A baby’s development is just one of the many worries parents have at the beginning stages of their infant’s life. Is the baby caught up in development? Does the baby sleep enough? How much milk should the baby be having? These are all questions mostly new parents have become they want to make sure they’re doing everything right.
My son was born premature and 6 weeks short of being properly cooked. He weighed 4lbs 8oz with a head that was just twice the size of the end of a small hospital bottle for babies. So I was definitely among the “crazy mom” group who wanted to measure and weigh her child every minute of the day, to make sure he was growing strong and healthy!
Why the First 3 Months Is a Critical Growth Development Stage in a Baby’s Life
During the Neonatal Period or first 3 months of your newborn’s life, their feeds and sleep are their most vital activities. Why? Newborns are very fragile. As their immune system is still quite weak, they can be easily exposed to many illnesses and other undesired sickness, infections, viruses, etc. Their immune system is strengthened as they grow and develop. That is why parents applaud after every pound their baby gains.
Many parents who have had children before are more comfortable with how much or how often their baby sleeps and feeds. However, as a new mom or dad, you might not always be comfortable with what’s going on with your child’s developmental process. You probably feel the need to call your baby’s doctor all the time, but it just wouldn’t be practical to do so. So certain decisions have to be made and sometimes chosen by your best instincts.
What is the Average Amount of Sleep Your Baby Should Get?
According to research and advice from our own doctor, your baby needs approximately 16 hours of sleep per day during the first quarter of his life. Then every quarter after that is decreased by one hour until he is at least a year old.
There are many health benefits to a good night’s sleep. Unfortunately, during the first 3 months, we as parents get very little of it. However, making sure your baby gets as much rest as possible can improve their health and overall well-being. After all, cranky babies usually mean unhappy mommies.
How Much Milk Should Your Baby Have
Milk intake might be a bit different if your baby is or was breastfed. However, for someone who couldn’t breastfeed their child, we had to do measurements. So what did our Pediatrician say about our baby’s food intake? The following:
Week 1 to Month 1
During the first week of your baby’s life, your baby should be taking approximately 2 ounces per feed. Each feed can be anywhere from 2 to 3 hours at a time.
From week one until your baby is about a month old, he should taking anywhere from 2 to 3 ounces per feed at least every 3 hours at a time.
After he’s a month old until he’s about 3 months old, the recommended feeding should be anywhere from 4 to 5 ounces per feed at least every 4 hours.
From 3 to 6 months of age, 5 to 7 ounces at least every 4 to 5 hours should be sufficient.
After 6 months until he or she is about 9 months old, your baby should take anywhere from 6 to 8 ounces at least every 5 to 6 hours. At this point, it is ok to slowly introduce your baby to other types of food. Some parents may start with some rice cereal and then move on from there.
From 9 to 12 months he should be able to hold his milk feeds at least 7 to 8 hours at a time as he may already be eating other food fit for babies.
After a year, parents are already doing their best to wean their baby off of formula and onto regular milk.
These are all recommendations based on my own personal research and experiences. I’m not a doctor, but do know that my baby has thrived and done quite well with this schedule and hopefully yours will too! We go through many trials and errors as parents. We can follow any manual or instructions, but in reality, our instincts will usually tell us if, if anything else, what’s actually best for our children.