During the first few weeks of motherhood, feeding the baby at night is unavoidable. Newborns have tiny tummies, and they can’t take in too much milk during feeding. On Day 1, newborn bellies are about as big as a marble. On Day 3, it’s about the size of a walnut. A newborn can only drink about one tablespoon of colostrum or formula at each feeding. If you’re worried about how much milk your baby is getting, remember the size of their bellies. You are most likely giving more than enough.

Feeding the baby at night will be a regular part of your new baby’s routine. Because they can’t take in too much milk at one time, they have to feed often not to get hungry. While this means sleepless nights are inevitable, this phase in a baby’s life will be over before you know it. Keep in mind that night feedings give you extra opportunities for cuddling your baby, who will not stay tiny forever. 

Here’s a quick guide to how often a baby needs to feed. Remember that this is just a general guide, and each baby is unique.

Zero to three months old – on demand

Three to four months old – Three to four feeds per night

Four to six months old – One to two feeds per night

Six to nine months old – One feed or no feeds per night

Nine months to one year old – As needed by the child or as determined by parents.

Keeping this guide in mind, here are some ways to feed your baby at night, so your baby stays well-fed.

Decide Whether You Want To Bottle Feed or Breastfeed

How to feed your baby is a personal choice. Whether you choose to breastfeed, start pumping early on, or bottle feed using the formula, each choice is valid. Once you’ve decided, this will determine how and when you’ll feed your baby at night. Choosing what works best for you and your family might take trial and error. When you’ve discovered what works best, there are different ways to feed your baby at night.

If You’re Breastfeeding:

Most breastfeeding moms feed on demand. When the baby shows signs of hunger, usually by crying, this tells you that it’s time to feed. One of the easiest ways of feeding the baby at night for breastfeeding moms is to co-sleep with the baby. 

Co-sleeping means that the mom can get to the baby quickly and go back to sleep right after the baby is full. Numerous co-sleepers are available that ensure safe co-sleeping and keep mom and baby in the same room. Easy access is critical here.

If You’re Bottle-Feeding:

Ensure to feed your baby enough before putting them to bed.

Ensure to feed your baby enough before putting them to bed.

Bottle-feeding gives moms and parents more options for feeding the baby at night. Whether you choose to feed expressed breastmilk or formula, either parent or a caregiver can give the baby the bottle. This break provides mom more time to rest at night. 

On-demand feeding is often done for newborns or until the baby is about three months old. When the baby cries, the parent or caregiver assigned to night duty wakes up and feeds the baby via a bottle. For older babies, you can start putting the baby on a schedule. For example, feed before sleeping and start getting the baby used to feed every three to four hours.

Dream Feeding:

Some parents also subscribe to dream feeding when feeding the baby at night. A dream feed is when you feed your baby when they are half-awake or in a dreamy state. It is done late at night and usually right before the parent or caregiver goes to bed. Typically, dream feeding happens two to three hours after your baby goes to bed. 

Dream feeding means slightly waking up your baby for a feed and feeding them via breast or bottle. The idea is that giving your baby one late meal fills them up and allows them to sleep for a longer stretch. From a two to three-hour sleep period, a dream feed stretches your baby’s sleep to a three to four-hour stretch of sleep. As a result, parents get more sleep, and everybody wakes up well-rested and happier. 


Feeding the baby at night is an essential and unavoidable part of newborn days. Night feedings help babies get the nutrition they need to grow healthy and happy. Don’t worry; your baby will eventually sleep through the night. Soon, you’ll have an energetic toddler, so enjoy these precious moments with your baby.