Wondering if you're feeding your baby enough breast milk, formula, or solid food is a common parental concern. Babies require different amounts of food depending on body weight, appetite, and age, which can add to the confusion. Fortunately, experts offer some recommendations.
Unless your baby's pediatrician advises you otherwise, one of the most important things you can do is listen to your infant's hunger and fullness cues to guide feedings, rather than giving them a specific amount or sticking to a strict schedule. Read on to learn about baby feeding guidelines by age, and if you're still unsure, ask a pediatrician for specific guidance on feeding your baby from the newborn stage to toddlerhood.
Baby Feeding Chart
While each baby's feeding needs may be slightly different, based on their weight, age, and other factors, most will follow a predictable schedule. According to the American Academy of Pediatrics, babies should be fed when they seem hungry.
In the first months of life, this is very often. Newborns eat every two to three hours. By two months, babies will feed every three to four hours, and by 6 months old, the time between feedings stretches to every four to five hours. Below are the average amounts of breast milk or formula babies at each stage need at each feeding.
|Age of Baby||Average Amount of Breast Milk or Formula per Feeding||Expected Number of Feedings per Day|
|Newborn||1 to 2 ounces||8 to 12 feedings|
|2 weeks||2 to 3 ounces||8 to 12 feedings|
|1 month||3 to 4 ounces||8 to 10 feedings|
|2 months||4 to 5 ounces||6 to 8 feedings|
|4 months||4 to 6 ounces||6 to 8 feedings|
|6 to 12 months||7 to 8 ounces||4 to 6 feedings|
Newborns should receive all their calories and nutrition from breast milk or formula. Here's a tentative breakdown of newborn feeding patterns.
Most newborns eat every two to three hours, according to the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP), and they drink 1 to 2 ounces of breast milk per feeding. When your baby reaches 2 weeks old, this amount increases to 2 to 3 ounces.
If you're pumping and bottle-feeding, you can quite literally see how much breast milk your baby is consuming each feeding, but if you're feeding directly from the breast, it's much more difficult to measure your infant's intake. And that's OK.
If your baby is nursing, you can watch their output as a way to gauge their intake. You can tell your little one is eating enough if they wet their diaper two to three times a day in the first few days and then five to six times a day after they are 4 or 5 days old.
Breastfeeding Guide for the Whole First Year
A formula-fed newborn will take about 1 to 2 ounces per feeding in the first week, gradually increasing until they take 3 to 4 ounces at each feeding by the end of the first month. Formula-fed infants tend to eat every three to four hours and are more likely to be on a predictable feeding schedule than breastfed infants.
As a rule of thumb, you should aim to feed your baby 2.5 ounces of formula per pound of body weight daily, says Amy Lynn Stockhausen, M.D., an associate professor of general pediatrics and adolescent medicine at the University of Wisconsin School of Medicine and Public Health. But again, it's important to listen to your infant's cues rather than strictly giving them a specific amount of formula.
During the first few weeks, if your baby does not wake up in the middle of the night to eat, you should wake them. The AAP recommends waking newborns to eat after four to five hours of sleep in the first few weeks after birth.
1 to 3 Months Old
Between 1 and 3 months, your baby's appetite will increase, and they'll become more vocal about telling you when they're hungry. The AAP says that a 2-month-old baby will usually eat 4 to 5 ounces every three to four hours.
If you're feeding formula, you might want to look for one supplemented with 2'-FL HMO. These human milk oligosaccharides are naturally found in breast milk, and research has found that it acts as a prebiotic, supporting gut health and immune system development.
As a result, some researchers think supplementing infant formula with HMOs is a promising innovation in infant feeding. In addition, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has categorized three HMOs, including 2'-FL, as generally regarded as safe.
What to Know About Organic Formula
4 to 6 Months Old
Most babies are ready to start solids around 6 months of age, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). However, since all babies are different, your child may follow a slightly different timeline. So, how can you know when your baby is ready?
Babies who are ready to try solids tend to show some signs, including:
- Mastering the grabbing skill
- Developing head and neck control
- Losing the tongue-thrust reflex that automatically pushes food out of their mouth
Babies younger than 4 months have not developed these necessary skills, so never start solids before 4 months. When first introducing solids, aim to offer your little one about 1 to 2 tablespoons of food twice daily.
