Feeding Patterns

The feeding of infants requires practical interpretation of specific nutritional needs and the widely varying limits of a normal baby's appetite and behavior regarding food. Variation in times between feedings is to be expected in the first few weeks during the establishment of a self-regulation plan. By the end of first month, more than 90 percent of infants establish a suitable and reasonably regular schedule. Most healthy bottle-fed infants want six to nine feedings every 24 h by the end of first week of life; breast-fed infants prefer shorter intervals.12

Feedings should be considered as having progressed satisfactorily if the infant is no longer losing weight by 5 to 7 days and is gaining weight by 12 to 14 days. Parents usually need reassurance that their infant is obtaining adequate nutrition because of the wide variation in the intakes of normal infants. It is important to appreciate that infants cry for reasons other than hunger and that they need not be fed every time they cry.

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