How do I know if my baby is getting enough formula?

Is my baby getting enough formula for feed?

How much formula to give to baby?

Is my formula-fed baby going hungry?

How do I know if my baby is getting enough formula? – Every mother worries about how much her baby should be eating especially in the early days. If you are feeding formula, how much you should give to your baby will depend on your baby’s age, weight and other diet if any.  Here we try to tackle some common queries. 

How to know if baby is getting enough formula 


How to know when my baby is hungry?

Your baby will let you know. Paediatricians these days recommend on-demand feeding, when babies are very young. Try not to put your baby on schedule till she is atleast a few months old. You must follow baby’s cues. When your baby cries for food, feed her and stop when she wants to stop.

Signs of a hungry baby

  • Baby starts licking lips.
  • Baby sucks on fingers or hands or toys.
  • Sticking the tongue in and out.
  • Baby starts rooting, i.e. moving head from side to side.
  • Baby starts fussing or breathing rapidly.
  • Baby cries. This is usually a late sign.


However, you should not feed baby every time she cries.

If you have fed baby within last one hour, check if baby has something else that is bothering her.

It could be a wet or dirty nappy or baby could be feeling too hot or cold.

Try cuddling as baby may want to be held.

If everything else is fine, you may offer her a bottle.



How much formula to give baby and how many times?


Amount of formula and frequency that you give to your baby will depend on her age and weight. Newborns need to feed small amount frequently. As babies grow, the amount of formula will increase and the frequency will decrease.

A general rule of thumb is to take your baby’s weight in pounds and multiply that by 2 and 2.5 to get lower and upper ranges. E.g. If your baby weighs 10 pounds, she should be getting a total of 20-25 oz of formula throughout the day.

However, these are only indicators, and there will be times when your baby wants less (if unwell) or more (during growth spurts).

During the first month, your baby may need 2-3 oz at a time every 2-3 hours. This may vary from baby to baby.

Between 2-3 months, baby may need 3-4 oz at every feed. Ideally your baby should be satisfied and leave a little in bottle. If baby finishes the whole bottle and looks for more, make a little more next time. If your baby leaves a lot in the bottle at every feed, reduce the amount of formula.

Between 4-6 months, you baby may need 4-5 oz per feed across 4-6 feeds in 24 hours.

After 6 months, baby may take 7-8 oz in one feed. You should start introducing solids at this stage.

After 1 year, you may replace formula with cow’s milk. Baby will need a total of 12-16 oz of milk along with solid meals.

It is quite easy to overfeed a bottle-fed baby due zeal on care-giver’s part. Read more about how to know if you are overfeeding your formula-fed baby.


How to know if baby is getting enough formula?

There are simple signs which can tell you that baby is getting enough formula

  • Baby seems happy and satisfied after feeding.
  • Baby gains weight and grows well.
  • Baby has atleast 6-8 wet diapers in 24 hours.

Baby weight and height growth chart

How to know if baby is getting too much formula?

Yes, it is possible to give baby too much formula. Unlike in breastfeeding where baby is able to regulate intake, we try to ensure that baby drinks all that has been served, which is not right. Just as we sometimes feel less hungry than usual, so do babies. You should take a look at how much you are filling in that bottle if :

  • Baby vomits after feeding frequently. A little spit up is common and not worrisome, but vomiting regularly means something is wrong. See the difference between spitting up and vomiting.
  • Baby suffers from tummy ache. Pulling her legs up and crying is one sign of tummy ache.
  • Baby may suffer from gas or acid reflux.



Do not get pressured by how much and how frequently other babies are having their feeds. Your baby will take what she needs and you must respect that as long as she is healthy and growing well.


Further Read:

How to know if your baby is getting enough breastmilk?

Breastfeeding vs. Formula feeding


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