Solid food shouldn't take the place of breast milk or formula as the primary source of nutrients before the age of 12 months. Indeed, babies should still drink about 4 to 6 ounces per feeding when they're 4 months old. According to the AAP, once they turn 6 months old, they may take even more—up to 8 ounces every four or five hours.
Remember that even after introducing solids, breast milk or formula is still your baby's primary food source for their entire first year. According to the AAP, by 6 months, your baby should be consuming 6 to 8 ounces of formula at each of their four to five feedings each day. At 6 months, a breastfeeding baby should still be nursing every four to five hours.
6 to 9 Months Old
When a baby is 6 to 9 months old, nearly all their calories should still come from breast milk or formula, says Natalie Muth, M.D., R.D.N., co-author of The Picky Eater Project. For a formula-fed baby at this age, that usually means no more than 32 ounces of formula daily.
Your breastfed babies' nursing patterns may fluctuate at this age due to growth spurts or when they need extra comfort. That's why it remains important to watch them for hunger cues rather than sticking to strict schedules and limits. If you notice your child isn't breastfeeding as often after introducing solids, the CDC recommends offering breast milk before feeding them a meal.
Since your baby is still getting most of their calories from breast milk or formula, don't stress about getting them to eat bite after bite of solid food. You can offer your child food whenever you sit down to eat—solids at this point are more about the ritual and exposure than nutrition (though it's still important to offer nutritious options!). At this age, you can offer foods such as:
- Iron-fortified single-grain baby cereal
- Pureed foods, including vegetables, fruits, and meats
- Finger foods like strained vegetables and fruit
- Cottage cheese
To identify possible allergic reactions or digestive issues, some experts recommend introducing just one food at a time. You may want to wait on things that include a mixture of foods, like casseroles, until you've introduced those foods separately, especially if you have a family history of food allergies.
"One of the things I really like about casseroles is that if the child likes the base flavor, you can add a bunch of other vegetables to it, and he's often fine with it," says Alan Greene, M.D., author of Feeding Baby Green, who makes a pasta casserole in red sauce for his family.
If your baby seems to have an insatiable appetite or doesn't seem to be eating enough, contact a health care provider for advice.
Baby's First Foods: How to Introduce Solids
9 to 12 Months Old
At this age, babies should continue to have about 7 to 8 ounces of liquid per feeding. They usually cap out at 32 ounces of formula in 24 hours. "By 9 to 12 months, about half of your baby's calories should come from food and the other half from breast milk or formula," Dr. Muth says.
Growing infants tend to have an adventurous palate—they've learned eating tastes good, so don't be afraid to give them baby-friendly nibbles from your plate. If they want more, feed them more, but if they push food away, don't take it personally.
Babies like to play with their food, so also consider using yogurt or oatmeal as a dip for vegetables or whole-grain crackers. Just remember to ensure foods are prepared safely and to avoid those that are small, round, hard, or the size of a child's airway.
What Is Baby-Led Weaning? How to Help Your Infant Feed Themself
After 12 Months
"After the first birthday, most of the calories your baby consumes should come from finely chopped table food," Dr. Muth says. To meet their calcium needs, serve whole milk in a sippy cup at meals and with snacks. The US Department of Agriculture's Dietary Guidelines for Americans recommends toddlers consume 700 mg of calcium per day (the equivalent of 2 to 3 cups of milk a day), but it's important to note that doesn't all have to come from milk.
Aiming for a set meal and snack schedule can also pay off since your child will be more hungry and thus willing to try new things at this age. Always consult a health care provider if you're unsure about feeding guidelines for your baby.
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Kids Health Organization. Formula Feeding FAQs: How Much and How Often.
Nutrition Health Associates Inc. How do I know when my baby is full?.
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. How much and how often to feed infant formula?.
