How Many Ounces of Formula Should Infants Drink?

There are so many things to be concerned with when you bring your baby home from the hospital. One of a parent’s biggest worries tends to be wondering how much baby needs to eat. Understanding what to expect and how a baby’s needs change can help moms and dads to enjoy feeding time, rather than fear it.

Significance

Babies will take in about 2 to 3 ounces of formula every day for every pound she weighs–but not more than 32 ounces a day. A newborn baby weighing 8 pounds will take in 16 to 24 ounces of formula a day while a 6-month-old who is 12 pounds may eat 24 to 32 ounces a day. Remember that this is just a guideline. Your baby may eat more or less than this; she may be able to go longer between feedings or need to be fed more often. If you’re concerned about your baby’s eating habits, consult with your health care provider immediately.

Time Frame

In the beginning your baby’s feedings will be spread out in 2- to 3-ounce bottles every 3 to 4 hours. Within a short period of time your baby will naturally start to lengthen that time and increase the amount he eats at each serving. After about a month your little one may be eating as much as 4 ounces every 4 hours. This will continue to increase over time.

Warning

The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends that for the first few months it’s important to let baby feed on demand. Let her control the amount and timing of her feedings. You may see a pattern begin to emerge–but it’s likely as baby’s needs change that pattern will too. Don’t cajole your baby into finishing a bottle and don’t be too concerned if she begins to eat more than you expect. A baby’s needs change quickly, so predicting a pattern is difficult at best–let her be your guide. Again, if you’re concerned, have a conversation with your health care provider.

Misconceptions

The best way to determine if your baby is eating enough may not always be counting how many ounces he is drinking at each feeding. A baby that is eating enough and benefiting from the calories in those ounces will gain weight in a consistent and healthy manner and will produce wet and messy diapers. If your baby is not gaining weight and is not producing wet and messy diapers, see your health care provider immediately.

Features

Formula-fed babies are going to eat less often than breast fed babies. A formula fed baby will eat 2 to 3 ounces every 3 to 4 hours in the beginning, while a breast fed baby may eat every 1 1/2 to 3 hours. This is because formula is more difficult for baby to digest than breast milk, so it gives her the idea that she is full longer than a breast fed baby. Don’t compare your formula-fed baby’s eating schedule to that of a breast fed baby–it’s like comparing apples to oranges.

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