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How Much Formula Should Baby Be Getting?

Alison Wood |15, October 2013


While breast-feeding mothers always worry if their babies are getting enough, moms who bottle-feed many times wonder if they are giving too much formula to their baby. How much formula does a baby need during their first year of life? It depends on their size, age and any special needs.

An easy standard to follow is giving your baby 2.5 oz of formula multiplied by their current weight. If your baby weighs eight pounds then he should be consuming about 20 ounces of baby formula per day. Of course, there are growth spurts and illnesses that can affect your baby's appetite, so you need to be flexible with this standard. Babies don't always go by the books! However, you never want to over-feed an infant. Over-feeding can lead to health problems as well as messy spit-ups.

Traditionally, moms estimated how much formula their babies need by the age of their baby. While this is fine for most cases, some babies may be much smaller due to premature birth or health issues. If your baby is average-sized for his age, this method may realistically work better for you than the above mathematical standard.

During the unpredictable first week after your baby's birth, just focus on feeding him when he is hungry. Don't look at the clock or estimate his needs. Just go with the flow. Both of you have been through a lot and you need time to get to know each other and recuperate. Your baby will wake up when he is hungry and let you know when he is full. However, do not let him sleep more than four hours night during the first few weeks of birth.

The average, healthy infant will follow a feeding chart like this:

1. First week after birth: feed on demand
2. One week to three weeks old: 3 ounces every three or four hours
3. One month: 4 ounces every four hours
4. Six months: 6 ounces every four hours
5. Eight months: 8 ounces every four hours.

Keep in mind, you should not exceed 32 ounces in a 24-hour period.

What are signs of a healthy, formula-fed infant?

If your baby is content after feedings, then he is most likely consuming the correct amount of formula. Always ensure he is properly burped as well. A simple method, is burping your infant after he consumes 2 oz. of formula. Burping helps get any trapped gas out that could cause digestion pain and issues.

Sleeping well.
A well-fed infant will rest well too. If you baby is getting his typical naps, then you are on the right track!

Constant growth.
Taking your little one to well-baby check-ups will help you chart his rate of growth and weight gain. You want to look out for any growth retardation. Make sure you are not watering down your formula to help stretch your pennies. It is not worth your baby's nutritional needs. Invest in a well-known brand that has done their research on baby's health needs.

Wet diapers.
If your baby is wetting eight or more diaper a day, he is getting enough fluids. If he goes through a dry season, re-check the amount he is eating and consult your pediatrician if necessary. A drastic drop in wet diapers is a warning sign and should be addressed immediately — by a pediatrician.

Not only do bottle-fed babies need loads of nutrition, but they also need special bonding time with their mother. Don't hand your baby off during feeding times. Hold him close and take advantage of the warm cuddles and special time. Forget about the phone calls, dirty dishes and social media. Talk to your baby, connect with him and use this special time for bonding. Choosing to connect now will set the foundation for a healthier parent-child relationship in the future.

Have you ever over-fed your infant? Or was your infant showing signs of being under-fed? How did you deal with this unpleasant circumstance? What's the average amount of formula your baby consumes on a typical day? We want to hear from you, so feel free to comment below.

Alison Wood is a stay-at-home mom of six and freelance writer and blogger. She enjoys raising her six children and desires to share her experiences to help other mothers.

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