Hegar B, Wibowo Y, Basrowi RW, et al. The role of two human milk oligosaccharides, 2′-fucosyllactose and lacto-n-neotetraose, in infant nutrition.Pediatr Gastroenterol Hepatol Nutr. 2019;22(4):330. doi:10.5223/pghn.2019.22.4.330
Sekerel BE, Bingol G, Cullu Cokugras F, et al. An expert panel statement on the beneficial effects of human milk oligosaccharides (Hmos) in early life and potential utility of hmo-supplemented infant formula in cow’s milk protein allergy.JAA. 2021;14:1147-1164. doi:10.2147/JAA.S323734
Borowitz SM. First bites—why, when, and what solid foods to feed infants.Front Pediatr. 2021;9:654171. doi:10.3389/fped.2021.654171(Video) Feeding Schedule For Newborn | CloudMom
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Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. When, what and how to introduce solid foods.
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Choking Hazards.
How much should babies eat in the first year? ›
Solid foods: Cereal: 6-8 tablespoons per day of single grain cereal, made with formula or breast milk. Fruits: 2-4 tablespoons of plain, pureed, chopped or mashed fruit twice per day. Vegetables: 2-4 tablespoons of plain, pureed, chopped, bite-sized or mashed vegetables twice per day.How much food do I give my baby the first time? ›
Start by serving one or two teaspoons. Once your baby gets the hang of swallowing runny cereal, mix it with less liquid and gradually increase the serving sizes. Offer a variety of single-grain cereals such as rice, oatmeal or barley.How much should baby feed in first 12 hours? ›
It could be every hour in the first few days. Feed your baby as often as they want and for as long as they want. They'll begin to have fewer, but longer feeds after a few days. As a very rough guide, your baby should feed at least 8 to 12 times, or more, every 24 hours during the first few weeks.How many ounces do babies drink their first year? ›
11 months: Nurse or bottle-feed three to four times a day for a total of 24 ounces (or less) of breast milk or formula. 12 months: 24 ounces (or less) of breast milk or formula a day, edging closer to 16 ounces by your baby's first birthday.How many ounces does baby eat in the first year of life? ›
At this age, babies should continue to have about 7 to 8 ounces of liquid per feeding. They usually cap out at 32 ounces of formula in 24 hours. "By 9 to 12 months, about half of your baby's calories should come from food and the other half from breast milk or formula," Dr. Muth says.Is one jar of baby food enough? ›
According to the AAP, babies should be eating about 4 ounces of solids — about one small jar of baby food — at each of their meals.What is the 3 day rule for baby food? ›
Wait 3 to 5 days between each new food. Before you know it, your child will be on his or her way to eating and enjoying lots of new foods. Introduce potentially allergenic foods when other foods are introduced.Do babies drink less formula when they start solids? ›
You may find that once you introduce solid foods into your little one's diet they naturally drinks less milk. However, they should still be getting between 500-600ml of milk per day up to 9 months reducing to around 350 ml from 12 months onwards.How many Oz Should a baby be eating a day? ›
At about 2 months, your baby may drink about 4–5 ounces (120–150 milliliters) every 3–4 hours. At 4 months, your baby may drink about 4–6 ounces (120-180 milliliters) at each feeding, depending on how often they eat. By 6 months, your baby may drink 6–8 ounces (180–230 milliliters) about 4–5 times a day.Can you overfeed a baby? ›
Do not worry about feeding your baby whenever either of you wants to. You cannot overfeed a breastfed baby, and your baby will not become spoiled or demanding if you feed them whenever they're hungry or need comfort.
How many ounces of food should a baby eat a day? ›
Feeding by weight
As a rough estimate, your baby should eat 2.5 ounces for every pound they weigh. So if your baby weighs 10 pounds, they should eat a total of 25 ounces per day.
