Mama, your beautiful baby is here! And as you've probably already learned, feeding your one-week-old baby is truly a full-time job. Whether you're breastfeeding your newborn, getting your little one on a formula schedule or some combination of the two, the early days postpartum are filled with endless hours of eating and sleeping—hopefully for both mama and baby.
How often and how much should a one-week-old newborn eat?
The American Academy of Pediatrics and La Leche League recommend the following feeding schedules and amounts for one-week-old newborns.
Breast milk: 1 to 2 ounces every 2 to 3 hours
Formula: 1 to 2 ounces every 2 to 3 hours for the first few days; 2 to 3 ounces every 3 to 4 hours after the first few days
Related: Baby Sleep Guides & Schedules
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.
Sample one-week-old baby 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 or 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.
One-week-old baby hunger cues may include:
Gentle cues: Eyes moving beneath closed eyelids or eyelids fluttering when waking from sleep, moving their hands toward their mouth, licking their lips, sticking out their tongue or opening and closing their mouth
Stronger cues: Rooting (turning their head from side to side repeatedly), whimpering, sucking on hands
Obvious demands: Crying, tensing up. fussiness
Related: 1-month-old baby milestones
What are common causes of breastfeeding pain?
If you (and your baby!) are working on establishing breastfeeding, you'll also want to be aware of common causes of breastfeeding pain—so that you can stay ahead of any preventable issues. When your baby is first born, you produce colostrum. That then transitions to breast milk in a few days, which is generally accompanied by heavy, swollen breasts, known as engorgement. You may also experience sore, chafed nipples. You can alleviate this by using a baby-safe nipple cream. If your newborn's latch is causing you pain, stop the feeding and try to relatch more carefully. Other common causes of breast pain include clogged ducts, mastitis or thrush. If you suspect you're experiencing any of this, reach out to a lactation consultant or doctor—but note that it's fine for your baby to continue breastfeeding.
Feeding your baby comes with a learning curve—for you both! During the first week's flurry of physical demands, the best thing you can do is stay ahead of any concerns. Do that by giving yourself grace, asking questions and welcoming support when it feels right. You've got this!
Read more about wellness for mama and your 1-week-old:
- How much sleep does a 1-week-old baby need?
- Motherly's Postpartum Wellness Class is here!
- Subscribe to the Becoming Mama podcast
- 9 things I wish my husband had known before we brought baby home
A version of this story was published December 13, 2021. It has been updated.