As your baby’s body grows and changes, so does the amount of milk he needs to drink each day. If you’re feeding your baby formula, the quantity you offer him will slowly increase every month for the first six months. Since this is his main source of nutrition during this time, getting the proper amount is essential for his health and well-being.
The First Month
During the first few days of life, your baby will only need one to two ounces of milk every three to four hours. After that point, offer two to three ounces every three to four hours. By the end of week four, he should be up to four ounces per feeding. Do not let more than five hours go by without a feeding during this first month.
Months Two to Six
His dietary needs slowly increase after the first month. The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) recommends that you offer four ounces every four hours after your baby is a month old and increase the amount per feeding by one ounce every month. For instance, if he is four months old, he should be offered six ounces at every feeding. When he reaches seven or eight ounces per serving, don’t increase it any more. If he doesn’t want to eat all of the milk, don’t force him. He knows when he’s full.
Months Six to 12
At six months, he will be eating six to eight ounces four to five times a day. However, you don’t want to exceed 32 ounces of prepared formula a day. You’ll be introducing him to solid foods at this point, so he won’t be eating milk as frequently these days. The AAP recommends feeding your baby formula until he reaches the end of his first year. Whole milk can be offered after that.
Weight is another way to determine the amount of formula to give. According to the AAP, every day your baby should consume 2 ½ ounces for every pound of body weight. This equation works if your baby is in the normal range for height and weight. If his pediatrician feels that he should be getting more or less due to his size, he will tell you at your baby’s wellness exam when he gets weighed and measured.
Signs of Hunger
Every baby has unique eating habits. Some days he may eat more and others less. A baby is fairly good at letting you know when he’s hungry and when he’s had enough. Look for signs of hunger to begin or continue to feed and stop the feeding when he shows signs of satiety. He will start rooting, sucking on his hand or start smacking his lips when it’s mealtime. When he’s full, he may fall asleep, turn away, look content or release the bottle nipple.