Thursday, August 20, 2009

Baby Whisperer: Number of Ounces

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Chapter three in The Baby Whisperer Solves All Your Problems is all about the liquid diet. Here are a couple of highlights on the number of ounces your baby will take in a day.

Decrease at 6 Months
On page 89, Hogg states that around 6 months of age, your baby will start to take less liquid in the day. This is harmonious with information on kellymom.com. It is good to note, for parents who start solids before 6 months, that the liquid shouldn't really decrease before 6 months. So if you start solids prior to that, remember to keep the liquid intake up. Don't sacrifice liquid for solid.

Trust Yourself
"By knowing your baby, tuning in to his cues, learning what is developmentally typical, and then using common sense to gauge where your baby stands, you'll probably know what is best. Trust yourself!" (page 93). I loved this thought.
Parents are often asking questions like how many ounces should baby get a day and how often should a 22.5 week old should be eating...you need to learn to trust yourself. This doesn't mean you don't need to educate yourself. Look at her steps:
  • Know your baby
  • Tune into cues
  • Learn what is typical
  • Use common sense
  • Trust yourself
Some babies eat more than others. Just like people, babies have different metabolisms. Know what things are like for you and your spouse because your baby will be genetically similar to someone. My husband has a really fast metabolism (lucky!). I do not. Some babies will need to eat more than others. Some will need to eat more often for longer.

As you do research, you will get confused. There is a wide range of information out there. Some books (many) give weight calculations to figure out the number of ounces your baby will take in a day. Some books and kellymom.com say that baby takes X number of ounces for certain ages, no matter the size (this is a more likely scenario for a breastfed baby than a formula fed baby since breast milk can change the number of calories per ounce). There are many different opinions out there. None of it is fact. If it was fact, there would be consistent information from book to book and website to website. Even kellymom, which says baby will take 25 ounces per day, also says that anywhere from 19-30 ounces from 1-6 months old (see http://www.kellymom.com/bf/pumping/milkcalc.html).

Moral of the story? Know what range can be expected. Be sure you are offering your baby enough, but follow her cues. Baby will not eat more than she needs. Trust you. You are with your baby more than anyone else. You are her parent and entitled to know her needs.

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21 comments:

Heidi said...

TOO TRUE - my babes were SO SO different when it came to feedings as babies - thanks for sharing. It IS confusing when you do any research - because all babies are so different. Thanks for your thoughts, I'm sure it will be empowering to many 2nd guessing mama's out there!

Linds said...

I love this post. When I started BFing Brayden, I didn't know how many ounces to offer in a bottle. Then I was reprimanded for following a schedule AND feeding TOO much. I felt SO bad so started feeding him less, but it was STILL hungry. Finally I gave up with what others were saying and did what I thought was best for my son. He has always eaten more than what kellymom says, but he will stop if he is full so I know he just needs more than the average baby. Thanks for this post!

Riddlez said...

I've had to bottle feed both of my babies. And, they also had stints in the NICU. It's all about numbers there so when I got home, I thought I had to keep those numbers or my kids would suffer.

Well, that combined with reflux, dysphagia and allergies made for bad feeding aversions. There is almost nothing more trying than a feeding aversion. Every 3-4 hours you have a huge fight with your baby just to keep them alive. It's miserable and can extend far beyond the bottle months into the toddler years.

What I've learned is just your post says: you know your baby. My girls never took more than 5 oz. - ever. My youngest is 8 months old and still only takes 5 oz. every 4 hours, has her 3 meals of solids and has a great sleeping schedule. She's in the 90th percentile for weight and height. She is clearly getting all the nutrition she needs.

I used to get so hung up on the numbers and averages. Your kids will tell you what they truly need.

Thanks for posting about this topic: the whole feeding issue has really impacted motherhood for me. I wish someone would have told me this earlier so I wouldn't have been so stressed.

Katie and Matt said...

THis post just lifted a significant weight from my shoulders!! I just started back to work last week and my 22 week old doesn't seem to want more than 3.5-4 oz of bm per feeding. I have been so concerned! Thank you, thank you, thank you!!

Johanna in MD said...

Phew! I am so grateful for this post. My LO will turn 4 months on Monday and he has started teething. I am not sure whether this is the root cause of him eating less (I read that the sucking aggavates the pain in the gums and so they stop eating before they are full). In any case, in Super Baby Food, they do provide a weight calculation for fluid intake and he is not even close. So, of course, as a first time mother I began to stress. His weight is great and he is definitely expressive about when he is full. However, because he was not meeting what I thought was a requirement, I became concerned about his nutrition. Thank you again because I think I can surrender this concern given your comments.

JenD said...

This was a helpful post - thank you! I have been stressed since my son (born 4/10) started daycare because I'm not sure how many ounces to put in his bottles. It's especially confusing because I'm using some frozen breastmilk from a few months ago, so I assume it has less calories than my current milk, so think that I need to give him more than what kellymom.com recommends. Right now he's eating five times a day (7, 10, 1, 4, 7), about 7 ounces per feeding.

Alicia said...

