation (FIL). When your breasts are effectively emptied—whether by your baby, hand expression, or pumping—your body responds by producing more milk to replenish the supply.

How (and when) newborns feed

Now, let’s talk about newborn feeding patterns. Newborns are wired to breastfeed frequently, especially in the early days. Believe it or not, this frequent nursing (also known as cluster feeding) serves a really important purpose—it helps to establish and regulate your milk supply while supporting your baby’s growth spurts, particularly in the initial days postpartum.

In the first 24 hours of life, newborns typically require only 1-5 ml of colostrum every 2-3 hours. As they progress, their needs increase to about ½ a teaspoon (5 ml) to ½ an ounce (15 ml) every 2-3 hours by days 2-3.

One common scenario for newborns is evening cluster feeding. This behavior is entirely normal and purposeful. During the evening, your levels of prolactin (the milk-making hormone) tend to be lower, so your baby instinctively cues your body to produce more milk while filling their tummy before bedtime. (Learn more about how your infant’s eating and sleeping schedules correlate in my previous post.)

If in doubt, ask for help!

If your breastfed baby seems unsatisfied after nursing, it might be helpful to consult with a skilled lactation professional. They can provide a thorough feeding assessment and support you in reaching your breastfeeding goals.

Remember, your feeding journey is unique, and you deserve judgment-free support every step of the way. If you’d like to chat further, feel free to book a no-strings-attached zoom chat with me and follow me on Instagram @ashlithemamacoach for helpful tips to get your baby feeding and sleeping well.

2024-03-23T14:13:12-07:00

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