The First 6 Months: Establishing Your Baby’s feeding Schedule

Right from the start, your baby needs the right nutrition to support its healthy development. For the first six months, breastmilk will provide your baby with all of the nutrition that they need.1 However, make sure that if you are breastfeeding, you give your baby a daily Vitamin D supplement of 400 IU. And if breastfeeding is not an option, don’t worry: Infant formula like Enfamil A+ is designed to meet the known nutritional requirements of babies, so your baby can get all the nutrients they need from formula.2  Use this guide to six-month feeding schedules and the formula feeding chart below to help navigate this exciting time and get your baby all the nutrition they need along the way.

Feeding Highlights from the First Six Months

  • For the first six months, breastmilk and/or baby formula will provide your baby with all the nutrition they need
  • Initially, there’s no set schedule for breastfeeding or formula-feeding babies. However, they will settle into more of a routine as they get older.
  • Whether you are breastfeeding or formula-feeding, it is important to listen to your baby’s feeding cues and feed them according to their hunger.
  • Around six-months old is when you can begin to introduce solid foods to your baby’s diet
     

Breastfeeding in the first six months

When it comes to how often to breastfeed your baby, it’s in many ways up to them. You will be feeding “on demand” or whenever your baby is expressing that they’re hungry. Signs of hunger in a baby that come before crying include:

  • Lip smacking
  • Rooting, or moving her head in search of your breast
  • Kicking or squirming
  • Appearing to be more alert3

Every baby is different, but this could be as often as about every two to three hours, or between eight to twelve times per day.4 Typically, however, the number of times a day in which they feed will decrease over time, as she will begin to consume more during each feeding.5

As far as knowing how much you should be breastfeeding your baby goes, both the amount of weight they gain and the number of wet diapers they have per day are good indicators of proper nutrition.7

Formula feeding in the first six months

Just like with breastfeeding, you’ll begin by feeding your baby whenever they show signs they’re hungry.6 In time, this often settles into a routine. So, ultimately, every six-month feeding schedule will vary according to the habits of each individual baby. However, for a general sense of the amount to formula-feed your baby, refer to this formula feeding chart below:

Formula feeding chart for the first six months7

Your Baby’s Age

Bottles per Day

Approx. Amount of Formula per Bottle

Approx. Amount of Formula per Day

0-2 months

5 -10

59 mL (2 fl oz) - 89 mL (3 fl oz)

410-800 mL (14-27 fl oz)

3-5 months

4-7

89 mL (3 fl oz) - 150 mL (5 fl oz)

590-1050 mL (20-35.5 fl oz)

6 months

4-5

135 mL (5 fl oz) - 205 mL (7 fl oz)

540-1030 mL (18-35 fl oz)

While this chart provides an idea of how much you should feed your baby during the first six months, weight gain and the number of wet diapers she produces are indicators of whether she is getting enough to eat.7

Beyond the six-month feeding schedule

After about six months is when things usually begin to get a little bit more interesting—and varied— as far as it concerns your baby’s diet and feeding schedule, as this is when you will get to introduce and explore different solid foods.8 According to the Canadian Paediatric Society, there is no particular order in which you should introduce solid foods to your baby, and it does not recommend delaying any particular foods, like peanuts, in order to prevent possible allergies.1 Talk to your doctor about when is precisely the right time for your baby to start eating solid foods, and learn more about beginning this exciting time where you may establish a whole new feeding schedule.

  1. Canadian Paediatric Society, Feeding Your Baby in the First Year Handout (https://www.caringforkids.cps.ca/handouts/feeding_your_baby_in_the_first_year)
  2. https://www.enfamil.ca/articles/not-breastfeeding-s-okay-and-here-s-why
  3. American Academy of Pediatrics, How Often to Breastfeed (https://www.healthychildren.org/English/ages-stages/baby/breastfeeding/Pages/How-Often-to-Breastfeed.aspx)
  4. Canadian Paediatric Society, Breastfeeding Handout (https://www.caringforkids.cps.ca/handouts/breastfeeding)
  5. https://www.enfamil.ca/articles/how-to-know-if-breastfed-baby-getting-enough-to-eat
  6. American Academy of Pediatrics, Amount and Schedule of Formula Feedings (https://www.healthychildren.org/English/ages-stages/baby/feeding-nutrition/Pages/Amount-and-Schedule-of-Formula-Feedings.aspx)
  7. https://www.enfamil.ca/articles/how-much-to-feed-your-baby
  8. https://www.enfamil.ca/articles/baby-digestive-system-introducing-solid-foods