The role of the Registered Nurse or Newborn Care Provider is to feed, soothe, bathe, change & provide all other gentle care to baby through the night.

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How big is a newborn’s stomach?

Updated May 6, 2023 – One of the challenges of being a new parent is that newborns and infants seem to be eating constantly, and yet we worry they’re not getting enough! Newborn breastfeeding and bottlefeeding is frequent because our babies can only take in small amounts at a time. This blog answers the question… How big is a newborn’s stomach?

Small, frequent feeds, sometimes up to 12 feeds per 24 hour period, are the norm in baby’s first weeks. If it feels like, All I’m doing is nursing/feeding! then you’re doing everything right. For breastfeeding moms, milk typically “comes in” on about day four or five after baby’s birth but the fact is that colostrum and milk are already being received before then.

Remember, baby only drinks a cherry-sized amount at each feed. Also skin to skin contact with baby not only stimulates interest in feeding but helps both baby and parents in so many other healthy ways!

While there are teams of experts in newborn care, your baby is the real expert in how much to eat! Here’s the volume of an average newborn’s stomach so you can feel prepared for just how little and how frequently babies eat.

As our postpartum doula and night nannies like to say: if it seems like the newborn feeding schedule is that you’re always feeding you newborn, you’re doing it right.

How big is a newborn’s stomach? – a Visual

How big is a newborn's stomach?
How big is a newborn’s stomach?

Things to Remember

  • Breastfeeding: One particular piece of advice to remember if you’re nursing is that milk doesn’t “come in” right away. It may seem like baby is not getting enough to eat but skin to skin contact and sucking are what helps milk to come in. Remember, breastmilk works on a supply and demand so it makes sense that your milk supply might seem to not be where your newborn needs it to be yet. Of course ask your pediatrician or lactation counselor if you’re worried. If you have other questions about early breast or bottle feeding, Your First Night Home may help.
  • Bottle feeding: For bottle feeding families, remember that the speed of the bottle’s nipple and amount of formula will effect how much your newborn takes in. Don’t be tempted to have baby drain the pre-made hospital bottles from the hospital. They contain WAY TOO MUCH formula for a newborn. It’s easy to overfeed from a bottle because baby can’t naturally start and stop the flow. So even though our urge might be to feed, feed, feed and not waste any formula, refer to the chart above to give baby the correct amount of food.
  • Sleep: Conventional wisdom still tells us to tank baby up to sleep. This can be true for older babies (and adults!) but as our postpartum doula and night nanny team tell parents, overfeeding does not help newborns sleep soundly. In fact, feeding too much usually causes unnecessary spit up and gastric discomfort. It’s perfectly normal for newborns to eat every 2 and then stretch to every 3 hours in their first weeks.
  • The Pediatrician: Take comfort in knowing that in addition to the doctors and nurses, your pediatrician will visit while baby is in the hospital or birthing center. You’ll also visit the ped’s office again when baby is between 3 and 5 days old. The hospital won’t allow discharge unless they’re completely confident that your family is healthy and well. You have a whole team looking out for baby.

How big is a newborn’s stomach? – Wet and Soiled Diapers

It might be hard to know how much baby is consuming during each feeding session. That’s okay though because you’ll always be able to monitor how much is coming out. All babies are different, but tracking the amount of wet and soiled diapers each day for the first week is another way to monitor that baby is feeding well. You can always drop in to your pediatrician for a weight check as well.

Your First Night Home Newborn Diapering and Bathing

Birth weight, prematurity, congestion or growth spurts can all contribute to normal feeding behavior for baby at any given time. On the whole, weight gain, diaper output and baby appearing satisfied and content after feeding are all the infants way of telling you they’re happy no matter how big their stomach is. By following your newborns lead and contacting the pediatrician with any concerns you can ensure your baby is eating enough.

Let Mommy Sleep Attends The White House Summit on Working Families

CEO Denise Iacona Stern was selected to attend the elite White House Summit on Working Families on June 23, 2014.  Key issues discussed at the summit were workplace flexibility, equal pay, childcare, leave and early childhood education. In a nutshell solutions to help families meet their work and home obligations. This blog, Let Mommy Sleep Attends The White House Summit on Working Families explains.

Here at Let Mommy Sleep, we were honored to represent the challenges of new working families and working mothers.

“It is important for new parents’ voices to be heard,” says Denise Iacona Stern, “Since beginning Let Mommy Sleep, I have worked with nearly a thousand postpartum families and common concerns continue to be that parents in this generation do not have family support because Grandma and Grandpa are still in the workforce themselves, and these same parents are often up against the clock of little or no maternity/paternity leave. Adding to these worries, we currently have the shortest postpartum hospital stays in history.”