Thank you so much! I read your blog several times a week b/c my youngest is one week older than your Kaitlyn and it is fun to see how they are both progressing. Just today I was worried about the amount of milk (he breastfeeds only) he has been drinking from me b/c he has really started increasing his intake of baby cereal, mainly baby oatmeal. He really fusses when I try to bf him when he's not hungry. I thought that I was doing something wrong b/c I remember reading in Super Baby Food about the ounces per weight recommendations. Thanks for reminding me that I'm the mom though. You are wonderful! I love your quiet toy ideas too. I need to get some new things for my 2 year old for church :).

Alicia said...

I meant that my littlest is the same age as McKenna. Sorry :).

Plowmanators said...

You are welcome Heidi! I am amazed to see that three different children are all very different!

Plowmanators said...

Linds, it is true; babies know when they are full. There are exceptions, but most will stop when they are full. They are better at listening to their bodies than us adults :)

Plowmanators said...

Riddlez, thanks so much for sharing. I am sure that will be helpful for moms to read :)

Plowmanators said...

You are welcome Katie :)

Plowmanators said...

Johanna, you are welcome. And most babies do eat less while teething. Be prepared that he might need to eat more after the teething pain is over.

Plowmanators said...

You are welcome Jen!

Plowmanators said...

Alicia, you are welcome! And I totally lol at the Kaitlyn/McKenna mix up. My DH ALWAYS mixes them up ;) So you aren't alone :)

Emily said...

I left this question on another post but I realize it really belongs here. My son is big for his age and has been on a 4 hour schedule for awhile now with no issues (he's about 6 1/2 months old). He's a true Babywise Baby and I've followed the instructions for the solids. I nurse him first before each solid feeding (7, 11, and 7) and then he PIGS OUT on solids. He'll down 1/4 cup rice cereal, 1/2 jar of applesauce and a whole jar of veges no problem. I know to feed them until they are content but he will just eat and eat if I don't stop him! This wouldn't worry me but I've noticed my milk supply has gone down. I pump for sessions that I give a bottle (of expressed breast milk) and it's always the same time (the night feeding if we're out I give him the bottle and pump before I go to bed). I used to ALWAYS get 8 oz and since solids it's gone to 7 1/2, 7, 6 1/6, 6 and now 5 1/2. This worries me as I know liquid should be his main source of nutrition still. Like this post says, I trust myself and I feel like it's not okay!!! Any advice/help would be appreciated!!!! thanks so much, your blog has been a HUGE blessing to me :)
Emily

Plowmanators said...

Emily, I think I answered this on your other question. Did I?

Plowmanators said...

Emily, I was just reading in the Nursing Mother's Companion. In it, she says that after four months, you might notice a dip in the amount you can pump. She said many women overproduce in the first few months. She said a good guide is to be able to pump 1.5 ounces per hour. She also points out that if you are pumping regularly to be sure you have a good pump.

Kayla Reid said...

Hello! Thank you so much for your blog. It has helped me tremendously in implementing baby wise and baby whisperer! Your a true inspiration! I have a issue I need some advice on with my baby girl. She is 9 weeks old (2 Months) and have eating issues, So I think. OK so she used to be eating 4-5oz at each feeding, she feeds at 7,10,1,4,7 & 11, so six times a day. The last two weeks she has been only eating 2.5-3 oz at each feeding. No matter what I try she will not eat anymore than that. Ive tried feeding her every two hours but then she will only eat 1oz, I've tried feeding her 3.5 hours (if she will last) and still only 2-3oz per feed. Which means if I'm lucky she gets 20-24oz each day. Recently in order to get her to eat more, Ive been trying to give her more food right before she goes to sleep since its the only time she will eat a little more. Im afraid if I keep doing this, she will get used to eating right before sleep even if its only 1oz. Plus that doesn't follow the baby wise and EASY routine, so I am also worried that will throw her metabolism off, but I am DESPERATE to get her to eat more during the day, so she won't wake up starving at night! Any suggestions or advice? She weighs 12.9oz and is 23 inches long. She should be eating more than 2.5-3 oz per feeding at this age and weight. Help :(

Kayla Reid said...

Oh and also, it seems to be a fight to get her to eat more. She fusses and refuses to eat, but because I've been told she should be taking at least 24oz per day now, I am worried a lot when she only takes in 20-23oz. Could she possibly just really only need 2.5-3oz? even though she was eating more 2 weeks ago? or could it be a feeding strike? My pedi didn't really help me or say anything useful when I talked to her about it.

Charla Pola said...

Hi Kayla - I'm curious to what happened with your daughter. Did she start increasing her ounce intake again or did you modify her schedule? I'm in a similar situation with my daughter. Though, I have been EBF and just started to offer the bottle more consistently at 13weeks (going back to work soon). At 12 weeks, her feeding just started to get off. I thought it was a growth spurt but now not sure. We do/did babywise but probably not quite as strict (wish I would have) and she usually ate between 2.5-3 hrs EBF. Now during the day is taking 2.5-3oz, and I can get another ounce out of her a hour later or just before a nap. Don't want this to become her new schedule, but can't get her to eat more at each feeding. She also seems to consistently be hungry around 2 - 2.15 hrs and has a hard time making it past 2.5hrs.

Moms any suggestions are welcomed! Thank you!

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