31 answers

How Much Formula for a 1 Week Old

I am looking for some feedback from other parents on the amount of formula that is appropriate (in general) for a 1 week old. (I am unable to breastfeed my children)

I delivered our second child, a 7 lb 4 oz boy, last Monday. At present he is on a parent led schedule of eating every 3.5 to 4 hours... My problem isn't the schedule, but rather the amount of formula that he should be taking at a feeding. The home nurse said that his daily intake should be about 18 oz... Which is what he is getting now if I limit his bottle to 3 oz and feed him every 4 hours.

My problem is that he is still rooting and wanting to suck after finishing a 3 oz bottle and seems hungry again in 2.5-3 hours. I don't want to over feed him, but I am not sure what else I can do besides increase the amount of formula per feeding or the number of feedings each of which will put him closer to 24 ozs. in 24 hours. Can anyone tell me about how much formula your 1 week old took in a 24 hour period? Or can you give me any ideas for helping to sustain him.

What can I do next?

So What Happened?™

Thank you all for the feedback... We have kept the schedule so that he doesn't become a "bottle baby"- eating to pacify instead of for nourishment. By increasing the formula to 4 oz, he is MUCH more content to eat every 3-4 hours. He actually slept the best he has in the last 4 days, last night.

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I always believe that babies will stop eating when they are full. It may be he does need more at feedings. This may create less feedings. I would slowly give him an ounce at a time and see if that makes a difference. Does he fuss and cry when he is done eating? If so that may mean he is still a bit humgry. Does he use a pacifier? If so that may soothe him for a while. Good luck!

People don't limit how much a baby eats if their being breastfeed so why do so when their being bottle fed?

Whether breastfeeding or formula-feeding an infant, I have always thought it was best to provide it to the infant as the infant demands. They do not have the overeating instinct that so many adults experience...the infant is the best to judge how much he gets to eat. I say give him as much as he requests. This is what I did with my children. I never bothered with "scheduling" feedings because infants change so much their first year.

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You need to take that parent led schedule and throw it out the window. Feed that baby when he is hungry and you let him eat how ever much he wants to eat. there is no overfeeding a one week old. His body tells him when he is hungry, thus the instintal rooting and sucking mechanism kicks in. that 18 oz is a guideline, not a rule. How do you think breastfeeding mothers monitor how many ounces a baby is taking in? They don't, they just feed when the baby is hungry and let the baby nurse for as long as the baby wants to. Bottle feeding should go the same way.

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The 18 oz is just a guide; remember that newborns are individuals, too.

My two cents worth is that you should be feeding him more like every 2-3 hours. I think 4 hours is too long for a newborn to go without eating, unless they've been sleeping solidly that whole time, and not fussing or rooting.

That being said, there's a great saying, "Watch your baby, not the clock". If your little one is rooting and sucking, he needs to eat, regardless of how long it's been since his last bottle.

I breastfed, so the focus was on what my son's "output" (i.e., poop and pee) was. We had a poop/pee chart for the first few weeks, that outlined how many wet and poopy diapers he should have each day. You might want to see if such a chart exists for bottle-fed babies.

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hun, you have to understand that NO ONE, not even doctors or nurses, can tell a person with certainty how much a baby should be eating. its individual. its personal.

a parent led schedule will never work. thats for sure. how would you feel if someone was in charge of when YOU got food? i would assume that it could be pretty frustrating, however we can wait 3-4 hrs to eat. babies have MUCH smaller tummies, and remember this; they will triple their weight and double their height in ONE year. thats a lot of growing, so that means a LOT of feeding.

you need to feed on babies schedule. when baby is hungry. this means all night too. yes, its going to be tiring, and hard. but you need to listen to your babies cues and signals, no matter when and where you are. its important.

as long as baby is gaining weight at appointments, there isnt a problem with how much baby is eating. just feed her when shes hungry. and dont ever force baby to eat more than she wants! baby is listening to her body, her body tells her when shes hungry, and when shes full.


william and martha sears are both in the medical field and have raised 8 children, one adopted, and they know what they are talking about! they are very into helping moms know that YOU are the ones with the instincts. you need to listen to them - and that is far reaching! always always listen to your heart and your instincts. thats so so so important. dont listen to outside advice unless it backs up the instinct that you are already having. if you start listening now, you will not regret it later. that means all the time. all day and all night. listen to your isntincts. during the first 3 months, you need to just find out how to survive. do it by instinct instead of outside advice, even from your doctors!!!

