Mother feeding baby boy with a milk bottle at home

How much formula does your baby need

When it comes to feeding your baby, we know that responding to your baby’s hunger cues and feeding on demand is best. But as parents we often want more specific guidance, especially when it comes to how much formula we should be feeding our baby each day. How much is enough? How much is too much? Let’s set the record straight.

Mother feeding baby boy with a milk bottle at home

During the first 6 months when solid foods are not yet in the picture, there’s a simple rule of thumb to figure out how much formula your baby needs. Offer 2.5 ounces of formula per pound of body weight each day. Remember that your baby may periodically take more or less than this amount depending on their hunger and growth spurts. Below is an example for a baby who weighs 10 pounds:

10 pounds x 2.5 ounces = 25 ounces total per day

To figure out the number of ounces per bottle, divide this number by the number of feedings your baby has in a day. If your baby feeds 8 times per day, you would divide 25 by 8, which comes out to a little over three ounces per feeding:

25 ounces total per day / 8 feeding times per day = 3.12 ounces per feeding

Once your baby reaches six months of age, complimentary solid foods are introduced. You may find that he naturally takes a little less formula at this age compared to when he was a younger infant. This is normal! Just remember, formula and/or breastmilk should remain the primary source of nutrition, with solid foods secondary to that, up until your baby is one year old.

Take a look at the below chart to see average feeding amounts and frequencies based on baby’s age.

Age Number of feedings per day Amount of formula per feed
Birth-1 week 6-10 2-3 ounces
1 week-1 month 7-8 2-4 ounces
1-3 months 5-6 4-5 ounces
3-6 months 4-5 6-7 ounces
6-9 months 3-4 7-8 ounces
9-12 months 3 7-8 ounces

Note that The American Academy of Pediatrics suggests babies should not be drinking more than 32 ounces of formula per day. If you notice your little one is taking in more than this, reach out to your pediatrician to discuss.

Keep in mind, each baby is different and that these amounts are averages. Babies’ appetites may change, just as ours do! Your baby may eat more or less on any given day. By responding to your baby’s hunger cues (sucking on hands, opening and closing mouth, rooting) and fullness cues (starts and stops the feeding often, unlatching or spitting out the nipple, fidgets and is distracted, closes mouth), you will be comfortably feeding your baby in line with his appetite and satiety.

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