During their early months, babies usually wake up every three hours wanting food. But what happens if the feeds are spaced out and the baby skips one? There are several factors to consider when deciding what to do.
Although it is difficult to determine exactly how many times a day you should feed a newborn, they generally want the breast or a bottle six to eight times a day. However, every child has his own rhythm and no one knows this better than his mother. If your baby is satisfied, has from four to six wet nappies a day and gains weight you can relax.
But what happens if your baby skips one of these feeds? If this is an isolated incident and your baby simply spaces out two feeds, it may be for a range of reasons. Perhaps your baby consumed more than usual at the previous feed and is full. Don't worry, baby will ask to be fed as usual as soon as his stomach feels empty again. Your baby may be constipated and appear less hungry than usual, however once this passes everything will go back to normal. Or it may just be that your baby was enjoying the sleep and took longer to wake up. It is generally recommended that feeds are no further than four hours apart in the first three months, so if this situation regularly repeats itself, see your paediatrician.
Until babies gain the weight after birth, they should not skip feeds at night and be fed every three hours. If their weight is not low, they can soon start feeding every four or five hours after few weeks.
Unless the paediatrician tells you otherwise, and provided that your baby has gained enough weight in the first weeks, you can start following his night schedules after about six weeks.
Reviewed by: Roser de Castellar – Doctor