How often should I feed my formula-fed baby, and how much?
Real Mom Problem
“How do I know if he is getting enough to eat? I can't wait until he can at least say "food" so I know he's hungry!”
- 1. Always discuss the right amount to feed with your pediatrician
Real Mom Solutions
You've decided to formula-feed your baby, but how do you know how much formula to put in each bottle? Amounts vary for newborns and older babies. Check out these moms' tips for formula feeding amounts and frequency.
Start Your Newborn Off Right
If starting formula as a newborn (0-3 months), I would start with around 2 oz every 2 hours and go from there. Again, as the baby grows and eats more formula, follow their hunger cues as to how often to feed them. If you feel like they are hungry an hour after you just fed them, it may mean that it is time to increase the amount by an ounce. Also, you can use the feeding charts that the AAP provides
I prefer to go by a schedule from the very beginning. With a newborn, I feed two to three ounces, every four hours, then increase at four months, according to weight. Talk to your pediatrician about guidelines.
One to two ounces the first few days, every three to four hours. Then slowly increase the ounces as baby grows and spreads feedings further apart.
Feed on Demand
Start off with four ounces at a feeding and see if your little one is still hungry. Look for signs of hunger or satisfaction at the end. If they fall asleep, they're likely done. If they cry or continue to 'search' for more, you can give them some more. You'll get the hang of it over time, it takes trial and error. In the first few weeks of their lives, babies will often go through small growth spurts which will throw off their intake and they will want more. Again, use your babies 'cues' to know when they need more.
Feed them when they get fussy or cry for food. I was told formula babies eat every 3 to 4 hours, but both my babies ate every two hours. Start an infant off with two ounces, and then give more as they become no longer satisfied with that amount. Most babies will stop eating when they are full, so the trick is to find the right amount so there is no wasted formula.
Newborns have tiny stomachs, and should be fed accordingly. A two to three ounce bottle every two to three hours is fine for a brand new baby. As they get older they will require more milk. My policy is feed them when they are hungry. With my daughter, if she is hungry (she is nearly six months) we make up a full bottle and let her drink as much as she wants out of it.
Start with a few ounces and take your time feeding baby. This isn't a race. Feed an ounce or two, then burp. Watch baby's cues. Is he still rooting around looking for food? Or does he seem content and sleepy? If he seems hungry still, feed another ounce or so and burp.
Try These Amounts for Older Babies
I fed my children about two ounces every three hours until they were about two months old. Then we graduated to four ounces every three hours until about five months old. At six months we went to sippy cups with about six ounces about five times a day. Food was introduced at this age so the need for formula was mostly between meals.
My son is almost six months and he eats 8-12 four-ounce bottles a day as well as solids. I feed him as often as he's hungry, four ounces to start.
My son is three and a half months old and he's up to six to eight ounces a feeding. Once they begin to eat solids, they take less formula.