Newborn babies need to feed every few hours until the age of 3 months. After this, it is normal for infants to feed once or twice during the night. Most infants can sleep for 6–8 hours without a feed by the age of 6 months. Once they are 9 months old, most infants can sleep for 11–12 hours without a feed.What age can babies go 12 hours without eating? ›
“Many, though not all, babies are able to make it through the night without food at 4 months. By 6 months, almost all healthy babies are physically and neurologically able to go 12 hours without food.”How many ounces should a baby eat at 12 months? ›
At this age, your baby needs between 750 and 900 calories each day, of which about 400 to 500 should come from breast milk or formula (if you are not breastfeeding)—roughly 24 ounces (720 mL) a day. Breast milk and formula contain vitamins, minerals, and other important components for brain growth.When should a baby be drinking 4 oz? ›
During the first 2 weeks, babies will eat on average 1 - 2 oz at a time. By the end of the first month they eat about 4 oz at a time. By 2 months, increase to 6 oz per feed, and by 4 months, about 6-8 oz per feed.When can babies have water? ›
If your baby is under 6 months old, they only need to drink breastmilk or infant formula. From 6 months of age, you can give your baby small amounts of water, if needed, in addition to their breastmilk or formula feeds.What foods should I introduce to my baby first? ›
Solid foods may be introduced in any order. However, puréed meats, poultry, beans and iron-fortified cereals are recommended as first foods, especially if your baby has been primarily breastfed, since they provide key nutrients. Only one new single-ingredient food should be introduced at a time.What is a serving size for a baby? ›
2 – 4 ounces of grains. 2 – 4 ounces of protein-based foods. 4 – 6 ounces of vegetables. 4 – 6 ounces of fruit.Is applesauce a good first food for baby? ›
Applesauce is a great first food, but be sure to buy unsweetened applesauce or make it from scratch. Babies under 2 years old don't need added sugars in their diet. If you want to introduce your baby to new flavors, you can add spices like a small pinch of cinnamon or nutmeg to the applesauce.When can I give my baby applesauce? ›
Doctors recommend waiting until a baby is about 6 months old to start solid foods. Starting before 4 months is not recommended. At about 6 months, babies need the added nutrition — such as iron and zinc — that solid foods provide. It's also the right time to introduce your infant to new tastes and textures.
Which vegetables to start baby on first? ›
- Pureed carrots.
- Pureed squash.
- Pureed broccoli.
- Pureed sweet potatoes.
- Pureed green beans.
Newborn: every 2 to 3 hours. At 2 months: every 3 to 4 hours. At 4 to 6 months: every 4 to 5 hours. At 6+ months: every 4 to 5 hours.
Since babies are naturally inclined to prefer sweeter foods, it's important to introduce vegetables prior to fruit in order to increase acceptance of more savory flavors.What month do babies stop drinking formula? ›
It's best to wait until about 12 months to stop giving your baby formula. Babies still need nutrient-dense food sources, though, and cow's milk is the best thing to transition to. But your baby's digestive system won't be ready until they're about 1 year old.Do babies gain more weight when they start solids? ›
Pediatricians advise starting solids after 6 months of age, when a baby is showing readiness. Even after starting solids, the majority of their calories will come from breast milk or formula for the duration of the first year. Sometimes there may be a lull in weight gain when beginning solids.When should I drop formula feed? ›
Breast milk or first infant formula is still important for energy and nutrients during the first year, and should be their main drink until 12 months. You can continue breastfeeding for as long as you both want.How many Oz is too much for baby? ›
Formula feeding chart by age
It's important not to overfeed your baby so they'll stay at a healthy weight. Your baby shouldn't have more than 32 ounces of formula in 24 hours.
*Note that The American Academy of Pediatrics suggests babies should not be drinking more than 32 ounces of formula per day. If you notice your little one is taking in more than this, reach out to your pediatrician to discuss.Is 32 oz too much for a newborn? ›
The most amount of formula advised per day is 32 ounces (1 liter). Over-feeding can cause vomiting, diarrhea or too much weight gain. If your baby needs over 32 ounces (1 liter), talk to your doctor about starting solids.What are the signs of overfeeding? ›
2. What are the most common signs of overfeeding a baby?
- Gassiness or burping.
- Frequent spit up.
- Vomiting after eating.
- Fussiness, irritability or crying after meals.
- Gagging or choking.
Do babies stop eating when full? ›
Babies are actually very good at self-regulating their intake, meaning they eat when they're hungry and stop when they are full.How often should I be pumping? ›
Ideally, you would pump as often as your baby would nurse. This may not be possible with your work/ school schedule. Most mothers find that pumping every 2-3 hours maintains their milk supply and does not cause them to become uncomfortably full.How much sleep do new parents get? ›
Here's what the survey found
The survey found that the majority of new parents are getting between 5 and 6 hours of sleep each night. Sadly, no surprises there. On average, each new parent loses a staggering 109 minutes of sleep every night for the first year after having a baby.
