How Much Formula to Feed Baby: An Ultimate Guide

February 12, 2022

How Much Formula to Feed Baby: An Ultimate Guide

When you are strictly breastfeeding, figuring out whether your baby's getting the right amount to eat usually comes down to a pretty simple calculation — if enough is coming out in the diaper, then there is enough going in.

With bottle-feeding, however, this is not always as clear and simple.

After all, you will want to know how much you can expect your little one to drink, or how much formula will be needed to get your little one through the day — or through the week or longer if you are traveling.

If you find the ingredients in American formula less than acceptable and order European baby formula due to the pure, clean organic nutrition then you will need to take into account time for shipping and delivery.

This is when rough guidelines for baby formula amounts can make all the difference.

Table of Contents

Formula Feeding Guide

Bottle-fed babies, just like breastfed babies, know when they have had enough. However, unlike breastfeeding, caregivers regulate formula delivery, and it is possible that parental pushing — prodding your little one to take those last few ounces — can result in your bottle-fed baby getting too much of a good thing.

So, take your cues from your baby's hunger and feed to match her appetite instead of to a specified number of ounces. Identifying cues that your baby may be getting full, such as slower sucking, wandering eyes, falling asleep, and hands that are open and relaxed, will help to teach your baby the feelings of satiety and reduce the chance of over-feeding.

Closest to Breastfeeding

This method of feeding closely mimics breastfeeding and as long as your baby is gaining enough weight, is wetting and dirtying enough diapers, and is meeting developmental recommendations, you can be assured your little one's getting all nutritional needs met.

Using suggested feeding amounts as guidelines and letting your little one call the shots — and call the limits — when it comes to feedings will have the most benefit for your baby.

How to Tell How Much Formula to Feed Your Baby

Whether your family chooses to bottle feed, breastfeed, or a combination of both, tuning in to your baby's hunger and fullness cues is the first step to feeding success.

While each baby is unique, these are some feeding cues to watch for.

Common Baby Hunger Cues

  • Crying or fussiness
  • Opening of his mouth when touched on his chin or lips
  • Smacking of lips or making small sounds with his mouth
  • Sucking on fingers or placing fist in mouth

Common Baby Fullness Cues

  • Fidgeting or acting distracted
  • Slowing down or falling asleep
  • Spitting out formula
  • Only taking a few sucks before pausing
  • Stopping feeding all together

In addition to looking for cues to when your baby is hungry and when they have had enough, you can use age estimates for the amount of baby formula to prepare.

Keep in mind, from one day to the next, your baby may want more or less at any feeding. So, watching for hunger/fullness cues is important.

How to Calculate Formula Needs

Considering babies' feeding cues, it is now time to take a look at how much baby formula in general your infant needs.

Formula Feeding by Weight

As a rule of thumb, infants under 6 months who have not yet started solids should be taking 2 to 2½ ounces of formula per pound of body weight over a 24-hour period.

In practice, which may work out to somewhere between 18 and 36 ounces per day, depending on your baby’s size and developmental stage.

An example of this: If your baby weighs 10 pounds, which could translate to 20 to 25 ounces of formula a day. In 24-hour period families can expect to be feeding their baby about 3 to 4 ounces every four hours.

Every baby is unique and although bigger babies do tend to drink more than smaller babies, a baby's appetite may vary day-to-day and feeding-to-feeding.

These guidelines are rough approximations — there are no absolutes when it comes to how much baby formula to feed your little one.

Always watch for feeding cues from your infant with each bottle of formula.

Formula Feeding by Age

You can also estimate formula needs by your infant's age. Little by little, you can expect your little one will be taking in more formula at each feeding, anywhere from 3 to 8 ounces, depending on age, growth, and developmental stage.

Stomach capacity will increase, as well, which means there will likely be an increase in stretches of time between feedings.

By the age of 12 months expect your older baby to eat more solid nutrition, which decreases the amount of baby formula needed throughout a 24-hour period.

If you have a little one that has reached the upper daily intake for babies 6 months and younger of 32 to 36 ounces per 24-hour period and seems to be hungry by the end of the day, go ahead and speak with your pediatrician about options.

The solution may be as simple as a change to a more filling baby formula. European formulas such as Holle cow’s milk stage 1 are designed with organic lactose and maltodextrin to help fill little hungry tummies and Holle cow milk stage 2 even adds organic starch to stretch between feeding times.

Feeding By Stage

Designed knowing that each baby's feeding needs are as individual as they are, some organic brands like those found in European baby formulas take a unique approach to infant nutrition.

