It is a frequent parental concern to wonder if you are feeding your infant enough breast milk, baby formula, or solid food. This can add to the uncertainty, as babies require varied amounts of food based on their body weight, hunger, and age. Fortunately, experts provide some suggestions.
Listening to an infant’s hunger and fullness cues to guide intake is one of the most important things you can do, rather than giving them a particular amount during each meal. Consult a pediatrician if you’re still uncertain about your baby’s feeding requirements after reading the information below.
All of a newborn’s calories should come from breast milk or formula. The following is a preliminary breakdown of neonatal feeding patterns.
According to the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP), most babies eat every two to three hours and consume 1-2 ounces of breast milk every meal. At two weeks of age, this amount increases to two to three ounces.
Rather than measuring breast milk consumption, it is more effective to monitor your baby’s output. If your infant wets their diaper two to three times per day in the first few days, and then five to six times per day after four or five days, they are eating enough.
How much baby formula at 6 months
In the first week, a baby formula-fed infant will consume between 1 and 2 ounces per feeding, progressively increasing to 3 to 4 ounces per meal by the end of the first month. Breastfed newborns tend to eat every three to four hours, while formula-fed infants are more likely to have a consistent feeding pattern.
According to Amy Lynn Stockhausen, M.D., an associate professor of general pediatrics and adolescent health at the University of Wisconsin School of Medicine and Public Health, you should try to feed your infant around 2.5 ounces of formula per pound of body weight every day. However, rather than giving a newborn a particular amount of formula at each feeding, it is essential to observe their cues.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, most infants are ready to begin solids at about 6 months of age (CDC). However, because each baby is unique, each child may develop at a slightly different rate. How then can you determine when your child is ready?
Babies that are ready to eat solid foods typically exhibit the following signs:
- Mastering the ability to grasp
- Developing control of the head and neck
- Losing the tongue-thrust reflex that pushes food out of the mouth automatically
- These skills have not yet developed in infants younger than 4 months, thus never introducing solid foods before 4 months. When introducing solids, strive to feed your infant 1-2 tablespoons of food twice a day.
Solid food should not replace breast milk or formula as the main source of nourishment for infants. Four-month-old infants should continue to consume approximately 4-6 ounces per feeding. According to the American Academy of Pediatrics, infants can consume up to 8 ounces every four to five hours once they reach six months of age.
Even after introducing solids, breast milk or formula will continue to be your baby’s major source of nutrition for the whole first year. At six months, your infant should be taking 6 to 8 ounces of formula at each of their four to five-day feedings, per the APA. A six-month-old infant should continue to nurse every four to five hours.
During the first week following birth, infants should consume no more than 1 to 2 ounces (30 to 60 ml) per feed.
Throughout the first month, infants gradually consume 3 to 4 ounces (90 to 120 ml) per feed, totaling 32 ounces per day. Typically, formula-fed infants have a more regular feeding schedule, such as every 3 or 4 hours. Breastfed newborns typically consume fewer, smaller feedings more frequently than formula-fed infants.
In the first few weeks after birth, if your infant sleeps longer than 4 to 5 hours and begins to miss feedings, rouse them and offer a bottle.
By the end of the first month, your infant will be able to consume at least 3 to 4 ounces (120 mL) every feeding and will have a fairly predictable feeding schedule of approximately every 3 to 4 hours.
By the age of six months, your infant will consume 6 to 8 ounces (180–240 mL) at each of 4 or 5 feedings per day.
How much baby formula feeding depending on body weight
Daily, your infant should consume around 212 ounces (75 mL) of infant formula for every pound (453 g) of body weight. However, kids will likely modify their intake from day to day to match their individual needs, so let them tell you when they’re full. If they grow restless or easily distracted during a meal, they are likely full. If they consume the entire bottle and continue to lick their lips, they may still be hungry.
There are, however, upper and lower limits. Consult your child’s pediatrician if he or she routinely seems to desire more or less than this. Typically, your infant should not consume more than 32 ounces (960 mL) of formula in 24 hours. Some infants have greater sucking needs and may only desire a pacifier after feeding.
Initially, it is recommended to feed your baby formula-fed infant a bottle anytime he or she cries out in hunger. Your infant will eventually develop a reasonably regular schedule of their own. As you grow acquainted with their signals and requirements, you will be able to plan their feedings around their pattern.
Eating & sleeping routines
Between 2 and 4 months of age (or when the baby weighs over 12 lb [5.4 kg]), the majority of baby formula-fed infants no longer require nighttime feedings. They are ingesting more throughout the day, and their sleeping patterns have grown more consistent (although this varies considerably from baby to baby). Their stomach capacity has also expanded, allowing them to occasionally go four or five hours between midday feedings.
If your infant continues to eat often or ingests excessive quantities, try distracting him or her with play or a pacifier. It is crucial not to overfeed your infant, as obesity trends can sometimes begin in infancy.
Understanding your baby’s feeding requirements
Whether you breastfeed or bottlefeed, the most important thing to remember is that your baby’s feeding needs are unique. No book or website can tell you just how often or how much they should be fed or how to handle them during feedings. You will discover these things on your own as you and your child grow closer.