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Narrator: Corrine and Chris are eager to learn whether they've been feeding their 8-week-old, Connor, the right amount of formula. They're meeting with their son's pediatrician, David Pollack of Children's Hospital of Philadelphia, to find out.
Corrine: I just have a couple of questions on feeding. I just want to make sure I’m giving him enough food or if I am not giving him enough.
Dr. Pollack: Well, the most important thing is that, once we weigh him and see what his weight gain has been, we’re really able to tell that he’s eaten enough by tracking his growth.
Narrator: You can be confident that your baby is eating enough if you see these signs:
He seems relaxed and satisfied after a feeding.
He wets 5 or 6 disposable diapers or 6 to 8 cloth diapers a day.
And, most important, his growth is on track. To gauge this, take your baby to all of his scheduled well-baby visits, so the doctor can monitor his growth.
Pediatrician: I'll measure his head size and his length … Connor in inches is about 23 and 1/2 inches and we’ll plug that into his growth chart in just a second. And his head circumference is 41 and 1/2 centimeters.
Narrator: It's also important to make sure your baby isn't eating too much formula.
There's one main sign that this is happening: Your baby is growing more than he should.
Pediatrician: So let’s see how big Connor has really gotten … 6.3 kilograms is about 14 pounds.
Narrator: Happily, Connor is right on track.
Pediatrician: Connor has had a great month. Let’s look at the growth chart. You can see how nicely his growth curve is going. He’s a big guy, but he’s following a nice even curve, which is what we are looking for. We wouldn’t want babies to drop off that curve or go way above that curve.
Narrator: In other words, what matters most is that your baby grows at a steady appropriate rate, and doesn't dramatically speed up or slow down.
Chris: Lately he has been more fussy than normal and we have been giving him more formula.
Pediatrician: To try to settle him down.
Pediatrician: I think that resisting the temptation to simply feed a baby because they’re fussy is very important. There are lots of ways that you may be able to calm down your baby. Sometimes they just want to suck, and a binky may be all they need. Sometimes they need their diaper changed. Sometimes they need to find a new position to lie in, sometimes they may need a little hug and a kiss.
Mother: Right. So how many ounces of formula does he need in a day?
Narrator: Babies' feeding needs change over time.
Every baby is different, but this sample chart may give you an idea.
At first, babies need small amounts of formula frequently. As they get older and their stomachs get bigger, they'll eat larger amounts at each sitting and eat less often than they did right after birth.
Your child might be hungrier at some times than at others, like during a growth spurt. These typically occur 10 to 14 days after birth and at age 3 weeks, 6 weeks, 3 months, and 6 months.
Your child might be less hungry than usual if he's not feeling well.
Pediatrician: How are you determining that it is time to eat?
Mother: He’ll suck his fist or may turn to me … right, buddy?
Pediatrician: Those are great clues that it may be mealtime.
Narrator: How can you tell if your baby wants to eat? Common hunger cues include:
Smacking his lips
Rooting, which means he turns his head toward your hands when you stroke his cheek
Putting his hands to his mouth
Finishing a feeding quickly and looking around for more, and
Crying, though this is a late sign of hunger
As you get to know your baby, you'll learn to read his hunger signals.
If you have specific questions about feeding, talk to your baby's doctor.
Pediatrician: He is certainly off to a wonderful start. He is hitting all his developmental milestones. Continue to watch for the cues we spoke about. We will see you back in two months.