Once you wean your baby, you need to figure out the amount of formula feed you should give your baby. There is no single answer as it depends on various factors like your baby’s age, weight and whether you’re feeding her only formula milk or formula along with breast milk or solids.
Don’t worry. Here, MomJunction has compiled some crucial information about formula feed and how much you should feed your baby. So, read on and get informed.
Feeding Signs For Babies:
Your baby’s appetite will vary every month, and you should let her set the pace (1). Learn to spot cues and respond to them, so that she feeds as often as required. When your baby is hungry, she will turn her head toward your chest and open her mouth. This motion is also called rooting. She may also mimic sucking motions and bring her hands to her mouth.
As soon as you spot these signs, you need to offer your baby a bottle. She may be too upset to feed if you delay until she begins to cry. When you actively respond to your baby’s feeding cues, it helps make feeding a much easier task for both you and your baby.
It is important to keep a watch for these signs that your baby has had enough when you are feeding your baby (2). These signs include resting or slowing down. With these pauses, your baby gets some time to understand whether she is full or not.
[ Read: How Often To Feed Newborn In A Day ]
Amount Of Formula To Feed Your Baby:
Like babies who are breastfed, infants who are fed formula should be allowed to feed on demand (3). This ensures that such babies feed only when they are hungry, which in turn sets the stage for easier future weight control.
Babies sleep a lot just after they are born (4). During the first few days of her life, your baby will drink very little milk in one sitting, no more than an ounce or two. However, she will need to eat frequently. So, you need to ensure that your baby doesn’t miss a feeding just because you do not want to wake her, or think that you should not. Let her sleep for three hours and then wake her up. Give her a bottle to prevent the risk of malnutrition and dehydration.
Soon enough, your baby’s appetite kicks in, and her formula consumption increases. During the first three months, infants need to drink enough formula to gain about an ounce of weight each day. Your visits to the pediatrician at this time will help him gauge your little one’s development. Between 3 and six months, your baby’s growth will slow to a weight gain of about half an ounce a day. Babies gain even less weight than this as their first birthday draws close.
In the early months, you should offer your baby formula as she demands. Attentive feeding helps lay a healthy foundation for growth in an environment that is supportive and loving. When the time is right, you should gradually add solid foods to vary consistency and texture, and also to give your baby the important nutrients she needs to grow. Their little mouths are also stimulated for oral and motor development.
[ Read: How To Prepare Formula Milk For Baby ]
Newborn To 4 Months:
At this age, mother’s milk, a formula, or a combination of the two, is the best and only food for your little one. Allow your baby to determine the amount and how often she needs to eat. There are babies who eat every two hours, day and night while there are those that will go for longer without eating. At this age, ‘on demand’ feeding is best for your baby. It is important for newborn babies to feed frequently because they grow quickly. Feeding babies allow them to feel secure, and they also learn to trust you.
Newborn babies may consume an average of 16 to 32 ounces of milk or formula on a normal day (5). You do not have to worry much about the specific nutrients required by your baby. When it comes to nutrition, feeding with breast milk or formula is like one stop shopping. It has everything that your baby needs to grow and develop in the healthiest possible way. Always make sure that you give your little one the best formula. Your pediatrician can help you pick the best one based on your baby’s nutritional needs.
[ Read: How And When To Start Bottle Feeding ]
4 To 6 Months:
At some point during these two months, most babies are introduced to solid foods, although all their nutritional needs are still largely supplied by breast milk or formula (6). It is developmentally appropriate to add a few semisolids. At this time, your baby can suckle stronger, control her head better, and mimic what she sees in the environment that surrounds her better than earlier. You may even see the beginning of a palmer grasp, where she brings objects to her mouth to bite. By 6 months, it will seem like your baby puts everything into her mouth!
Typically, babies who are fed formula consume much more milk at each feed than babies who are breastfed. According to a large study that compared feeding volumes in formula-fed and breastfed babies, the babies who were fed formula consumed 49% more milk at the age of 1 month, 57% at 3 months, and 71% at 5 months.
Here is a look at how much formula a baby needs based on their age:
- From birth to 1 week, babies need 6 to 10 bottles of formula every day. Each bottle should contain 1 to 3 ounces of formula.
- From 1 week to 1 month, babies need 7 to 8 bottles of milk every day. Each bottle should contain 2 to 4 ounces of formula.
- From 1 month to 3 months, babies need 5 to 7 bottles of formula every day. Each bottle should contain 4 to 6 ounces.
- From 3 months to 6 months, babies need 4 to 5 bottles of formula each day. Each bottle should contain 6 to 7 ounces of formula.
- From 6 months to 9 months, babies need 3 to 4 bottles of formula every day. Each bottle should contain 7 to 8 ounces.
