Feeding your baby may not be particularly "easy" yet, but it should be a bit more predictable these days. As you get a better hold on your four-week-old baby's feeding schedule, you may feel ready to explore a bit farther from home. Set yourself up for success by bringing along burp cloths, enough formula (if you're bottle-feeding your baby) or a breastfeeding cover (if you are more comfortable that way). The best way to build your confidence during outings is by starting somewhere—and we believe in you!
How much should a four-week-old baby eat?
The American Academy of Pediatrics and La Leche League recommend the following feeding schedules and amounts for 4-week-olds.
Breast milk: 2 to 3 ounces every 2 to 3 hours
Formula: 2 to 3 ounces every 3 to 4 hours
Mama, note that because formula tends to be metabolized more slowly than breast milk (meaning it takes longer to digest and empty from the stomach), when using formula, your baby's feeding windows may be a bit more spread out.
The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) also recommends that parents should follow the responsive feeding method, also known as feeding on demand, which looks to the infant's hunger cues for when to feed. The schedules below are just examples—be sure to follow your baby's hunger signals to know when your little one is ready for the next feeding. As babies get older, their hunger cues and feeding times start to become a little more predictable.
How often should a four-week-old or one-month-old baby eat? A sample feeding schedule:
Remember, it's more important that you follow your baby's cues than adhere to a set schedule, so schedules outlined are general guides of how frequently you'll feed your baby—not hard-and-fast rules.
These guidelines also apply primarily to infants born full-term and without any underlying medical conditions. For preterm infants, babies with certain medical conditions or for any specific questions pertaining to your child, be sure to consult your child's pediatrician for a more customized feeding schedule.
Can you introduce a bottle to a breastfed four-week-old baby?
For breastfeeding mamas who would like to offer a bottle to their baby on occasion, it's best to wait until your baby has good breastfeeding habits—which is usually around this point. Start by pumping after a feeding when your breasts still feel somewhat full. Then, when you are away from your baby, have another caregiver offer a bottle during a feeding time. You should also aim to pump at roughly the same time to keep milk supply up.
What to know about breastfeeding pain
Although breastfeeding can take some getting used to and there can be some discomfort in the beginning, it should not be a painful experience. The La Leche League recommends treating any pain, engorgement or blocked ducts quickly to prevent a larger breastfeeding problem from developing. Because the best course of treatment will depend on the issue, it's best to reach out to a lactation consultant for guidance.
However you are feeding your baby, there is a lot to get used to, which can be both overwhelming and empowering. Aim to celebrate the little moments of progress—like your growing baby moving into the next size of clothes, the first time they take a bottle or when you get an extra hour of sleep at night. You've got this, mama!
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