Many babies will start sleeping through the night (six to eight hours at a time) when they are about four to six months old and weigh at least 10 pounds; however, if your baby is not sleeping through the night by then, don't be concerned. Every baby develops their own sleep patterns and cycles.What food makes baby sleep through the night? ›
Spinach. We all know the importance of including those power-packed leafy green veggies in our little one's diets. The bonus is that dark leafy greens such as spinach are also high in tryptophan to support your baby's sleep-producing hormone melatonin.Can I let my 6 week old sleep through the night? ›
Wake your baby every 3–4 hours to eat until he or she shows good weight gain, which usually happens within the first couple of weeks. After that, it's OK to let your baby sleep for longer periods of time at night.Can I let my 5 week old sleep through the night? ›
The amount of sleep an infant gets at any one stretch of time is mostly ruled by hunger. Newborns will wake up and want to be fed about every three to four hours at first. Do not let your newborn sleep longer than five hours at a time in the first five to six weeks.When can I let my baby sleep through the night without feeding? ›
Most babies are able to sleep through the night – or sleep for at least six hours without waking up to eat – sometime between 3 to 6 months of age. Healthy babies who are born full-term are generally able to sleep through the night without a feeding starting at 3 months of age or when they weigh 12 to 13 pounds.How much should a 1 year old weigh? ›
Average Baby Weight at One Year
By one year, the average weight of a baby girl is approximately 19 pounds 10 ounces (8.9 kg), with boys weighing about 21 pounds 3 ounces (9.6 kg).
Limit your child's milk intake to 16–24 ounces (480–720 milliliters) a day. Include iron-rich foods in your child's diet, like meat, poultry, fish, beans, and iron-fortified foods. Continue serving iron-fortified cereal until your child is eating a variety of iron-rich foods.
How many pounds should a 12 month old weigh? ›
The average 12-month-old boy weighs 21 pounds, with a height of 30 inches. The average girl at a year old is 29½ inches tall with a weight just shy of 20 pounds.What is the correct portion size for a 1 year old? ›
In general, a toddler-size portion is ¼ to ½ an adult size portion. A preschooler-size portion is close to or the same size as an adults. For example, a one-year-old child would get a one-quarter serving, while a 3-year-old would get a half.How many Oz should a 12 month old eat? ›
10th –12th Month: 6–7 ounces every 4–6 hours (3–4 feedings per day) No night-time feeds. Offer formula in a cup.How many jars of baby food should a 8 month old eat? ›
Begin with two to three spoonfuls of soft and mashed food four times a day, which will give her the nutrients she needs without breastmilk. From 6–8 months old, she'll need half a cup of soft food four times a day, plus a healthy snack.How much oatmeal can a 1 year old eat? ›
A portion size for a toddler when they're hungry at breakfast time could be 1 cup of oatmeal, and when they're not hungry, it could be just a ¼ cup of oatmeal.How much water does a 12 month old drink? ›
The minimum water intake for children 12-24 months is around 8 ounces (237mL) a day. While breast milk can “count” as water for a toddler, the ideal is 8 ounces of water in addition to breast milk or milk.How many Oz should a 12 pound baby eat? ›
By Weight. For example, a 12-pound baby would likely need 30 ounces in a 24-hour period. To determine how many ounces per bottle, divide the ounces needed in a 24-hour period by the number of feedings your baby takes during that time.When should I stop waking my baby to feed? ›
By 6 months of age, your baby is developmentally ready to start sleeping through the night without a feeding — or at least for longer stretches.At what age do babies need 8 oz bottles? ›
At about 2 months, your baby may drink about 4–5 ounces (120–150 milliliters) every 3–4 hours. At 4 months, your baby may drink about 4–6 ounces (120-180 milliliters) at each feeding, depending on how often they eat. By 6 months, your baby may drink 6–8 ounces (180–230 milliliters) about 4–5 times a day.When can babies eat applesauce? ›
Experts recommend only offering pureed apples or applesauce until babies are 9 to 12 months old. After that, you can give your baby small piles of raw apple that's been shredded with a cheese grater. As your baby gets more teeth between 1 and 2 years old, they can have very thin slices of apple.
Is it OK to feed baby only jars? ›
Absolutely fine op. There is so much choice and variety now. Make sure that supplemented with fresh finger foods. You're fine.