doctors sometimes will just tell us what they think we want to hear. and they dont nkow your child, they cant take the time to really explain something to you, they wont take the time to really listen either. doctors dont have time.

listen to your instincts. thats so important. and check out www.askdrsears.com and any and all of their books.

listening to my instincts meant with my son (now 22 months) nursing until he self weaned at 19 months (i understand you cant and thats fine, dont feel guilty. just do what you have to do ok? its ok) that meant for me co sleeping most of the time until he was between 15-17 months. that means letting him sleep in our room, yet in his own bed even today. that meant NOT forcing him to 'cry it out'. after all, what is 'it' and where is 'out'???

the cio method is something also that i feel strongly about. i really dont agree with it, and i really feel it hurts the parent/child relationship. if you have any questions, please as me, i will help you out the best i can.

parenting is hard. and tiring. and frustrating. but when you can see your child happy, safe, comfortable, friendly, .... and .. like my son, one who will lay down when put to bed, and just go to sleep instead of tantrums or crying... wow. the power of being the parent...

think of it this way. if the majority of kids have some sort of issue... and the majority of parents are parenting a certain way.... then.... connect the dots you know? something about parenting these days isnt working.
anyway, its a lot to think about this early in your parenting. but its a good time to think about it!

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I am a old fashion Mom, and get so tired of hearing of home nurses and WIC nurses making decisions for baby. Obviously 3oz isn't enough, up to it 4oz, so he eats more than 18 oz a day, he's hungry....feed him. And up the amount little by little until you find the amount that is right for him.

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I am a first time mother to an almost six month old boy. I breastfed and supplemented as well. The first week I had a hard time breastfeeding becasue I was producing too much milk and he was becoming overwhelmed. During this time I bottle fed and I never used a small 4 oz. botle. I always prepared an 8 oz. bottle and let him eat until he was content. I never had a problem overfeeding him and then he was able to go the 3 hours between feedings. Whatever formula was leftover after the feeding, I refridgerated until the next feeding avoiding any waste. This also helped at nighttime because he slept the whole night through. Good luck and I'm sure everything will work out.

I always believe that babies will stop eating when they are full. It may be he does need more at feedings. This may create less feedings. I would slowly give him an ounce at a time and see if that makes a difference. Does he fuss and cry when he is done eating? If so that may mean he is still a bit humgry. Does he use a pacifier? If so that may soothe him for a while. Good luck!

I also had difficulty with nursing my son. He never seemed to get enough to eat and was always hungry. At 1 week old I started a combination of nursing and formula. When he had a bottle he took about 2-3 ounces every 2 hours or so, so he was probably getting more than the 18 ounces in 24 hours. He is fine weight-wise. When I mentioned to the doctor how much he was eating, she just said to go by what he eats. If he wants more than the 2 ounces, make more! Just keep an eye on his weight. If he seems to be healthy and not gaining too much weight too fast, I'm sure it's fine. Some kids just eat more than others and it doesn't mean they will be overweight. Another thought, what about trying to mix just a tiny bit of cereal into his bottle? Is your child too young for that?

Did you know that newborn babies do not over eat. It is a habbit we learn (the new age is about 18 months) when we learn to eat for taste, not calories as the taste buds mature. Feed your baby. If at a feeding, he is needing more give it to him. Now you do not want to create a grazer, so if you feed him to contentment and one hour later he is needing to suck, then go ahead and give him a bink. If it has been 3 hours or more then offer the bottle. What the nurse was actually aiming for is the min. amt. of calories/day not the max. Congratulations on your new addition.

I would increase your bottle size to 4 oz. Typically a baby will not take more than they need. My oldest child was downing 6 oz at a time by the time she was one month (I have four). Every child can be different.

Good Luck.

My son was probably taking in about 24 oz. in 24 hours at tha age as well. While it can be helpful to listen to the guidelines that are given to you from a nurse you also need to remember to listen to the signs and signals that your baby is giving you. If he seems to want more after a feeding, go ahead and give him more! he's still hungry! Babies are much more primitive than adults are and will eat until they are full, they will not eat if they are not hungry either. Let your baby try eating more during his feedings, if he seems to be throwing it right back up you know he has taken in too much and you can reduce it by a small amount at the next feeding. As much as you don't want to over feed him, you certainly don't want him going hungry either! As I said, my son was taking in the same amount that your baby wants at that age and he is now a normal sized two year old boy. Don't worry about statistics, just pay attention to what your baby is telling you he needs.

