Are you worried that your baby isn’t eating enough throughout the day? Are you wondering when you start solid foods with your baby – how much to feed them & what does that do to their nursing or bottle feedings? Navigating your baby’s appetite can be tricky because as they grow – and might I say they grow fast – what they eat, how much they eat, & how often they eat will continue to change. While every baby is different – this is why we should feed on-demand and listen to their hunger cues – I have broken down the typical amount of food your baby should be drinking or eating by age for the first year of life. + I have added in some extra tips and things to look out for as your baby grows through each stage of early infancy.
Newborn (0-1 Months) Baby Feeding Schedule
For these first few weeks, your baby’s belly is really, really tiny! Your baby will eat small amounts pretty frequently throughout the day. As your baby continues to grow, so will their tummy. You will notice they will begin to eat more at feeding time and go a little longer in between their feedings. This is why it is important that you feed your baby on-demand – feeding your baby when they show signs of hunger.
For the first few weeks
of life, your nursing baby will drink about 1-2 ounces of breastmilk
every two hours
. After 2-3 week
s they may start to drink around 2-3 ounces per feeding
, so you may notice they go about 3 hours
in between their feedings. To help gauge when your baby will make this 2 to 3-hour transition feed your baby on demand. He or she will let you know!
Formula-fed babies will drink about 1-3 ounces of formula every 3-4 hours
during the first few weeks
of life. As your baby nears the 1-month
mark, they will likely be drinking 2-3 ounces of formula every 4 hours.
If you decide to combo feed your baby (breastmilk + formula) or if you transition from breastmilk to formula, then you may notice that your baby can go longer in between formula feeds than breastmilk feeds. This is normal! It takes your baby longer to digest formula than breastmilk. Pro Tip:
Your baby should be drinking around 2.5 ounces of formula per pound of their weight each day. For example, a 7lb baby should drink about 17.5 ounces of formula per day.
Should You Wake Your Baby to Feed?
Yes! I know, I know…never wake a sleeping baby! Which I am totally game for once your baby has started to gain appropriate weight AND is at least a few weeks old. Your baby will likely lose a little bit of weight within the few days after they are born – especially breastfed babies. We want to ensure they gain this weight back! Fresh newborn babes are still learning their hunger cues, so it is important for them to be nursing or feeding every 2-3 hours
– that means waking them to eat! Get the green light from your pediatrician to allow your baby to start sleeping through feedings.
1-2 Month Old Baby Feeding Schedule
As your baby continues to grow so does their little belly. Their tummy should now be big enough to where they can start eating more at mealtime and stretching out the time in between their feedings. A typical feeding schedule for a 1-2 month old baby is: Breastfed babies will usually go between 2-4 hours in between feedings. Formula-fed babies will be drinking 3-4 ounces of formula 6-8 times per day.
Depending on the time of day your baby may eat more at one feeding and not so much at another feeding. Remember to feed on demand
and watch for their hunger cues
. Some babies may go through periods of cluster feeding
– feed every hour or so for a short period of time. You may have received the green light from your pediatrician that you can let baby sleep (no waking to feed), so some babies may sleep for 4-5 hour stretch
2-4 Month Old Baby Feeding Schedule
There is not much to note at this age, other than your baby’s appetite and belly will continue to grow! A typical feeding schedule for your 2-4 month old baby is: Breastfed babies will feed about every 3-4 hours. Formula-fed babies will drink anywhere from 4-6 ounces of formula 5-6 times per day.
Your baby is not quite ready for solid foods yet – that includes adding rice cereal to their bottles of breastmilk or formula. Contrary to popular belief most babies don’t sleep longer when served these “beefed” up bottles. More times than not it will leave them with an upset tummy disrupting their sleep – their belly isn’t developed enough to handle digesting the rice cereal yet.
