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Knowing how much your baby should be eating is the key to a happy and healthy baby. In this case, strive for just enough and not extremes of too much or too little. While babies can certainly tell you when they are hungry, it is important to know how much formula to prepare when formula feeding. 

In this article, we hope to answer the question: ‘How much formula should my baby be eating?’ This will be answered by giving you pointers as to the same effect. 

Is There a One-Size-Fits-All Schedule for Feeding?

Before we get into the details, let’s make one thing clear: everyone’s baby is different, and that’s okay! Your baby may or may not eat as much as general guidelines suggest. A crucial thing to keep in mind is that you need to listen to your baby. Most of the time, they know what they need in terms of food supply- while doing this, you should also try to stay away from extremes. 

Use of general trends and guidelines as benchmarks. These are great resources to see if your baby is eating as much formula on average or if you might need to investigate further. Just remember not to worry too much if your baby doesn’t follow these exactly. Also as said previously,  it is important to not derive too much from feeding recommendations. 

General Guidelines

Let’s get into some general trends for babies when it comes to formula feeding, several organizations provide basic feeding trends and guidelines that are supported by the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP). 

A basic rule of thumb is that: most infants under 6 months of age who only eat formula and/or breast milk usually consume between two (2) and two and a half (2½) ounces of formula per pound of body weight every day. 

For instance, if your baby weighs 10 pounds, then they would likely eat between twenty (20) and twenty-five (25) ounces of formula every day. Given a regular schedule, this translates to about one and a half (1½) to two (2) ounces of formula every two hours or so.

Let’s break this down in even more detail.

Newborn

Most newborns have pretty small stomachs – many of them are even smaller than your fist. Naturally, this means feedings with infant formula or breast milk alike will be pretty slow going at first. Indeed, most newborns eat about one (1) to three (3) ounces every two to three hours. 

2 Months to 4 Months

Continuing from the first point, as babies get older and their stomach gets larger, you might need to add an ounce or so every feeding session. Most babies weigh eleven (11) to twelve (12) pounds between months two and three and so their stomach can usually hold more by that time. 

By this time, babies will do more of their eating during the day: around four (4) to five (5) ounces every feeding. Furthermore, since babies usually demand food a little less frequently, It’s now normal for your baby to ask to be fed every three (3) to four (4). 

When it gets closer to the three to four-month mark, the quantity of feed may be up by an ounce – four (4) to six (6) ounces is quite normal, it really depends on your baby so ensure that you pay attention to their feeding habits. 

6 Months and Up

After 6 months, most parents start to investigate adding some solid food to their baby’s diets. This also means that the amount of formula fed in ounces will start to decrease. 

At this point, your formula-fed baby is probably eating between 6 and 8 ounces of formula every 4 to 6 hours, usually totaling between 32 and 36 ounces every day. Mix this in with some solids and slowly dial back the amount of formula as your baby learns to enjoy solid food.

The above guidelines is a safe and general answer for the question posed earlier: How much formula should my baby be eating? But, there is still more information that will help you to understand this better, on a more individual basis. 

Are There Differences in Feeding Times Between Formula and Breast Milk?

Yes, there may be some differences in the feeding lapse between formula feeding and breastfeeding. 

On the one hand, formula is a slightly different consistency compared to breast milk, especially when babies are newborns and so it can be a bit more filling. However, this doesn’t speak to any lack of nutrition. Formula is often a nutritious alternative – this is something we stand by.

On the other hand, breast milk is digested in a baby’s stomach more quickly than most types of infant formula. As a result, little ones are usually hungrier more often when they are fed with a breast milk-only diet.

If you choose to only use formula, you’ll actually benefit from slightly more spaced out feeding sessions, especially in the beginning. However, this frequency difference evens out when your baby gets to be a few months old or so.

Additionally, there isn’t much of a difference in terms of how much formula your baby should eat compared to breast milk.

When Is a Good Time to Feed Your Baby Formula?

Keeping the general guideline listed above in the back of your mind, it is fair to say that you should feed your baby whenever they ask! This seems like a simple answer, but it’s true – this process is called feeding on demand. Babies feed based on their own metrics rather than a clock and they often use cry to indicate that. 

Essentially what is being said is that, with newborns, it’s fine for you to feed your baby whenever they cry from hunger. 

However, as your newborn grows, they’ll eventually develop a more routine feeding schedule. This may or may not coincide perfectly with your own mealtimes, although it’s possible for you to train your little one even as early as a few months old by offering formula whenever you sit down to eat yourself.

Why Does Your Baby Seem Hungrier All of a Sudden?

This is normal and natural. In the beginning, babies cry for food often because they only ever have a couple of hours when they feel satisfied. 

As well as, your baby may be experiencing a growth spurt when it makes them hungrier and in demand for more breast or formula milk. This is common, especially as babies approach the three, six, and nine-month mark. They may need a lot of extra nutrition to keep up with all the changes their body is going through. 

In fact, many infants go through growth spurts at regular intervals. Some mothers report growth spurts around the first week or two after birth. Remember, don’t worry too much if your baby doesn’t have growth spurts around the same timeframe, your baby is an individual and a unique one at that. 

How Can You Tell If Your Baby Is Eating Enough?

On the flip side, sometimes you may worry about whether your baby is getting enough formula. Chances are good that, if you’re feeding them whenever they’re hungry, they’re definitely getting enough; most babies don’t hesitate to tell you when they want to feed.

Still, babies grow at different rates, which is why regular checkups with your doctor are a good idea during the first year. They can measure your baby and make sure that they’re developing properly, laying any concerns about whether they’re getting enough formula.

Overall, you should only worry about whether your baby is eating enough if they don’t seem to gain weight after a couple of months and if they don’t seem very satisfied, even after you feed them. Both of those could be signs that they aren’t receiving enough nutrition from the formula, again try to consult someone that you trust with the health of your baby. 

All in all, when it comes to this, remember to ask your doctor if you have any questions or concerns. They’ll be able to give you more concrete details. 

Are Regular Feeding Changes Normal?

Absolutely, regular feeding changes are normal. Babies change how much they eat all the time; the guidelines above are generalizations instead of strict rules. Some may notice that babies will go through days where they don’t want to eat a lot and other days when they can’t get enough. This does cause mothers who feed with formula to face a unique challenge since you have to prepare formula beforehand. 

The good news is that most infant formulas are easy to prepare and so you can usually do so within only 2-3 minutes. Per the CDC, as a good preparation and storage practice, you should ensure that you make fresh formula for every feeding or make a fresh batch and refrigerate it – discard after 24 hours if not used.  If you begin feeding then formula should never sit, or be refrigerated to be used later, discard all leftover formula.

This being said, your baby should eventually come up with a general schedule or eating trend that you’ll be able to identify over time. 

Summary

How much formula your baby should eat depends on your baby’s own feeding requirements – feeding on demand means that you should feed your baby when they cry for food. 

However, you can avoid overfeeding as well as underfeeding by using the general guidelines provided in this article.  Try to track your newborn’s feeding schedule as they get older and adjust accordingly. Good luck and enjoy this time with your little one. 

Bridget Reed
Author

Bridget Reed is an experienced writer, editor, and SEO content manager. She graduated with her bachelor’s in business management and organizational leadership and is a proud mom of three.

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