I don't think you can over feed a newborn they have the ability to know when they're hungry or not. I would make a 4oz. bottle and see if that helps.

I had the same problem. My boy was 9# and 12 ounces at birth, so he WAS hungry all the time! Also though; I realized he was wanting to suck for comfort. Try giving him a pacifier to soothe him.Just feed him... he will stop when he is full!! But you want to avoid a grazer as well. It is tricky but it has only been a week. You WILL figure him out soon!
Also get the video "happiest baby on the block" or rent it at your local library!

Hi H.,

I agree with another poster that said that she felt the length between feedings was too long. My fourth baby was a big boy and from the start (2 hours after he was born) he would nurse for 20 minutes and then take 4 oz of formula. I couldn't keep up with his nutritional needs. I breastfed him until he was 8 months but I ALWAYS had to supplement his feeding with formula. He never took less than 4 oz. and by the time he was 6 months old, was taking 4 8oz. bottles and nursing. Some kids seem to burn the calories quicker than others. Today, at 11 years old, he is still a big eater and a very normal sized child. Not too skinny, certainly not fat.

Feed your baby until he is satisfied and if that means that he has to take in 4 oz bottles every 2 - 2.5 hours that is perfectly fine.


Whether breastfeeding or formula-feeding an infant, I have always thought it was best to provide it to the infant as the infant demands. They do not have the overeating instinct that so many adults experience...the infant is the best to judge how much he gets to eat. I say give him as much as he requests. This is what I did with my children. I never bothered with "scheduling" feedings because infants change so much their first year.

Every baby is different. Some eat more than others. So, if your baby still seems hungry after 3 oz, then give him one more ounce. If he does that after every feeding, then make 4 oz bottles all the time instead of 3. I woudn't worry about what the doctor says he should be getting. Im pretty sure they mean he should be drinking an AVERAGE of 18 oz...some drink less, some drink more.

All babies slowly drink more as they get older and some just start sooner than later..so go by what your baby wants. Its not gonna hurt him and he isn't going to be overfed if thats what he wants. To me, overfeeding means trying to get your baby to "finish the bottle" when he doesn't seem to want it anymore.

People don't limit how much a baby eats if their being breastfeed so why do so when their being bottle fed?

Why are you doing a perent led schedule?

My feeling is you should be more concerned about under-feeding him than over feeding him. The 18oz guideline is acctually a minimum, most babies will take more. Babies know when they are hungry and when they are full. Most newborns will eat every 1-2 hours. Making him wait 3-4 seems like a long time. Feeding you baby on demand is one way your baby learns to communicate and lets him know that he can depend on you. What does your home nurse say about whats happening?

my daughter is a week and 1/2 old. i feed her every 2-3 hours and she gets 2-3 ounces. the dr told me that she is just going through a growth spurt. i would talk to his doctor.

I was able to nurse my girls however, I do know that babies that young should eat no longer than every 3 hours (except at night but, NEVER more than 5 hours at night until at least 5 weeks old!)
A book that really helped me with feeding and sleeping was On Becoming Babywise by Gary Ezzo. Its full of great information on how much milk and sleep newborns need. I highly recommend it!! Me and all of my friends have used it with our kids and ALL of them were sleeping through the night by 8 weeks!! WOOHOO!!!

We were completely thrown when my 7 lb. 10 oz son was born. He was HUNGRY and always ate more than the "normal" guidelines. Those are guidelines, not anything set in stone. A normal healthy baby will not over eat. The best thing to do is let him eat as much as he will take. That will probably vary from feeding to feeding. Our son started off eating every 2 hours, 2-4 oz. As he increased to 4-6, he ate more like every 2-4 hours. And this was all in the first month! He did become a very healthy, plump guy quickly. The doctor LOVED it. Now he is 3, still a big child but not at all overweight.

Go ahead, feed the little guy more and you'll be amazed how happy he gets:)

Congrats! My 2nd daughter was just born on the 17th and also weighed 7 pounds 4 ounces! The hospital also told us 2- 3 ounces of formula every 2 to 4 hours. We have been blessed with a fairly consistent baby (so far!) and she is eating about every 4 hours (sometimes 3 and a half, sometimes closer to 4 and a half--I refuse to wake a sleeping baby!!) We started with 2 ounces and quickly bumped to 3 ounces--sometimes she takes it all, sometimes not (frustrating, since you aren't supposed to save the formula!) We too are going through the rooting. We tried adding another ounce and then she promptly spits it up, so our thought is that it is too much for now. Are you opposed to a pacifier? I was initially, but I have found that this really seems to satisfy our daughter 90% of the time if she has had her 3 ounces, and if not, we wait about an hour before giving her an extra ounce. I think it also depends on how quickly your son is growing! Try adding an extra ounce, but make sure to continue burping him frequently--if he is gaggy or spitting up more than usual or quicker than usual after that extra ounce, it is probably too much and may just need to satisfy that infant instinct to suck. Hope that helps!! And congrats again!