4-6 Month Old Baby Feeding Schedule
Your baby may be ready to start solid foods around 4-6 months of age
if they are showing the developmental signs of readiness:
- Sitting up on their own – with little to no support
- Able to hold their head up and steady
- Opens mouth when offered a spoon
- Shows interest in the foods you eat
If you are planning on baby-led weaning
I would encourage you to wait closer to 5-6 months
of age. For your baby to be ready to self-feed they need to be able to grasp food and bring it to their mouth – your baby will likely do this closer to 5-6 months. Related: When Do You Start Feeding Baby Food to Your Baby?
Infant cereal should not be used in substitution for breastmilk or formula – nor added to your baby’s bottle. A typical feeding schedule for your 4-6 month old baby may look like: Keep the same nursing or bottle schedule that your infant was on + work up to feeding baby 1-2 tablespoons of infant cereal daily.
At 4-6 months, breastfed babies will nurse every 3-4 hours. Formula-fed babies will likely be drinking anywhere from 4-8 ounces of formula 5-7 times per day.
6-9 Month Old Baby Feeding Schedule
By 6 months of age, you should start introducing solid foods to your baby – unless you’ve been told otherwise by your pediatrician. Sometimes pre-term babies or babies with developmental delays will be recommended to wait longer. Breastfed babies will nurse around every 4 hours or so.
Breastfeeding becomes more individualized as your baby starts to eat solid foods. It is more important now than ever to continue nursing your baby on-demand when they show signs of hunger. Formula-fed babies will likely drink 6-8 ounces of formula per feeding, 4-5 times per day. Offer your baby at least 2-3 tablespoons of solid foods 2 times per day.
You can feed your baby infant cereals, fruits, vegetables, meat, and beans. Make sure to start out with foods that are easy on your baby’s belly and space out introducing new foods for 3-5 days. Related: How to Start Introducing Solids to Baby
9-12 Month Old Baby Feeding Schedule
As your baby gets closer to one year of age, they will slowly start to wean themselves from nursing and bottle feeding while increasing the amount of solid foods they eat. There is absolutely no reason to wean from breastfeeding, but you can start once your baby gets closer to 12 months of age if that is your goal. Nursing will start to become more of a comfort or bonding experience rather than for nutritional value when your baby turns one year. The goal is to have your baby eating 3 meals and 2-3 snacks per day of solid foods around the time they reach 1 year of age. A typicaly feeding schedule for your 9-12 month old baby may look like: Breastfed babies will still likely be nursing every 4 hours. Formula-fed babies will drink about 3-4 bottles per day with 7-8 ounces of formula per bottle. Offer your baby at least 3-4 tablespoons of solid foods 3 times per day.
It is a great idea to start your baby on a breakfast, lunch, and dinner routine in order to start building healthy eating habits early on. You can feed your baby infant cereals, fruits, vegetables, meats, beans, and a small amount of dairy. Stick to just cheese and yogurt for now – don’t introduce cow’s milk until 1 year of age.
What Happens When Your Baby Turns One Year Old?
The first year seriously flies by so fast… I know it’s super cliche and cheesy to say, but until I had my own I didn’t realize how true it really is. At one year of age, most of your baby’s calories and nutrition should come from solid foods
. Continue to nurse your baby, but make sure they are also eating 3 meals and 2-3 snacks per day. Formula-fed babies should be completely weaned from infant formula by 12 months
. There is no need for toddler formula – your tiny foodie is getting enough calories and nutrients from the foods they eat – unless you’ve been instructed by your pediatrician. At one year of age, you can introduce whole milk to your child. 2-3 cups of milk is recommended daily.
Have trouble transitioning your little one from formula to whole milk? Prepare a bottle with 3-4 ounces of formula (pre-mixed with water like usual) and 3-4 ounces of whole milk. Slowly start to add more whole milk and less formula to make for a slower transition.
Let’s Wrap It Up
As your baby grows so will their appetite – the what, how much, and how often. Remember to feed on-demand and watch for your baby’s signs to let you know they are hungry to ensure they are eating enough.