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How Much Baby Formula Does My Baby Need?


Updated May 30, 2014

Mother bottle feeding baby at home.
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Question: How Much Baby Formula Does My Baby Need?

Sometimes getting an idea of how much baby formula your baby needs can be a little confusing. It is always best to tune into your baby's hunger cues. The problem may be that sometimes he might send you mixed signals, and you find you need a little more guidance on the matter. You can use a simple mathematical equation to get a rough estimate of how many ounces of formula your baby needs each day.

How to Calculate How Much Baby Formula Is Needed

To determine your baby's daily formula intake range, multiply your baby's weight by two. This is the lower end of how many ounces he needs in a 24 hour period. Then multiply his weight by 2.5. This is the upper range of ounces required.

For example, a 12 pound baby would likely need 24 to 30 ounces in a 24 hour period. To determine how many ounces per bottle, divide those amounts by the number of feedings your baby takes per day. In this example, if your baby is taking 6 bottles in 24 hours, he would need approximately 4 to 5 ounce bottles.

This equation can be used regardless of what type of infant formula you use (cow milk formula, soy based formula, etc).

Ounces of Formula By Age

Another way to estimate formula amounts can be done by age.

  • Newborns: as little as 1 to 2 ounces per feeding
  • One to two months: 3 to 4 ounces per feeding
  • Two to six months: 4 to 6 ounces per feeding
  • Six months to a year: 6 to 8 ounces per feeding

Overfeeding or Underfeeding

Signs that you are not feeding your baby enough may include persistant crying, decreased urine output, a wrinkly look to the skin, a dry roof of the mouth, and increased sleep.

Conversely, signs that you might be overfeeding will follow shortly after feedings. This may include spitting up or vomiting, crying, pulling up legs to the abdomen, and behaviors that resemble colic.

Generally speaking, timing feedings so that your baby has bottles that contain lesser amounts of formula more frequently is better than giving larger quantities of formula less often.

See also: Water Guidelines for Baby Formula.

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