How Much Formula You Should Be Feeding Your Baby

Father carrying baby son while preparing his bottle in the kitchen

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There is no specific amount of formula that all babies should get each day. While some young babies may drink 24 ounces a day, others may need 32 ounces or more. The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) suggests that on average, your baby needs about 2 1/2 ounces of formula a day for every pound of body weight. So a 3-month-old baby weighing 13 pounds needs about 32 1/2 ounces a day.

The AAP also says that "most babies are satisfied with three to four ounces per feeding during the first month, and increase that amount by one ounce per month until reaching eight ounces." Keep in mind that these are averages, and some babies require more or less formula at each feeding and on each day. If your baby seems satisfied between feedings and is gaining weight normally, then they are likely eating enough.

If your baby is consistently eating more or less than these averages, though, check with your pediatrician. Make sure that you are recognizing your baby's hunger signals and that they are gaining weight normally.

Feedings and Sleeping Through the Night

When the last feeding of the night happens will depend on your baby too. While some babies sleep through the night by 3 months, others still need at least one feeding.

If your baby is waking during the night and you aren't sure if they are really hungry, try to put them back to bed without giving them a bottle and see what happens. If they refuse to sleep or quickly wake up again, then you likely need to continue with middle​-of-the-night feedings for a few more weeks or months.

Keep in mind that sleeping through the night is a developmental milestone, and is not necessarily related to hunger. That is why feeding cereal at bedtime often doesn't help a baby sleep longer.

Formula Feeding Safety

Choosing a baby formula is not as complicated as many ads and articles make it out to be. While parents have many baby formula choices these days, there is really no single best formula for every baby; many will work just fine. Talk to your pediatrician before you switch formula, especially if you are concerned about the latest formula marketing trends. For your baby's safety:

  • Never warm baby bottles in a microwave oven. They can get too hot or heat unevenly.
  • Avoid switching to whole milk until your infant is at least 12 months old. They need the nutrients in formula until then.
  • Limit flouride. Because of the risk of fluorosis, or too much fluoride, the American Dental Association (ADA) advises that parents limit the amount of fluoridated water babies get. Instead of fluoridated tap water or bottled water with fluoride, the ADA recommends mixing formula with fluoride-free bottled water. Still, by the time they are 6 months old, babies begin to need some fluoride for healthy teeth.
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Article Sources
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  1. American Academy of Pediatrics. Amount and schedule of formula feedings. Updated July 24, 2018.

  2. American Dental Association. Fluoridation FAQs.

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