Let Mommy Sleep Attends The White House Summit on Working Families – Key Points

The summit featured a keynote from President Barack Obama, who cited that some women in this country can’t even get a paid day off to give birth, calling it “a pretty low bar.”  He mentioned that these issues, affecting the amount of time parents can spend with their children, shouldn’t be characterized primarily as women’s issues but rather family issues.  In fact, 60 percent of working families in the U.S. today have both parents in the household working, and the United States is among only three countries in the world reporting that they don’t offer paid maternity leave.

One of our favorite quotes from the summit was by Labor Secretary, Tom Perez who said, “The most important family value is time with your family.”

We continue to be committed to following best postpartum care practices for newborns and their parents. Our team of certified newborn care providers, nurses and postpartum doulas also provide evidence-based education for families.  A healthy, rested family is never a partisan issue. It was a privilege for Let Mommy Sleep to be in the company many distinguished national business leaders.  We enjoyed engaging in dialogues about policies affecting working families in our nation and feel truly blessed to have been selected to attend this event.

Your First Night Home with Baby: Questions About Feeding

updated October 8, 2023 – As part of our “Your First Night Home” series, we answer some of the most common questions our night nanny and postpartum doula team get from new parents about newborn feeding. Your First Night Home Baby Questions About Feeding answers parents frequently asked questions about how much, how often and how to feed their newborns.

Your First Night Home with Baby: Questions About Feeding

How often should my newborn breastfeed or bottle feed?

Newborns and infants need to eat every 2 to 3 hours. But there’s no need to get a newborn baby on a schedule; by following your baby’s lead of on-demand feeding your baby’s routine will naturally emerge.  For breastfed newborns, this could mean putting baby to breast ten to twelve times per day. sometimes even more. The more you nurse in the first two weeks, the more plentiful milk supply will become. This will eventually reduce the frequency of newborn feeding.

My milk hasn’t come in, what do I do?  

Milk will “come in” usually on day 4 postpartum, typically in the evening hours.  Until then, skin to skin contact and bringing baby to breast even if it seems like they’re not getting anything is the best way to promote milk production. On demand, small feeding sessions, or every 2 hours, is the norm. There are many ways to promote milk production if needed. Remember that your baby’s stomach is still tiny...don’t let even the smallest hospital bottle of formula fool you!

Is my baby eating enough?

As long as your infant has a wet or soiled diaper after each feed, your baby is eating enough. During the first few days, your newborn will likely have about 3-4 wet diapers.  After that, around 8-10 wet or soiled diapers a day, but 12-15 is normal too, especially for a breastfed baby.  If your newborn or infant does not regularly produce wet or dirty diapers and shows signs of dehydration, such as a dark yellow colored urine, please call a doctor.

Are you sure my baby is eating enough?

A newborn belly is the size of a pea! As they grow the stomach becomes the size of a marble and then a ping pong ball the first 7-10 days after birth.  Small, frequent feeds are the norm during this phase. For a bottle fed baby, try giving approximately 25-45 mLs per feeding. Upon finishing, if your baby cries or smacks her lips, she may want more.  If she spits out the bottle, turns her head, or closes her mouth tightly, she’s most likely full.  

For bottlefed babies, a challenge can be that baby has eaten too much, rather than not enough because even with the slowest flow bottle, it is tough for baby to regulate what they’re receiving.  Be sure to give newborns and infants plenty of breaks and time burping when giving milk or formula from a bottle. 

Your First Night Home with Baby: Questions About Feeding

Should I wake baby to feed?  

Most healthy newborns do not need to be woken up to feed but your pediatrician will let you know. Cases where baby is usually woken up to feed:

  • newborns born with jaundice: continual hydration and excretion through urine or stool helps bring down the bilirubin levels that cause jaundice.
  • baby is underweight or premature. In this case they may also need to eat more often.
  • twins as they are often born early and/or at a lower birth weight than their singleton counterparts

How do I wake baby to feed?

To wake baby, first loosen swaddle and clothes. If this does not work then undress baby down to a onesie. Changing babies diaper can also help waken them to feed.  As our postpartum doula and night nurse team point out, turning on the light does not work. In fact, it often encourages a newborn baby to close his or her eyes!

What should we know about bringing our baby home from the NICU?

Before leaving the NICU, make sure you fully understand the baby feeding plan. This may include details about breastfeeding, bottle-feeding, or a combination of both. Talk to the NICU staff and ask any questions you may have regarding feeding techniques, schedules, or any specific instructions.

The NICU staff may have established a feeding schedule for your baby based on their needs and development. It’s important to follow this schedule as closely as possible to ensure your baby gets the necessary nutrition.

What is Pace Feeding?

If you’re bottle-feeding your baby, consider using a technique called “pace feeding.” This involves holding the baby in an upright position, using a slow-flow nipple, and allowing the baby to control the flow of milk. It helps prevent overfeeding and supports the development of healthy eating habits.

Pace feeding also aids in digestion. By allowing the baby to take breaks and control the flow of milk, it reduces the likelihood of the baby gulping air, which can lead to gas and discomfort. It also gives the digestive system time to process the milk properly.

Your First Night Home with Baby: Questions About Feeding – How can I safely handle milk or formula?

