By the time she is a few days old, a formula feeding baby will be taking in about two to three ounces every three to four hours. As she grows, she will eat more volume less often — up to as much as 32 ounces per day at six months. Since the amount may vary day-to-day, the best way to ensure your child is feeding and growing appropriately is to weigh her regularly.
Types of Formula
Despite the seemingly endless options on thegrocery store shelves, the vast majority of babies thrive with a standard cow’s-milk-based infant formula fortified with iron. For babies diagnosed with cow’s-milk protein allergies, the usual recommendation is to switch to a hydrolyzed or “predigested” formula. Many babies with milk allergies are also allergic to soy, so soy formula is generally recommended only for certain medical conditions or for babies on a vegan diet. Talk to your baby’s healthcare provider before making any formula switches.
Formulas come as powder, liquid concentrate and ready-to-feed liquid. Make sure you follow the package instructions carefully — as too much, too little, very hot or improperly stored formula can be dangerous for your baby.
Ensuring Your Baby’s Comfort
Feed your baby when she is calm and not distracted. Hold her in a somewhat upright position, and angle the bottle so that formula fills the nipple as she is eating — this will prevent excess air from entering her stomach. Frequent burping (at least twice during each feeding) also helps. If your baby is gagging while feeding it may be a sign that the formula is flowing too quickly, and adjustments should be made.
Remember: Feeding time is always a great way to bond with your baby!
Pediatrician Elizabeth Shashaty, MD, is on staff at Children’s National Medical Center and Medstar Georgetown University Hospital, both in Washington, DC. She is also the mother of three young children.