These companies use baby formula stages that are specifically designed to allow families to choose the perfect balance of protein, carbohydrates, vitamins, and minerals to support development of body and mind while making sure your baby feels full and happy.

How Much Formula Does a Newborn Need?

On the first day of birth your adorable new little one’s tummy is tiny, about the size of a walnut, so it is best to start slowly when it comes to feedings.

For newborns, offer just 1 to 3 ounces of baby formula each feeding on demand - about three to four hours.

If your baby is early or small, please speak with your pediatrician for suggestive starting amounts.

Gradually increase the ounces, and feedings, adding more as the demand becomes greater, but never push a baby to finish a bottle if they are showing full feeding cues.

Newborn Formula-Feeding Schedule

During the first day’s newborns should not have a strict schedule for eating or sleeping.

It is best at this time to feed on demand, making sure not to go too long in between feeding. You can offer an ounce or two of formula every two to three hours, or eight to 12 feedings within a 24-hour period.

These are more suggestive guidelines rather than hard and fast rules. Ultimately, you will want to feed your newborn on demand when they are showing hunger cues.

Do not worry, within a few months, your baby will start to establish a routine that you can use as the basis for a feeding and sleeping schedule.

Can a Baby Eat Too Much Formula?

Healthy babies, when allowed to take their bottles of formula to their appetites and feeding cues without any prodding to take more, will grow and develop at a rate that is normal for them.

If your little one's weight is increasing following the recommended curve, there is no need to worry that she is overeating. However, if your baby seems insatiable there may be a chance they will get too much.

Here are signs to look for that may indicate your baby is taking in more formula than she needs:

Baby Frequent Spit-ups

Spitting up can be a normal reaction to an immature digestive system but overfeeding can lead to overflow in the form of excessive spit-up as well.

Put too much in her little tummy, and it is bound to come back up.

Excessive Weight Gain

If your little one’s weight seems to consistently move upward faster than their height, this is a suitable time to check with your pediatrician.

She may be picking up too many pounds too quickly because she is taking in too much formula.

If your pediatrician tells you that your baby seems to be overeating, there are a few things you can do to slow down her amount of baby formula given each day.

Baby’s Feeding Cues

Feed your little one when you notice hungry cues. Not because they are unhappy, bored, or hurt.

If your little one has recently had a bottle but seems crabby? Offer comfort with a cuddle, try burping, or perhaps a nap or a walk.

Offer Your Baby a Pacifier

When babies are born, they have a strong desire to suck. This natural sucking reflex does not always mean that your baby is hungry.

This sucking reflex only allows your little one to get all their nutrients in the first few months of life but is also extremely useful for soothing your baby, offering a pacifier can help in this case.

Check your Baby Formula Preparation

Always check the label or the formula preparation guide when you're mixing formula to make sure you're not inadvertently adding too little water — which can increase the calorie count per ounce considerably.

Of course, if you feel like your little one is getting too much or too little formula, always check with your pediatrician for the best advice.

Signs That Your Baby is Getting the Right Amount of Formula

There are impressive straightforward signs that your sweet little one is getting just the right amount of baby formula.

Steady Weight Gain

Gaining weight after her first 10 days and following a healthy growth curve during her first year can be a sure sign that you have found the perfect balance of nutrition and daily feeding schedule.

Happy Baby

Does your little one seems relaxed and satisfied after feeding? For older babies you may notice those sweet little baby smiles that capture baby’s mood uniquely.

All of these are sure signs that your little one is getting enough formula.

Wet Diapers

At the very minimum, you should notice two to three diapers a day in the first few days after birth.

Then over the next few days, the amount should increase to at least five to six diapers a day if you are using disposable diapers, or six to eight if you are using cloth diapers. Disposables hold more liquid.

Again, these are extremely basic guidelines, if you have any questions or concerns it is always best to check with your family's medical practitioner.

How Much Formula for Baby?

Figuring out formula feeding times can feel overwhelming at first. In the beginning, it is best to follow your baby’s hunger cues and keep the general rules of thumb for feeding times and amounts in mind as helpful guides.

As the days go by, your family will fall into a feeding rhythm to make it easier for you to decide how many bottles of formula your baby needs per day.

This information can help you get the closest approximate amount of powdered baby formula you will need to have on hand to get you through the days and weeks ahead.

For help calculating the amount of formula per box for a month and ordering the number of boxes you may need for that month or any other information on our extensive collection of European baby formulas, My Organic Company is here to help.

We look forward to hearing from you.

Read Next: