Nature's One Blog

Ask the Dietitian - Am I Overfeeding My Baby?

Jan 21, 2019 11:20:54 AM / by Diane, MPH, RD, LD - Director of Nutrition Services

formula feeding tips updated color version 2-1How much formula should my baby get per day?

The question that often comes up for babies when they transition to formula is:  How much formula should my baby get per day?  Every baby is unique, not just in looks and personality, but also in how much nourishment is needed each day...

The following guidelines can help:

  • For the first weeks, 2 to 3 ounces of formula offered every 3 to 4 hours.
  • By 1 month of age, offer 4 ounces of formula about every 4 hours.
  • After 1 month, increase the amount of each feeding by 1 ounce per month until baby reaches about 6 to 8 ounces per bottle and offer 4 to 5 feedings per day.

As your baby gets older, as soon as 2 to 4 months of age, night feedings may not be needed as your growing baby is consuming larger quantities of formula during the day and evening. 

Some babies will need more than these general guidelines.  Look for cues that your baby is hungry such as:

  • Moving hand to mouth or chewing on fists.
  • Hard to settle or just grumpy for no apparent reason (i.e. diaper is clean).
  • Making sucking noises or motions.
  • Clenching fingers.
  • Placing fist on chest or tummy.
  • Flexing arms and legs.
  • When your baby cries, that too is a good indication that he or she may still be hungry. Crying isn’t always a sign of hunger. Sometimes your baby just wants attention for a snuggle or some play time.

When breastfeeding a baby, you don’t really know how much breast milk your baby has consumed.  The temptation when bottle feeding is for the baby to finish the bottle.  This can lead to obesity and unhealthy eating habits later in life, so look for cues that baby is full such as:

  • Starts and stops bottle feeding frequently.
  • Ignores the bottle or pushes it away.
  • Closes mouth or turns head away from bottle.
  • Fidgets or is distracted.
  • Falls asleep.

These cues are part of what’s called responsive feeding.  For more information on this, visit the American Academy of Pediatrics' helpful website for parents.

Learning these cues for both when your baby is hungry or full helps you too!  A happy, contented baby makes for a happy, relaxed, and contented mom and dad!

Have additional questions about your child's nutrition? Feel free to post your inquiries in the comments section and our dietitian will post answers to your questions!

-Diane 

**For specific medical care and nutritional advice on product usage, please see your healthcare professional

Topics: Advice, Health, Dietitian Series, Dietitian