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Bottle-Feeding - What is Expected

Most babies can start bottle-feeding within hours after birth. Most newborns feed about 6 to 10 times every 24 hours. Average feeding amounts will vary depending on your baby's age and how hungry he or she is at that moment.

This table provides general guidelines for feeding amounts.

Average feeding amounts by baby's age
Age of baby Formula feedings in 24 hours Amount of formula in each feedingTotal formula in 24 hours

1 month

6 to 8

2 fl oz (60 mL) to 3 fl oz (90 mL)

20 fl oz (600 mL)

2 months

6 to 7

4 fl oz (120 mL) to 5 fl oz (150 mL)

28 fl oz (850 mL)

3 months

5 to 6

6 fl oz (180 mL) to 7 fl oz (210 mL)

30 fl oz (900 mL)

4 months

4 to 5

6 fl oz (180 mL) to 8 fl oz (240 mL)

30 fl oz (900 mL)

5 months

4 to 5

7 fl oz (210 mL) to 8 fl oz (240 mL)

34 fl oz (1000 mL)

6 months

4 to 5

7 fl oz (210 mL) to 8 fl oz (240 mL)

38 fl oz (1150 mL)

A baby drinks from a bottle of formula for about 5 to 25 minutes at a time. Pay attention to your baby's nutritional needs and cues. Don't be concerned if your baby doesn't eat much at one feeding. He or she is likely eating enough over the course of a day or two. Forcing your baby to drink more formula than he or she needs can cause tummy aches and spitting up. But don't ever hesitate to call your doctor if you are worried about whether your baby is eating enough.

Common concerns

You may have the following concerns about bottle-feeding your baby:

  • When do I feed my baby? The length of time between feedings varies depending on the amount of formula your baby drank during the previous feeding. Most 2-week-old babies drink about every 2 hours. Older babies often drink more formula at each feeding. They often drink a bottle every 4 hours during the day. Sometimes they go 8 hours or longer between feedings at night. As you get to know your baby, you will be able to recognize his or her signs of hunger and fullness.
  • How can I breast- and bottle-feed? You may choose to switch between breast-feeding and formula-feeding. Supplementing breast milk with formula may decrease your supply of breast milk. But it will not stop your breast milk production. It is best to wait until your baby has been breast-feeding well for at least 6 weeks before you offer your baby formula too.
  • Are there differences between breast- and bottle-fed babies? Infant formulas take 2 times longer for a baby to digest than breast milk. As a result, formula-fed babies often take fewer feedings and have smaller, harder, stronger-smelling stools than breast-fed babies.
  • When can I start feeding my baby solid foods? At 6 months of age, you can start offering some solid foods to your baby. Gradually introduce new foods as you reduce the amount of formula. For more information, see the topic Weaning.

In an emergency, you can give your baby whole milk for a short time until you can get more formula.

    This information is produced and provided by the National Cancer Institute (NCI). The information in this topic may have changed since it was written. For the most current information, contact the National Cancer Institute via the Internet web site at http:// cancer .gov or call 1-800-4-CANCER.

    WebMD Medical Reference from Healthwise

    Last Updated: June 03, 2013
    This information is not intended to replace the advice of a doctor. Healthwise disclaims any liability for the decisions you make based on this information.
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