Hi H.
a normal healthy baby is not going to over eat. if he is still hungry after 3oz give him another oz or 2 and see if he is more satisfied. If you breast feed you would not limit his intake so just follow his ques and feed him what he wants. Good luck T.

I Was always told by my pediatrician that you need to feed your baby whenever he is hungry. Do not limit his intake of formula or breast milk. They know when they are hungry and how much it will take to fill them. Their stomachs can only hold so much so don't worry about overfeeding at this age.

I breastfed and bottlefed my daughter pretty much from the very beginning. She also seemed like she was hungry every couple hours. The first week, I mostly breastfed, so I can't tell you how much in ounces she was getting, but she nursed pretty much around the clock. By the time I went back to work and put her in daycare, she was all bottlefed, and she ate every two hours- between 2 and 4 oz.
We gave her a pacifier if she still seemed like she wanted to suck. I have read that babies that are so brand new don't necessarily need to eat, but want the comfort of sucking. In the very beginning, I did that with the breast...but since you're not breastfeeding, you could do that easily with a pacifier. If you're worried about giving a pacifier, you could always try helping her find a finger or two to suck on. My sister did that for a while with her daughter at that age.

Feed your baby when he's hungry and his schedule and how much he wants to eat. How would you feel if you were hungry and told you couldn't have any more or couldn't eat when you were hungry. The amount they tell you is a base line. Sometimes you will go ove and sometimes you will go under it. Read your childs signs for hunger. He will let you know when he is hungry or when he is full.

After watching closely how my daughter nursed, there are times when she actually eats and times when she just sucks to pacify. You could try giving him a pacifier to suck on after his bottle is gone to help him satisfy that need to suck. Keeping an eye on his output is a good way to monitor if he's getting enough, and watching his weight will also tell you if he's gaining too fast or not fast enough and you can adjust the amounts you're feeding him accordingly.

I would try giving him a pacifier after feedings. It may be that he just needs to suck on something some more and not that he's hungry. If that doesn't help, then try giving him some more formula. The 18oz/day is just a guideline that somebody made up and each baby is different.

Congratulations on your little man!

When my last 2 kids were born we wrote down when they ate and were changed, it was very helpful. We did this for the first month. My daughter is now 11 months, but I happened to still have the stuff we wrote down.

She was eating 3oz about every 4 hours. Sometimes it was 3.5 hours and sometimes 4.5 hours, depending on when she was sleeping. We never woke her up to eat.

I have read that you would feed him 2 1/2 X's his weight. So if he is 7lbs, than he would be eating 17.5oz a day (7X2=14 + 3.5 = 17.5). This however wasn't true for my above average baby that weighed 10lbz 4oz at birth - she had reserves as the doctor said). There was no way she would be eating 25oz a day.

Feed him when he is hungry, only he knows what he wants.

let the kid eat if shes hungry-i went thru the same-not all babies are the same-just like we arent-forget what the nurse said-feed the kid....

Hi H.,

Congratulations! There's nothing wrong with giving him some additional formula if he's still hungry. Mine ate approximately every 4 hours, so I would say you are doing great as far as that is concerned. Give it a try, and see if he is more content...just make sure you burp him often, so his tummy doesn't get upset. Don't worry if he doesn't stay right on the four hour schedule the first few weeks, but he should adjust to it soon.


Good morning, H.! This question really brought back memories of bottle-feeding my twins. They were my first bottle-fed babies, and it was a learning experience for me. My girls were 6 weeks early and when I brought them home, they were only 5# 7 ozs. and 4# 14 ozs. I tried breastfeeding them but I wasn't getting enough to eat and drink and very little sleep so I didn't make enough milk. I was extremely disappointed but I know that formula is almost as good as breastmilk these days so it wasn't a hard decision to switch to the bottle. I fed them 3 ounces every 3 hours. That made 24 ounces in a 2 hour period and they thrived on that. They will be a year old next month and they are both over 21 pounds now. Try that and keep me posted, please! Sounds like your little guy might be still hungry on that schedule, because my little girls went right to sleep after their feeding. Take care!

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