Q&A about feeding your baby at home

​When you get home, you may have questions about feeding your baby who was born premature or sick. We answer some common questions here.

Is my baby getting enough to eat and gaining enough weight?

In the first few weeks, you may find your baby feeds irregularly; some babies may demand to be fed more often than on the unit. This is to be expected, while you and your baby work out the best pattern for you at home.

Every baby is different, and they should be fed according to their own needs. 

If you offer feeds frequently and make sure your baby takes as much as they want at each feed, your baby should stop feeding when they have had enough.

If you think your baby is feeding too much or too little, discuss it with your health visitor or GP.

You can be sure that your baby is getting enough milk if they have plenty of wet nappies, are growing and gaining weight, and are alert and awake for some of the time.

My baby is feeding every two to three hours. Is this normal?

If your baby is under four months and is growing well, you shouldn’t worry. It is very common for babies to feed more frequently when they first go home. 

If your baby isn’t gaining weight, ask your health visitor or GP for advice. If feeds start lasting significantly longer than normal, you should also seek advice.

What if my baby is feeding badly – not very often, small amounts and hardly gaining any weight?

The amount of weight you would expect them to gain is between four and seven ounces a week, but this is only a general guide. 

Different babies will gain weight at a different pace. 

If your baby is under the care of a dietitian, he or she will advise you about a healthy weight gain for your baby.

The community neonatal nurse or health visitor will normally weigh your baby once a week for the first few weeks at home, and help you with any worries or concerns you may have.

My baby has not had a dirty nappy for a few days. What should I do?

Every baby’s bowel habits are different and many things can cause them to change. This can be due to:

  • A change in feeding routine
  • Changing from breast to formula milk
  • A change in type of formula milk
  • Slight dehydration due to hot weather

If your baby seems well and is feeding, don’t worry. However, if you are still concerned and your baby is not feeding well, is vomiting or their tummy is swollen, seek advice.

For more information you can order or download our free booklet Going home: the next big step.

The information on this page is more than two years old