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How Much and How Often to Feed Infant Formula

Every baby is different. How much and how often your baby feeds will depend on your baby’s needs. Here are a few things to know about infant formula feeding during the first days, weeks, and months of your baby’s life.

First Days

If you have questions about your baby’s growth or how much infant formula he or she is taking, talk with your child’s doctor or nurse.

  • Your newborn baby’s belly is tiny. He or she does not need a lot of infant formula with each feeding to be full.
  • You can start by offering your baby 1 to 2 ounces of infant formula every 2 to 3 hours in the first days of life if your baby is only getting infant formula and no breast milk. Give your baby more if he or she is showing signs of hunger.
  • Most infant formula-fed newborns will feed 8 to 12 times in 24 hours. Talk with your child’s doctor or nurse about how much infant formula is right for your baby.
  • As your baby grows, his or her belly grows too. Your baby will be able to drink more infant formula at each feeding, and the time between feedings will get longer.

First Weeks and Months

Did You Know?

A pediatrician holding a small chalkboard stating, ‘Vitamin D’. If your infant formula fed baby drinks less than 32 ounces of infant formula a day, he or she will need extra vitamin D from supplements.

Babies need additional vitamin D.

Although infant formula has vitamin D, if your baby drinks less than 32 ounces of infant formula a day, he or she will need to get extra vitamin D (beginning at birth) from supplements.  Learn more about vitamin D.

  • Over the first few weeks and months, the time between feedings will get longer—about every 3 to 4 hours for most infant formula-fed babies. This means you may need to wake your baby to feed. You can try patting, stroking, undressing, or changing the diaper to help wake your baby to feed.
  • Some feeding sessions may be long, and other feedings short. That is okay. Babies will generally take what they need at each feeding and stop eating when they are full.

6 to 12 Months Old

  •  Continue feeding your baby when he or she shows signs of hunger. Most 6 to 12 month olds will need infant formula or solid foods about 5 to 6 times in 24 hours.
  • As your baby gradually starts eating more solid foods, the amount of infant formula he or she needs each day will likely start to decrease.

12 to 24 Months Old

  • When your toddler is 12 months old, you can switch from infant formula to
    fortifiedcow’s milk. You can do this gradually. You may want to start by replacing one infant formula feeding with fortified cow’s milk to help your child transition.
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