By Elizabeth Pantley, author of The No-Cry Nap Solution ~~~
A newborn baby has a very tiny stomach, it’s the size of one miniature fist. Before birth, in the womb, babies don’t need to think about eating, their nutritional needs are continuously met — they never feel hunger. After birth, however, babies must adjust to a different reality.
Hunger is a new sensation. Furthermore, they are growing rapidly, their tummies are small, their diet is liquid, and it digests very quickly. To fuel their amazing growth, newborns need to eat every two to four hours — and sometimes more — day and night. Breastfed newborns may sometimes need to nurse an hour and a half after their last feeding. It’s normal.
By the time your baby is three to four months old he’ll be able to “sleep through the night” – which for a young baby means five consecutive hours of sleep without waking for a feeding. (A small number of babies achieve this milestone sooner and some take a bit longer.) It’s important to realize that even when your baby begins to sleep for seven or more hours, he may begin that span at 7:00 P.M., which means he’ll be waking for a feeding at 2:00 A.M. This is also normal.
In the majority of cases it isn’t necessary to wake your baby for a feeding, even if they are sleeping longer than usual. Just keep an eye on them. If your baby is an exception (such as premature babies or those with special needs) your health care provider will let you know if your baby should be awoken from sleep for a feeding.
Elizabeth Pantley is a mother of four, grandmother, and author of the bestselling book, The No-Cry Sleep Solution for Newborns plus 8 other books in the No-Cry Solution Series, which helps Moms and Dads through all key stages of parenting. Visit her at nocrysolution.com.