How Often Should My 3 Month Old Eat?

By Jenna Armstrong

April 23, 2019

My name is Jenna and I am am The Mama Coach in Winnipeg, MB. I am a Registered Nurse, lactation counselor, sleep coach, prenatal educator, CPR instructor, and a mom of 3 little ones! I am here to help!

3 months already!!

Your baby is 3 months old!!  You will be starting to notice your little one is able to tolerate longer stretches of awake time throughout the day, starting to smile, vocalizing, following objects with eyes, and lifting head when placed on tummy!  So many developmental changes and also changes in size!! In another three months (by 6 months of age), your little one will have doubled their birth weight!

With all these changes, these first few months may have been a bit of a blur!  No matter how old your baby is, when it comes to feeding, I always tell parents “don’t watch the clock, watch your baby”.  Look for those early feeding cues like hands to mouth, opening mouth, rooting…and feed your baby on demand. Crying is a late sign of hunger and an upset baby is much more challenging to feed.

Breastfeeding

Newborn babies that are breastfed will feed more frequently as they are setting up your milk supply.  Their stomach size starts off very small, about the size of a marble, so a much smaller capacity (¼-½ oz.)!  Breastmilk is easier to digest so breastfed babies will feel hungry sooner. By the time your little one is 3 months old their stomach has grown to about the size of an egg (2½-5 oz capacity).  Since their stomach capacity is larger, they can take in a greater volume of milk. You may be noticing your 3-month-old needs to nurse less often and you are able to develop a more reliable schedule!  Keep in mind, as your little one grows there will always be growth spurts where feeding frequency will pick up for a short time and then normalize again.

On average, a 3-month-old breastfed baby will feed every 3-4 hours, about 7-9 times per day.  You will notice your baby feeds more efficiently and is probably done in half the time it used to take for a feed.  Same rules mentioned above still apply to a feed, don’t watch the clock and worry about how long the baby has been on the breast, watch the baby for signs of an effective feed.  An effective feed includes big sucks and swallows at the breast. When that changes to more of a flutter suck then that’s the sign they have transitioned into using the breast more for comfort than nutrition.  This is a great time to try a breast compression (cupping your breast with your hand like a “C” pressing back, hold, squeeze forward and repeat). This will give the baby a surge of milk and encourage them to actively suck again.  When that sucks slows again, take them off, burp, and repeat on the other side. Once done at other side, your breasts should feel soft and empty, baby should be content, and this is the perfect time to find your little one some sleep!!

Bottle Feeding

Of course, for breastfed babies we have no idea how much they are getting volume wise, we just watch for that effective feed.  If you are bottle feeding, the amount will vary but a 3-month-old baby typically takes 4-6 ounces 5-7 times per day. Formula takes a little longer to digest, so you might be able to get a slightly longer stretch between feeds with a bottle feed baby.  

Bottom Line

The best sign that your little one is getting an adequate amount of milk, no matter whether they are breast or bottle feeding, is always be sure you have appropriate amounts of wet and dirty diapers.  A 3-month-old baby should have at least 4-5 very wet diapers per day. Babies this age should poop once a day but may skip a day here and there. Formula-fed babies typically go a little longer between bowel movements.  Another wellness indicator, is your little one should be steadily gaining weight at follow ups appointment with his or her health care provider.

Your doing a great job with your little one(s)!  If you have any questions or need some help, please reach out to any of The Mama Coaches, we would be happy to help!!

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