Baby Formula Feeding: How Much Formula to Give Your Baby

Baby Formula Feeding: How Much Formula to Give Your Baby

Deciding on the best feeding approach for your baby is an important aspect of parenthood. Breast milk is the best feeding choice for infants. For infants who are not exclusively breast fed, parents may opt for infant formula feeding as an alternative way to nourish their little ones. So, if you're considering or have already chosen formula feeding, you might be wondering about the right amount of formula to give your baby. 

In this article, we'll explore the ins and outs of formula feeding, how to prepare and use formula safely, and how much formula is appropriate for different stages of your baby's growth journey.

How to Use Formula Safely

Using formula safely is crucial to ensure your baby's well-being. Here's how to do it:

Discuss with Your Paediatrician 

Before incorporating formula into your baby's feeding routine, it's important to have a conversation with your paediatrician. They can provide personalized guidance based on your baby's specific needs and ensure that formula feeding is a suitable option.

Choose the Right Formula

With various formula options available, it's essential to select a formula that matches your baby's age, needs, and any specific dietary requirements. 

There are formulas designed for different stages of infancy, such as infant formula for 0-12 months, toddler formula for 12-36 months. 

Follow Mixing Instructions

Properly mixing formula is crucial to ensure your baby receives the right balance of nutrients. 

Carefully read and follow the mixing instructions provided on the formula packaging. Incorrect ratios can lead to undernourishment or overfeeding.

Sterilize Equipment

Before preparing infant formula, make sure all bottles, nipples, and utensils are properly sterilized. This helps prevent the growth of harmful bacteria that can cause infections. 

Sterilization can be done through boiling, using a sterilizer, or following the manufacturer's guidelines.

Wash Hands Thoroughly

Always wash your hands thoroughly with soap and water before handling formula, bottles, or your baby's feeding equipment. Clean hands reduce the risk of introducing contaminants to the formula.

Prepare Fresh Formula

Prepare formula just before feeding time to ensure its freshness and reduce the risk of bacterial growth. If formula is left unused after a feeding, discard it within an hour to prevent bacterial growth. Feed your baby as soon as the formula is prepared. 

Check Formula Temperature

Test the formula's temperature by applying a few drops to the inside of your wrist. This is a sensitive area of the skin that will register the heat of the formula similarly to your baby’s mouth.

It should feel lukewarm, not too hot, or cold. Babies' mouths and throats are sensitive, so avoid feeding them formula that is too hot.

Discard Unused Formula

If your baby doesn't finish a bottle within an hour of starting to feed, discard the remaining formula. 

Bacteria from the baby's mouth can contaminate the formula, making it unsafe for future use.

Store Formula Safely

If you need to store prepared formula, refrigerate it only if the baby hasn't eaten it yet  and use it within 24 hours. Follow recommended guidelines for formula storage to maintain its quality and safety.

Transition Gradually

If you're transitioning from breast milk to formula or introducing formula alongside breastfeeding, do so gradually. Abrupt changes can affect your baby's digestion and overall feeding experience.

Regular Paediatric Check-ups

Continue to schedule regular paediatric check-ups to monitor your baby's growth and development. 

Your paediatrician can offer guidance and adjustments to your baby's feeding routine as needed.

How Much Formula to Give Your Baby

Determining the right amount of formula to give your baby is essential for their healthy growth and development. The appropriate quantity varies based on factors such as your baby's age, weight, activity level, and overall health. 

Keep in mind that each baby is unique, so there isn't a one-size-fits-all answer. Your doctor will provide personalized guidance, but here's a general overview to help you understand how much formula to give your baby at different stages:

New-borns (0-2 Months)

During the first few weeks of life, your new-born’s stomach is tiny and can only hold a small amount of milk. New-borns typically feed around 8 to 12 times a day, with each feeding ranging from 30 to 90 millilitres of formula per session. As your baby grows, their stomach capacity increases, and they'll gradually consume larger amounts per feeding.

Infants (2-6 Months)

Between the ages of 2 and 6 months, babies continue to increase their formula intake. Most babies in this age range consume about 120 to 180 millilitres of formula per feeding, with feedings occurring every 3 to 4 hours. However, individual preferences and hunger cues can vary, so pay attention to your baby's signals and adapt accordingly.