- From 10 to 12 months, babies need 3 bottles of formula every day. Each bottle should contain 7 to 8 ounces of formula.
[ Read: Different Types Of Infant Formula ]
Why Formula-Fed Babies Drink More?
There are several reasons why babies who are fed formula drink much more milk than breastfed babies.
- Milk in a bottle flows more consistently (7). During the first 3 to 4 months, an inborn reflex automatically triggers suckling after swallowing. Because milk flows more consistently from the bottle than the breast, it increases the amount of milk that babies drink from the bottle at a feeding. Before they outgrow reflexive suckling, bottle-fed babies are at greater risk of overfeeding.
- When they are breastfed, babies are given more control over milk intake. Because they cannot see how much milk is in the breast, it is less likely that a breastfeeding mother will coax her baby to continue after she is full. As she grows and thrives, the mother learns to trust her baby to take what she needs from bottle and breast, as well as solid foods when they are introduced later.
- More milk is consumed as there is more milk in the bottle. In the study mentioned earlier, it was found that babies took more formula at feedings when they were offered bottles that contain more than 6 ounces, or 180ml.
- Breast milk and formula are metabolized differently (8). Because the nutrients in the formula are used less efficiently by formula-fed babies, they may require more milk to meet their nutritional needs.
- Hormones, such as adiponectin and leptin, are also missing in the formula, which helps babies regulate energy metabolism and appetite. Formula-fed babies burn more calories while they sleep than breastfed babies, meaning that even their sleep metabolism is affected.
[ Read: Best Formula Milk For Babies ]
- If you are unable to breastfeed your baby for any reason, you should use an iron-fortified infant formula available at stores for the first 9 to 12 months. Keep the following points in mind when feeding your little one formula.
- The formula you choose for your baby should be cow milk-based
- Homemade formulas that are made from evaporated, whole milk (cow or goat) that are available in cans are not recommended as a substitute for breast milk.
- Homemade formulas can contain germs that harm your baby and lack essential nutrients that can make your baby sick.
- Rice, soy or other plant-based beverages, even when fortified, are not appropriate as a substitute for breast milk as they are not nutritionally complete for infants. You should also keep in mind that there is no evidence that soy-based formula will help in preventing your child from developing an allergy.
- You should only give your baby soy-based infant formulas as an alternative to cow milk-based formula if your baby has galactosemia, which is a rare disorder that affects how a baby’s body processes simple sugar, or if your baby is unable to consume dairy-based products due to religious or cultural reasons.
- If you are unsure which formula is best for your child, you should talk to your doctor.
Signs that your Baby is Getting Too Little or Too Much Formula:
The following are signs that indicate that your baby may be getting too little formula:
- Your baby’s rate of weight gain is slower than normal. Consult your pediatrician if your baby is gaining weight too slowly. It is the best way to avoid any problems and help her maintain a normal, healthy weight.
- Her urine output is diminished.
[ Read: How Much Water Should Babies Drink ]
- Your baby’s skin has a loose and wrinkled appearance.
- She cries persistently at all hours. Hungry babies often cry a lot, so if your baby cries more than usual, it could be that she is not full and needs more formula.
Signs that you are feeding your baby too much formula at each feeding include the following:
- Your baby spits up a lot or vomits profusely immediately after the feeding.
- She experiences colicky abdominal pain immediately after feeding. Your little one draws her legs up onto a tense tummy.
- Your baby is gaining weight excessively. Remember that rapid weight gain is not healthy. You should consult your pediatrician if you notice that your baby is gaining weight at a much faster rate than normal.
If you see these signs of overfeeding, you need to offer your baby smaller-volume feedings more frequently. Also, make sure that you burp her once or twice during the feeding, and offer her a bottle of water occasionally instead of formula.
As you start developing a bottle feeding routine for you and your baby, you will both work together to figure out which is the best formula and how much and how often you need to feed her. Small feedings that are spaced more frequently are better than those that are larger and spaced farther apart. This will help make sure that your baby does not spit any milk back up. Feeding your baby too much formula in one go will make her feel sick and uncomfortable.
[ Read: Tips To Store Formula Milk ]
As mentioned earlier, you need to make sure that you learn to know when your baby needs to be fed. She will give you cues, and it is important to know what those cues are. Making her wait too long will get her upset and cranky, and she will end up not drinking any milk at all.
During their first year, babies increase their birth weight by three times and increase in length by 50%. For that amazing development to be fueled, it is important to make eating the top priority every day. Because they have tummies that are too tiny to eat a lot, babies compensate by eating frequently. Remember that the food you feed your baby, whether formula or solids when the time comes, has to be nutritionally rich.
We hope you found the post useful.
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