There are a few reasons why a newborn might not eat after birth.
One possibility is that the infant is not getting enough milk from the mother.
This blog will answer your concerns regarding your baby’s feeding pattern.
How Long Can A Newborn Go Without Eating After Birth?
After a newborn is born, many parents are eager to begin feeding them.
It is generally agreed that newborns can go up to four days without eating, but how long can they go without eating till it becomes a health problem?
The answer to this question is not straightforward as it depends on several factors, including the age and weight of the newborn, the mother's diet, and whether the newborn is breastfed or formula-fed.
It Depends On How The Baby’s Feeding
Babies born preterm tend more likely to have problems with feeding and swallowing than full-term newborns.
Babies born at or near term may have difficulty feeding early on in life if their digestive system is not fully developed yet.
It Is Difficult For All Babies To Eat Right Away
It might be hard for your newborn to start eating right away.
Babies are born with empty stomachs and need time to digest their first meal.
They do not start feeding immediately but may not be ready for a bottle or breast until hours after birth.
It can take several days before a newborn can coordinate nursing well enough to get the nourishment they need from breastfeeding or formula.
Babies also have varying tolerance levels for different foods, so some may need more time than others before they are ready to eat solid foods like fruits and vegetables. Even then, some infants will only accept soft fruits such as bananas as part of their diet at first.
Establishing A Feeding Pattern Takes Time
It takes a while for babies to learn how to eat.
They need to learn how much is enough and when they are full.
While it can be tempting for parents and caregivers to rush their newborns into a feeding schedule immediately, it is important not to do so.
It will set them up for failure later on in life by leading them down the path of overeating or fasting due to a lack of proper nutrition or both.
In addition, establishing a feeding pattern takes time, during which your baby may cry during feeding sessions or refuse food altogether.
It could happen due to many factors, including hunger, anxiety about eating, discomfort from being held upright for too long, lack of interest in certain foods like sweet potatoes or squash, etc.
Babies' Digestive Systems Are Immature
Newborns do not have fully developed digestive systems yet.
It takes time for babies to digest food, and they can not eat as much as adults do.
They also do not digest milk, which is why you may notice that your newborn seems hungry after only a few hours of feeding.
Feeding Is More Important Than Weight Gain
Feeding is important for bonding and establishing a feeding pattern.
It is important for brain development.
If breastfeeding, it is best to start with breastmilk or formula and no solids until six months old to put your baby on solid food gradually.
It is better than rushing them into solids immediately after birth because this could lead to digestive problems later on down the line when they get older.
The Right Way Of Feeding
It is normal for newborns to go several hours without eating, regardless of how they are fed.
The time it takes for a newborn to eat after birth depends on the feeding method.
For example, breastfed babies will usually be able to go longer between feedings because they do not have as much milk in their system and can rest while they digest it.
Formula-fed infants may need to eat more often, but if you use an appropriate formula that meets your baby's nutritional needs, you should not have any concerns about them going hungry for hours.
In addition, bottle-feeding is usually more convenient than breastfeeding because bottles allow moms to give their babies smaller amounts at a time.
So even if your baby refuses food after birth, there should still be enough left over from their birth weight (about 8 ounces) by evening so they will not feel hungry again until morning.
Our Final Thoughts
Dear reader, we are glad you asked how long can a newborn go without eating after birth.
Newborns can go a couple of hours without eating. It does not matter how they are fed.
It is true whether they eat by mouth or through a bottle.
While it is good not to overdo it with feeding your newborn, which can lead to diaper rashes and other problems, it is also normal for them not to eat for a few days or weeks after birth.
If your baby has been in this situation before, there is no cause for alarm.
Just know that they do not need special treatment unless something is amiss with their health.
In the meantime, keep an eye on their growth rate and ensure they are getting enough rest during these slow-down periods so that when your baby finally gets hungry again, there will be plenty of nutrients available for them.