It can be difficult to figure out how much formula to give your baby. Is he getting too much or too little? How much suffices? The answers depend mostly on how much your baby weighs and how he’s growing.
How much formula to feed your baby: Where to start
In basic, infants eat when they’re hungry and stop when they’re complete. However formula-fed babies tend to be much heavier than breastfed babies, cravings vary among babies, and each baby’s nutritional needs change from day to day and month to month.
That may sound complicated, but if you follow the fundamental standards below and check in routinely with your baby’s doctor, your baby will likely be on track.
Our standards are for babies who are exclusively formula fed for the first four to 6 months, and after that fed a mix of formula and solids up to age 1.
Do not give your baby more than 32 ounces of formula in a day, and once he starts eating solids, you’ll probably need to cut down on the amount of formula you feed him. Your baby’s doctor can inform you where your baby falls on the growth charts and help make sure he’s growing progressively and getting a healthy quantity of formula.
Note: If your baby is getting a mix of breast milk and formula, talk to his doctor for more detailed advice.
How much formula by baby’s weight
In the first 4 to 6 months when your baby isn’t really eating any solids, here’s a simple general rule: Offer 2.5 ounces of formula per pound of body weight every day.
For instance, if your baby weighs 6 pounds, you’ll give her about 15 ounces of formula in a 24-hour period. If she weighs 10 pounds, you’ll give her about 25 ounces in a 24-hour period.
These numbers are not stiff guidelines. They give you a total average for what your baby is most likely to need. His everyday feedings will vary according to his specific needs– simply puts, he may desire a bit more on some days and a bit less on others.
How much formula by signs of hunger
Discovering how to read your baby’s hunger hints will help you know when and how much formula to feed your baby.
Your brand-new baby: If your newborn is hungry, she’ll eventually weep. However weeping is a late sign of appetite. Earlier signs to watch for include smacking her lips or sucking, rooting (turning her head towards your hand when you stroke her cheek), and putting her hands to her mouth.
Changing appetites: Your baby might be hungrier than normal during growth spurts. These normally occur 10 to 14 days after birth and at age 3 weeks, 6 weeks, 3 months, and 6 months. And your baby might be less starving than usual if she’s not feeling well.
Wanting more: You’ll know that your baby wants more when she completes the feeding rapidly and looks around for more. If she appears starving after her first bottle, try preparing simply an ounce or two more at a time. If you make a larger quantity, she might not finish it and you’ll have to throw it out.
Getting excessive in a feeding: Vomiting after a feeding might be a sign that your baby had too much. (Spitting up is regular, vomiting isn’t really. Discover how to discriminate.) Tummy pain after a feeding can also suggest overfeeding. If your baby prepares his legs or his tummy appears tense, he may be in pain.( See six other possible factors for stomach pain in infants.).
It’s not constantly appetite: Resist the desire to react to your baby’s every whimper with a bottle. Consider the possibility– specifically if you’ve recently fed her– that she’s weeping because her diaper is damp, she’s cold or hot, she needs to be burped, or she just wishes to be close to you.
How much formula by baby’s age
In the first week, formula-feed your newborn as needed. After that, it’s essential not to overfeed your baby so he’ll remain at a healthy weight.
Most new babies wish to eat every few hours. Start with 1.5 to 2 ounces at each feeding for the first week, and develop to 2 to 3 ounces every three to 4 hours.
As your baby ages– and his tummy grows– he’ll drink fewer bottles a day with more formula in each. By about 1 month, for example, he may be down to five or 6 bottles of 4 ounces every 24 hours. And by 6 months, he’ll typically be down to 4 or 5 bottles of 6 to 8 ounces each day.
He’s most likely to preserve that four-to-five-bottle pace up until his first birthday, when he can shift to whole cow’s milk in a bottle or sippy cup, in addition to three solid meals and two snacks in between meals daily.
Signs that your baby’s getting the correct amount of formula
These are signs that your baby’s getting all the formula she requires:
- Steady weight gain. She continues to put on weight after her first two weeks and maintains the same pattern of growth during her first year. (Most children lose up to 10 percent of their birth weight and then restore it by the time they’re about 2 weeks old.).
- Pleased baby. She seems unwinded and pleased after a feeding.
- Wet diapers. She wets 5 to 6 diapers a day if you’re using non reusable diapers, or six to eight if you’re using cloth diapers. (Disposables hold more liquid.).
Worries that your baby’s getting excessive or too little formula
If you’re stressed that your baby is getting too little or too much formula, talk with his doctor. The doctor can inspect your baby’s weight and growth, tell you whether his intake is appropriate for his size and age, and advise you about any changes you might need to make.