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How much formula does my baby need?

Every baby is different, and it can be challenging to figure out just how much formula your newborn needs.


Cooking for the family is easy — just follow recipe instruction to make as many servings as you need. Preparing your newborn’s meal seems much more complicated. Your new baby can’t tell you what he needs, and even if he could tell you, would it be enough?

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Every baby has unique needs and grows at his own rate, but there are some general guidelines that may help you develop a good feeding schedule for your new baby.

Basic formula-feeding guidelines

If you’ve opted to feed your baby formula, these expert recommendations for the first six months can help:

  • Newborn: An average newborn consumes about 1.5 to three ounces (45-90 ml) every two to three hours. He can’t really take more than that. Try to burp your baby after every ounce.
  • Two months old:  Your baby needs about four to five ounces (120-150 ml) per feeding. You are probably feeding him every three to four hours.
  • Four months old: Your baby may need just a bit more since growing spurts are common at this age. He may be taking about four to six ounces (120-180 ml) with each feeding, depending on his size.
  • Six months old: The amount of baby formula needed at this age varies greatly from one child to another. Intake can be anywhere from 24 to 32 ounces (720-950 ml) depending on whether or not you’ve introduced any cereal or baby food.

How do I know if my baby is getting enough?

One good indicator is the diaper. Newborns produce at least six wet diapers and four dirty diapers a day. Wet diapers should have clear or pale urine. The poop is thick and dark at first and becomes a yellowish-green as baby gets older. Formula-fed babies have firmer stools than breastfed babies.

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Signs of underfeeding

Your baby’s growth will be checked at each wellness visit. Your pediatrician can help you determine if your baby is getting enough to eat and make adjustments if:

  • Baby is not gaining enough weight
  • Wet diapers contain orange crystals, which may indicate inadequate fluid intake or dehydration
  • Baby seems unsatisfied even after feeding

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Any time you have questions regarding your baby’s health and nutrition, don’t hesitate to contact your health care provider.

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