Enfamil explains how much and how often to feed a baby, along with how to tell if your baby is getting enough to eat.

Knowing how much to feed a baby can be tricky. There is a learning curve when it comes to breastfeeding and formula-feeding, and it’s completely normal to have some questions. At Enfamil, we’re here to help provide you with the information you need to feel comfortable and confident feeding your little one.

Every baby is different, and feeding amounts can vary depending on the child. In addition, breastfeeding moms may face separate questions than moms who choose to formula-feed. This article is broken down into a few different sections to answer any and all of your questions about how much your baby should eat:

How Much to Feed a Baby: The Basics
How Do I Know If My Baby Is Hungry?
Breastfeeding: 0-12 Months
Formula-Feeding: 0-12 Months
Baby Feeding Chart: First Year
Tips for Transitioning to Solids

How Much to Feed a Baby: The Basics

Right from the start, your baby needs the right nutrition to support its healthy development. The Canadian Pediatric Society, Health Canada, Breastfeeding Committee for Canada and Dietitians of Canada recommend exclusively breastfeeding for the first six months, as breastmilk will provide your baby with all of the nutrition that they need. After six months you can begin introducing solid foods. They further recommend that if you are breastfeeding, you give your baby a daily Vitamin D supplement of 400 IU. If breastfeeding is not an option, don’t worry: infant formula like Enfamil A+ is designed to meet the nutritional requirements of babies, so your baby can get all the nutrients they need from formula.

Feeding Highlights for Year One

  • For the first six months, breastmilk and/or baby formula will provide your baby with the nutrition they need.
  • Initially, most babies do not need breastfeeding and formula feeding schedules. 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 (see: Tips for Transitioning to Solids) below.

How Do I Know If My Baby Is Hungry?

First things first: let’s talk about how to tell if your baby is hungry. The good news is that whether you’re breastfeeding or formula-feeding, your baby is the single best authority for when he needs to be fed and when he is satisfied. His internal regulator for hunger and fullness is fine-tuned to his particular energy needs. That’s why rigidly counting the ounces of formula or the number of minutes per breastfeeding session isn’t the best way to know if your baby should eat more. Instead, pay attention to his cues; his behaviour will tell you when he’s hungry and when he’s full. Research shows that when caregivers are responsive to feeding cues, babies will regulate their own energy intake.

SIGNS YOUR BABY IS HUNGRY

Crying : A hunger cry is usually short, low-pitched and rises and falls. But crying is actually one of the later signs of hunger. You’ll notice other behavioural cues first (such as those below). By the time a hungry baby is wailing, he may be too stressed to start eating easily.
Waking up and acting restless: Before your baby launches into a full-throated hunger wail, he’ll wake up and move around in his crib. He may also move his mouth and raise his hands to his face.
Sucking on his fist or smacking his lips: If you feed a breastfed baby when you see these signs, rather than waiting, he’ll latch on more easily.
Rooting: During your baby’s first weeks, when you stroke his cheek, his natural reflex will be to turn toward the bottle or breast and make sucking motions with his mouth. After 4 months of age, rooting becomes a voluntary action rather than a reflex.
Opening his mouth while feeding: Translation: “More, please!” A hungry baby may continue to show interest in sucking even after finishing the first breast or bottle.
Smiling during feeding: Babies older than 4 months will show their interest in continuing to eat by looking at you and smiling as they feed.

SIGNS YOUR BABY IS FULL

Closing lips: Just as a hungry baby suckles readily, a full baby zips his lips, as if to say, “No more, thanks.”()
Turning his head away: A more forceful version of closing his lips is to move his entire head away from the food source. If your baby turns away from your breast or a bottle, you shouldn’t force him to eat.
Decreasing or stopping sucking: Some full babies will stay latched on to the nipple but not suck any more—at which point, it’s time to gently end the session.
Spitting out the nipple or falling asleep when full: After about 15 to 20 minutes of feeding, a full baby will often act drowsy and may even fall asleep.
Showing increasing interest in surroundings rather than eating: At around 4 months old, many babies begin to get distracted during feedings, as their awareness of the world around them grows. A hungry baby will put this curiosity on hold long enough to feel sated. When he begins looking around more distractedly, it’s a sign he’s had plenty.

 

Breastfeeding: 0-12 Months

You will be breastfeeding “on demand” or whenever your baby is expressing that they’re hungry. 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 (6 or more per day) are good indicators of proper nutrition. Every baby is different, but this could be feeding as often as about every two to three hours, or between eight to twelve times per day. Typically, the number of times a day in which they feed will decrease over time as he will begin to consume more during each feeding. He will begin getting additional nutrition from other sources once solid foods are incorporated into his diet, which may cause some changes in his breastfeeding habits.

Formula-feeding: 0-12 Months

On average, formula-fed babies eat every 3-4 hours during their first weeks, when their stomach is small. However, after a few weeks the amount consumed at each feeding will increase and the number of feedings will decrease. In other words, he will eat more but less often. Like with breastfeeding, proper weight gain and number of wet diapers are the best indicators of whether your baby is getting enough food.

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Baby Feeding Chart: First Year

If you are exclusively formula-feeding, refer to our baby feeding chart for information on how much formula to feed your baby. Our formula baby feeding chart is a guide to how much newborns should eat, along with how much formula to feed a baby after six months. But remember, these are just averages - your baby’s appetite is always the best guide.

AGE BOTTLES
per day
APPROXIMATE AMOUNT OF FORMULA
per bottleper day

MONTHS
(NEWBORNS)
5 -10 59 mL (2 fl oz) - 89mL (3 fl oz) 410-800 mL (14-27 fl oz)

MONTHS
4-7 89 mL (3fl oz) - 150 mL (5 fl oz) 590-1050 mL (20-35.5 fl oz)

MONTHS
4-5 135 mL (5 fl oz) - 205 mL (7 fl oz) 540-1030 mL (18-35 fl oz)

MONTHS
4-6 135 mL (5 fl oz) - 175 mL (6 fl oz) 540-960 mL (18-32 fl oz)

MONTHS
3-4 175 mL (6 fl oz) - 250 mL (8 fl oz) 500-750 mL (17-25 fl oz)

Tips for Transitioning to Solids

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. 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.

  • Start slow. Transitioning is a gradual process, and it’s important to give your baby time to ad just.
  • Start simple. Single-ingredient foods without sugar or salt will be easier on your baby’s tummy. If they have a negative reaction, it will be easy to determine the source.
  • Consider baby cereals to start. Mix one tablespoon of cereal with four tablespoons of breastmilk or formula. It will help make the transition for your baby more gradual.
  • As your baby grows more comfortable, slowly introduce vegetables, fruits and meats into their diet. Always consult your doctor before introducing a new food.
  • Avoid honey in the first year. In rare cases, it causes infant botulism. Also avoid hot dogs, peanut butter, nuts, popcorn or any other food that could be a choking hazard.
  • Feed with a spoon since this will be your one of your child’s primary utensils eventually.
  • Always serve the appropriate texture of food for your baby. He may start with pureed food, then move to mashed, chopped and finger foods as he gets older.

If you’re unsure when to begin, talk to your doctor about when is precisely the right time for your baby to start eating solid foods.

We hope we helped answer your questions on how much to feed a baby. For more information on feeding amounts, explore our Feeding Guide.

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Tip: There are formulas for babies with special feeding needs (such as allergies or intolerances).Check out our hypoallergenic baby formula products for more information!