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The Facts on Baby Formula, Part 2

Even after you decide on a formula, there are plenty of things to consider. How do you know how much to feed your baby? How often do you feed him? How can you tell if he isn't eating enough? The good news is, most of this stuff comes pretty natural, but it never hurts to arm yourself with a little extra knowledge!

The Facts on Baby Formula, Part 2 How much to feed your baby:

Babies grow at different rates, and at times you may wonder whether your baby is getting enough nutrients to develop properly. While all babies are different, here's a general look at how much your baby may be eating at different stages.

  • On average, a newborn consumes about 1.5 to3 ounces every 2-3 hours. This amount increases as your baby grows and is able to take more at each feeding.
  • At about 2 months, your baby may be taking 4-5 ounces at each feeding, and the feedings may be every 3-4 hours.
  • At 4 months, your baby may be taking 4-6 ounces, depending on the frequency of feedings and his or her size.
  • By 6 months, your baby's formula intake can be between 24-32 ounces. This also depends on whether you've introduced any baby food.
When to feed your baby:

Babies don't follow the same feeding schedules as grownups--something every tired parent knows all too well! We suggest you feed your baby when he or she is hungry, and stop feeding when your baby is no longer interested in the bottle. Signs that your baby is hungry:

  • Moving her head from side to side
  • Opening her mouth
  • Sticking out her tongue
  • Placing her hands, fingers, and fists to her mouth
  • Puckering her lips as if to suck
  • Nuzzling against her mother's chest
  • Showing the rooting reflex (when a baby moves hers mouth in the direction of something that's stroking or touching her cheek)
How often should I make bottles?

Some parents opt to make a bottle just before each feeding, but many others choose to pre-make and refrigerate enough to use for the day. If you know your baby eats every 3 to 4 hours, for instance, you can make six to eight bottles to last you all day.

Mix your baby's formula in 2- or 3-ounce servings for the first few weeks and gradually increase the amount as you become familiar with your baby's eating patterns and appetite. Remember to refrigerate it immediately after mixing.

If your baby is staying with a caregiver for a long period of time, you may want to prepare just one or two bottles and leave instructions and supplies (bottles, nipples, formula, and water, if necessary) so the caregiver can prepare bottles as needed and not waste any formula. After all, you'll need to throw away any mixed formula after 24 hours.

Pay attention to dirty diapers!

Your newborn's diapers are another good indicator of whether your baby is getting plenty to eat.

You'll probably be changing at least six wet and four "poopy" diapers each day at first. Newborns' stools are thick and tarry in the beginning and then become more yellow or green as they get older. Formula-fed babies often have firmer, less seedy stools than breastfed babies. Wet diapers should have clear or very pale urine. If you see orange crystals in a wet diaper, contact your baby's doctor--these can be a sign of inadequate fluid intake or dehydration.