Formula Feeding: 3 tips for a well-fed baby


Most formula-fed newborns will eat 8-12 times in 24 hours. In your baby’s first week, offer ½ ounce to 2 ounces of formula about every 2-3 hours, and let your baby decide how much of that they want to drink, using the paced bottle feeding method. Find the link to this video at the end of this page. 

If your baby seems hungry after finishing the bottle (see Tip #2 for signs to look for), you can offer a bit more. 

How much a "typical" newborn eats

Newborn feeding chart. Read extended text description for content.

Every baby is different

You can use this chart (Extended text for visually impaired) to help you figure out if this “typical” amount of formula is right for your newborn in their first weeks of life. If you think your baby is not getting enough, or you are not sure, ask your baby’s doctor for help. You are not alone in this!

Tip #1: Check her diaper

Your baby’s diapers in their first week will help you tell if they are getting enough formula. In general, their diapers should follow the number and color pattern below. If you do not feel like this pattern is being met, contact your baby’s doctor.

Chart with diaper information. Read extended text description for content.

Extended text for visually impaired

Welcome to parenthood: It is full of poop and full of love.

Tip #2: Watch and listen

Newborns who are getting enough formula should appear happy and peaceful for 1-3 hours after feeding. They may even fall asleep, which is even better (because you can rest, too!). During the first month after birth, your newborn will need to be fed 8 to 12 times within 24 hours. Watch for your baby’s hunger cues. Your newborn can sleep too much. Talk to your doctor about how long you should let your baby sleep.

Watch your baby for signs that they may be hungry or fullMany times, your baby will give you more than one cue at a time. 

Your baby will become more upset if their first cues go unnoticed. It is best to notice the early signs of hunger above before they start to feel upset and need to be calmed down.

Did You Know?

Babies cry for many reasons. Your baby’s cry does not always mean they need to be fed. Many parents worry that their babies are not getting enough milk because babies often cry and wake more than expected. It is possible that your baby needs their diaper changed or that they are too warm or cold. Or they may just want to be near you! Do not assume that your baby’s cries mean they are not getting enough milk. It is likely your baby is getting exactly as much as they need if they are:

* Making enough wet and dirty diapers.
* Not showing hunger cues between feedings.
* Gaining weight healthily (your baby’s doctor can help you know this).

Tip #3: When in doubt, ask for help  

Many parents worry and want to make sure their babies are getting enough to eat. You can handle this! And if you have any doubts, talk to your baby’s doctor. Asking for help is the right thing to do.

If you are breast or chestfeeding, you can learn how to tell if your baby is getting enough human milk here.

If your baby is hungry, they may:

- Move their head, looking for something to suck on

If your baby is full from bottle-feeding, they may:

- Relax their muscles

This is a general estimate. If your baby is going through a growth spurt, it is likely he will eat even more often for a few days. Just because your baby loves to breastfeed, and does so OFTEN, does not mean you are not making enough milk!

This is a general estimate. If your baby is going through a growth spurt, it is likely she will eat even more often for a few days. Just because your baby is eating often, does not mean she is not getting enough formula!

Breast or chestfeeding are both ways to describe a parent feeding a baby human milk from their breast or chest.