Q: Should I wake my newborn if they’re still sleeping when it’s meant to be feedtime?
Generally, sleeping newborns are a good sign. However, on average, babies should feed every three to four hours since babies lose 5–7 per cent of their body weight in the first week and thus need to feed regularly.
Once they are gaining weight, they can be left longer overnight if they are settled. Feed according to your baby’s signs: once they’ve had enough they will get sleepy, fidgety or distracted. Generally, they will remain unsettled if still hungry.
What’s normal? For formula-fed newborns, it’s 60–90 ml per feed every three to four hours, while if on the breast, quantities will be smaller but more frequent. By six months, it’s 180–240 ml four or five times a day.
Unless ill or premature, most babies regain their lost weight by 14 days and will have doubled their birth weight by about three to four months. Just remember, the average 12-year-old is taller than their parents, so enjoy this baby phase while you can.
—Heather Winter, Midwife, Sydney Adventist Hospital
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