How much and how often should I feed my baby formula? Formula Feeding

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newborn getting bottle fed
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Many formula-feeding moms wonder how much and how often to feed their babies. Check out these experts' and moms' tips for formula feeding amounts and frequency.

Make It a Gradual Increase

"A newborn's stomach is the size of a marble, growing to the size of a ping pong ball in the first week, holding anywhere from half an ounce to one ounce. Each week of life, the baby will begin to take more. Typically in the first weeks you offer about 1.5 to 2 ounces at each feed, and then work up to 2 to 3 ounces per feed as they get bigger. You'll also stretch feeds from every two to three hours to three to four hours." -- Emily Silver, MS, NP-C, certified family nurse practitioner,...

"A newborn's stomach is the size of a marble, growing to the size of a ping pong ball in the first week, holding anywhere from half an ounce to one ounce. Each week of life, the baby will begin to take more. Typically in the first weeks you offer about 1.5 to 2 ounces at each feed, and then work up to 2 to 3 ounces per feed as they get bigger. You'll also stretch feeds from every two to three hours to three to four hours." -- Emily Silver, MS, NP-C, certified family nurse practitioner, co-owner of Boston NAPS, Boston, MA

Watch for Signs of Hunger

"Babies who are formula fed tend to be able to go a little longer between feedings because formula is heavier than breast milk, which can sometimes fill the baby more and hold him off a bit longer between feeds. However, all babies vary and you have to get to know your baby and his or her signs of hunger." -- Heidi Miller, pediatric speech pathologist and feeding specialist, Heidi Miller Speech LLC, Florham Park, NJ

Use a Loose Schedule

"I preferred to go by a schedule from the very beginning. With a newborn, I fed 2 to 3 ounces, every four hours, then increased it at 4 months, according to weight. Talk to your pediatrician about guidelines."

Respond to Baby's Cues

"After feeding, is he rooting around looking for food or does he seem content and sleepy? If he seems hungry still, feed him another ounce or so and burp him."

It Takes Trial and Error

"In the first few weeks, babies will often go through small growth spurts during which they will want more. Use your baby's 'cues' to know when they need more."

Tailor It to the Baby

"I was told formula babies eat every three to four hours, but both my babies ate every two hours. Start off with two ounces, and then give more when he's no longer satisfied with that amount. Most babies will stop when they're full, so the trick is to find the right amount at each stage, so there's no wasted formula."

Try This Progression

"I fed my children about 2 ounces every three hours until they were about 2 months old. Then we graduated to 4 ounces every three hours until about 5 months old. At 6 months we went to sippy cups with about 6 ounces about five times a day."

The advice on CafeMom aims to educate, inform, and provide a range of solutions to the issues moms care about. It is not a substitute for consultation with a medical professional or treatment for a specific condition. You should not use this information to diagnose or treat a health problem without consulting a qualified professional. Please contact your health-care provider with questions and concerns.