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Baby Formula Feeding

Choosing the Right Baby Formula for Feeding

Selecting the right formula for your baby can best be described as a true "trial and error" process. Some parents are fortunate enough to have their baby successfully take the first formula recommended by the healthcare provider or the hospital staff. Others may not be as lucky.
In addition, some babies have difficulty digesting some formulas or quickly develop a sensitivity or allergy to some of the ingredients.

Selecting Baby Formulas

Two important factors that you need to consider when selecting a baby formula are:
  • Digestive ease: If your baby is showing signs of tummy discomfort, consult your healthcare provider right away. Most commercial formulas are cow's milk-based. For infants who develop lactose intolerance or who have a family history of milk allergies, commercially made soy milk-based formulas are available.
If your baby begins to exhibit signs of discomfort, tell your baby's healthcare provider. He or she will want to know exactly what and how much you fed your baby and what signs of discomfort you noticed. Together you may be able to determine the problem and how you should proceed for the next feeding.
  • Flavor: Each formula does have a slightly different taste that may not agree with your baby. You might need to try a few before you find the one that goes down the easiest.

How Much Formula to Feed Baby and How Often?

Meeting a baby's feeding needs with formula is generally easy. With formula, the preparation is straightforward and the amount that your baby takes is easily measured. Many parents find the simplicity of the formula feeding process to be reassuring.
Establishing a feeding schedule with formula is uncomplicated. In the beginning, due to the tiny size of their bellies, the feedings will start out small but frequent (around every three to four hours). As their belly grows and they can take in more per feeding, the schedule will change and there will be longer individual feeding sessions further apart.
According to the American Academy of Pediatrics, the following is a good guideline for how much formula to feed a baby in the 50th percentile for weight per day:
For a Baby Boy
For a Baby Girl
Feedings per Day

Weight in lbs

Formula in ounces per day

Weight in lbs

Formula in ounces per day


Month 1


Every 4 hours

Month 2


6 to 7 feedings a day

Month 3


6 to 7 feedings a day

Month 4


6 feedings per day

Month 5


5-6 feedings per day

Month 6


5 feedings per day

One year


2-3 feedings per day (8 oz per feeding). Used as a supplement when solid foods are introduced.

To calculate the amount of formula per feeding, divide the formula ounces per day by the number of feedings. On average, a two-month-old girl will have six to seven feedings with 4 ounces at each feeding.
There are a couple of other ways that you can estimate your baby's intake of formula:
  • Use 2½ ounces of formula for each pound of body weight as a total daily amount.
  • After the first month, babies add about 1 ounce to each feeding for every month of life, starting at a base of 3 to 4 ounces per feeding. This increase stops when they reach 8 ounces per feeding.
Keep in mind that the numbers in this table are for the average baby. Your baby might need a little more or a little less. The key is to listen and watch closely for hunger/fullness cues. Babies vary their intake from day to day and even from feeding to feeding.
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