Babies (6-12 Months)

As your baby reaches the 6-month mark and begins to explore solid foods, their formula will no longer be their sole source of nutrition but will continue to be major while gradually decreasing in amounts. Babies in this age group typically consume 120 to 240 millilitres of formula per feeding, usually around 4 to 6 times a day. Solid foods should gradually become a larger part of their diet while formula continues to provide necessary nutrients.

Toddlers (12+ Months)

After your baby's first birthday, formula volumes are typically around 240 milliliters per feeding, depending on your toddler's preferences and dietary habits. At this age toddler can trasition to whole cow's milk or other dairy equivalents, for those who are on a plant-based diet, it is important to continue feeding with nutrient-dense toddler drinks instead of plant 'milks' like oats and almonds which are deficient in nutrients like protein and important vitamins and minerals.

Adapting to Individual Needs

It's important to note that the amounts mentioned above are approximate guidelines. 

Babies are skilled at communicating their needs, so pay attention to hunger cues and cues indicating fullness. 

If your baby constantly wants more or less formula than recommended, consult your doctor for guidance. They'll monitor your baby's growth and overall health to ensure they're getting the appropriate nutrition.

Balancing Formula with Other Nutrition Sources

As your baby grows and starts incorporating solid foods, the balance between formula and other nutrition sources changes. Here's some tips to help you incorporate both formula and other nutrition.


If you're supplementing breastfeeding with formula, the amount of formula will depend on factors like your baby's feeding frequency and how much breast milk they're receiving. Working with a lactation consultant can help you find the right balance.

Introduction of Solids

When introducing solid foods, formula will continue to be an important source of nutrition. Babies from 6-12 months are just learning how to eat, so that food shouldn’t be relied on for nutrition. Especially not at first. 

Gradually increase the variety and quantity of solids while still offering formula to ensure a balanced diet.

Regular Meals and Snacks

As your baby becomes a toddler, formula intake might further decrease as they enjoy regular meals and snacks. Formula can still play a role in providing essential nutrients.

Do Not Feed Children These “Alternatives”

When it comes to your baby's nutrition, it's crucial to make informed choices that align with their developmental needs. While it's natural for parents to explore various feeding options, certain alternatives should be avoided for infants. Here are some so-called "alternatives" that are not suitable for your baby's diet:

Regular Cow's Milk

Cow's milk is not recommended as a primary source of nutrition for babies under 12 months old. It lacks essential nutrients that babies need for proper growth and development, such as iron and vitamin E. Introducing cow's milk too early can also increase the risk of allergies and digestive issues. 

Nut, Soy, Rice, or Oat Milks

Plant-based milk alternatives like nut, soy, rice, or oat milk do not provide the necessary nutrients that babies need for growth and development. These alternatives are often lower in protein and essential vitamins compared to breast milk, formula, or cow's milk and should not be used in any case below 12 months, preferably also beyond the first year it is recommended to continue with a toddler formula.

Evaporated, Powdered, or Sweetened Condensed Milk

Evaporated or powdered milk may not provide the necessary nutrients in the right proportions for your baby's growth and development. These forms of milk lack important vitamins and minerals that are crucial for infants. Meanwhile, sweetened condensed milk is high in sugar and lacks the essential nutrients that babies need for healthy growth.


Choosing the right feeding method for your baby is a personal decision, and formula feeding can provide a viable option for various situations. However, properly preparing and using formula is essential to ensure your baby's safety and well-being. 

The amount of formula your baby needs will change as they grow, and it's important to consult with your paediatrician for guidance tailored to your baby's unique needs. 

Remember, each baby is an individual, and their feeding patterns will reflect that individuality. But, by offering the right amount of formula at each stage of their development, you're providing them with the nourishment they need for a healthy start in life.


How do I know if my baby is getting the right amount of formula?

Babies are great communicators! Watch for cues that your baby is content after feeding, has a steady weight gain, and is producing an appropriate number of wet diapers. Consulting your paediatrician is always a good idea to ensure your baby's nutritional needs are met.

Can I overfeed my baby with formula?

Yes, overfeeding is possible. Babies have a natural ability to self-regulate their intake. Feeding them beyond their cues can lead to discomfort and excessive weight gain. Pay attention to your baby's signals of fullness and resist the urge to encourage them to finish every bottle.

Should I wake my baby for night feedings?

In the early months, it's common for new-borns to wake for night feedings. However, as babies grow and establish sleep patterns, waking them for feedings may not be necessary. If your baby's weight gain and health are on track, allow them to sleep, and they will wake when hungry.

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