How long can breast milk sit out? How do I store breastmilk?

A covered container of human breast milk can sit out at room temperature for six to eight hours. It is best to store breast-milk in the fridge, and to not re-heat once it has been warmed. Preferably, human milk should be refrigerated or chilled right after it is expressed adn Las Leche League offers these guidelines for breastmilk storage.

How long can formula sit out?  

After formula has been prepared, it can sit at room temperature for an hour. Once baby has fed from a bottle do not save, but discard after use. Remember, when in doubt throw it out.

How do I warm a bottle?

  • If you are warming a bottle that has breast milk use a bottle warmer, or boil water, then pour water in a bowl or cup and place bottle in hot water.
  • If you are warming a formula bottle, use a bottle warmer or fill a small pot with warm water and place the bottle in that water. This is wonderful at night because to keeps water at the correct temperature making it super easy to make the perfect bottle.

Can I microwave the bottle?

No. Microwaving does not evenly warm a bottle leaving hotspots in the milk that can burn baby.

When should I burp baby?

Newborns have an immature digestive system and need help when eating. Part of this is helping baby burp and working out any air/gas bubbles that snuck in while feeding. Make sure to burp throughout feedings and afterwards. Try to hold baby upright and pat on their back. It also helps to hold over shoulder and pat on their back, always supporting their head and neck.

Can I put baby to bed after feeding?

Newborns sleep a lot and will probably fall asleep after or during their feeding. Try to keep the newborn baby upright for at least 10-15 minutes after their feeding to help eliminate any spit up or reflux. Then, you may lay them flat on their backs in their crib or bassinet.

How should I put my Baby to Sleep After Feeding?

Establish a safe sleep environment by remembering the ABC’s of Safe Sleep: your newborn should be Alone on their Back and in a Crib with a firm, flat mattress with a fitted sheet. Keep soft bedding, pillows, stuffed animals, and other items out of the crib to reduce the risk of suffocation or Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS).

For information about newborn sleep, see our Your First Home with Baby: Questions About Newborn Sleep blog. You can also book a Baby Basics class where an RN comes to your home to help get ready for baby.

Your First Night Home with Baby: Questions About Feeding

Swaddling + White Noise = Sleepy Baby

updated, October 8, 2023- Babies spend most of their lives sleeping, so helping them with something so natural should be the easiest thing in the world…right? Infant safe sleep guidelines mean that newborns and infants up to age 1 should never sleep on their stomachs or on an incline. But there is one baby sleep technique that our night nanny and postpartum doula team swears by: Swaddling + White Noise = Sleepy Baby

Swaddling + White Noise = Sleepy Baby – What is White Noise?

White noise is an effective baby sleep tool because it simulates the sounds your newborn heard in the womb, and also masks other noises that might startle or awaken a sleeping baby. Sound masking works for adults too! You can make the shhh noise yourself, use a white noise app or purchase an item like the Hatch which can stay in the nursery and you can program from your phone.

white pink and brown noise
Different Color Noises that Help Baby Sleep

In the past, sleeping in the elevated position was recommended by many pediatricians and GI specialists. This was meant to soothe infant reflux or distress because the incline would help keep stomach contents down. However American Academy of Pediatrics guidelines state that the only safe sleeping position for baby is on his or her back. Further, as of June 2021, the Consumer Product Safety Commission has banned incline sleepers, rockers and other devices marketed as “sleepers” for babies.  This is because we now know that newborns’ airways can become constricted if their heads tip forward; a risk when using incline sleepers.

For parents whose babies are uncomfortable on their backs, it might be tempting to use baby gear to help prop baby up or co-sleep. It’s vital to remember that the AAP does not recommend sleep positioners or co-sleeping. And we already know that pillows and and rockers are unsafe. So what IS the answer to helping baby sleep soundly?  

Swaddling plus white noise after giving baby enough time to digest milk can quickly boost baby sleep while keeping them safely on their backs.  In addition to this, ensure that baby has been given at least 30 minutes to burp and work out any gas before lying down.  This way they don’t spit up or become uncomfortable. Thirty minutes is a long time in the middle of the night, but making that time investment, plus swaddling and introducing white noise will pay off later in the night in restful sleep for baby and you. 

Swaddling + White Noise = Sleepy Baby – How Do You Swaddle a Baby?

So how do you swaddle a baby? In general any baby blanket with a bit of give that fits snugly can be used as a safe swaddle. Night Nurse (RN) Ashley demonstrates 2 swaddling techniques:

As of 2022, updated AAP guidelines state that weight sleep sacs and swaddles should not be used. There is no safe amount of weight that can be placed on babies’ chest and ribcage and these products are also untested. As of night nurses often say, just because they sell it, doesn’t mean it’s safe.

This is not a sure fire answer to every sleep question, but swaddling baby, white noise and ensuring baby has had enough time to digest after feeding can be a helpful combination to allow baby to sleep comfortably and safely.