How Long Can A 2 Month Old Go Without Eating? Should You Withhold Feeding While The Baby Is Sleeping?

Two-month-old infants may go for a four to six-hour stretch without food. According to Nevada pediatrician Susan E. C. Sorensen, babies older than six months can go for six hours without feeding. But infants younger than six months may have a shorter duration. So, it is mostly fine to allow your baby to sleep without feeding up to six hours max.

To wake or not to wake infants for feeding

You have probably heard about demand feeding, where you nurse babies at their cue. But you probably also heard about scheduled feeding where you clock your child’s mealtime. It is confusing and worrisome, especially for new parents, if the baby is unfed or not showing hunger cues.

Babies are unique on their own, and their developmental milestone varies differently. Even their eating and sleeping habit is not the same.

That’s why you will notice that some newborns are more timid or voracious than others. Other infants sleep through the night while others can get fidgety or even colicky, resulting in your sleepless nights as well.

At two months, some babies will tend to sleep from 5 to 6 hours at night.

They are also able to increase their milk consumption at this time. As such, there is no need to wake them up to feed. Their physiological drive will let you know when they are hungry, and there’s no way for parents to miss it.

As long as babies are content and hit their milestones, you can let them go for long hours without food.

When to wake babies for feeding

A young dad is feeding his newborn baby from a bottle during the baby's routine feeding time.

Waking a baby for feeding is only necessary for the first four weeks of his life. At this time, he will shed off extra fluid that he got inside his mom’s tummy and reduce his weight. Thus, they need a strict feeding schedule to keep up and regain their weight.

Feeding a newborn is a must, and parents should fulfill those NEEDS rather than waiting for the infant to fill his WANTS.

It is also imperative to wake the baby for scheduled feeding if your little one has a medical condition that keeps him lethargic and sleepy – regardless of age.

The same is true if your baby is premature and underweight and needs to be fed frequently.

What to expect in your newborn’s eating habit

The changes in the newborn are such an exciting phase for parents to witness. It is not just about watching them grow from the fragile one you brought in from the nursery.

Much like the physical changes, their changing behaviors and habits are also surprising. But like we say, babies develop differently.

Here are some of the usual changes you should expect as your newborn gets older, according to the CDC:

  • He will be able to draw more milk at each feeding as his belly grows. Thus, feeding time will become less frequent when he is full at every mealtime. That is suffice to say that you do not need to feed your baby at 2 months old the same way as you feed him when he was still a newly born infant unless special considerations like medical conditions and premature delivery arise.
  • Feeding time for a breastfeeding baby is about every two to four hours interval on average.
  • The infant feeding session often changes depending on the time of the day. Sometimes, it will take them longer, other times it can be short.
  • Some infants will cluster feed or feed as often as every hour at times.
  • Babies naturally feel drowsy when they are content and satiated.

FAQs

How can I wake my baby for feeding?

You can rouse your baby from sleep through gentle patting or stroking. You may also change his diaper or just pick him up and put him against your chest.

When to wean babies off nighttime feeding?

The best age for nighttime weaning (not letting baby feed through the night) is six months. If your baby is sleeping through feeding or does not nurse long, he is ready to give up his midnight snacks.

Who needs fewer feedings, breastfed or bottle-fed babies?

2-month old bottle-fed babies will digest formula slower than breastmilk. Thus, they may need fewer feedings as do with a breastfed baby.

Takeaway

Letting your healthy baby go for long hours without food over their sleep is perfectly okay.

Healthy full-term babies know their needs and decide how much or how often to eat. So if your little one is not interested in food or sleeping more than usual, talk it out with your pediatrician.

The physician will be able to assess your child and educate you better on what to expect during your baby’s second month of life.

Ann Marie is a licensed nurse in the Philippines. She experienced handling and assisting deliveries of newborns into the world. She also trained in labor rooms and pediatric wards while in nursing school - helping soon-to-be mothers and little kids in the process. Though not a mother by nature but a mother by heart, Ann Marie loves to take care of her younger cousins as well as nephews and nieces during her free time.

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