How Much Breastmilk or Formula: 4 to 6 Months Old
Your baby doesn’t need anything except breastmilk or infant formula for their first 6 months. Even after they begin eating solids at around 6 months old, breastmilk or formula will still provide the majority of your baby’s nutrition for the first year. We’ve got some guidelines on how much your baby should eat, but try not to stress about exact amounts! All babies are different and may eat different amounts from feeding to feeding.
Breastfeeding at 4, 5 and 6 months
At this age, most breastfed babies are nursing around 6 times a day. If you have a few days here and there where you feel like your baby is constantly nursing, they may be going through a growth spurt, teething or feeling a little under the weather. And yes, those middle-of-the-night nursing sessions are totally normal and expected at this age. Nursing at night can help keep your milk production going strong, helping your baby continue to grow and thrive.
How much breastmilk should my baby drink from a bottle?
Even if you exclusively breastfeed, you may have a need or want to pump and feed your baby from a bottle, either because you are back at work during the day or simply spending some time away from your baby. If you normally nurse your baby, it can be hard to know how much expressed milk to leave with your caregiver.
Your baby typically needs less breastmilk in their bottle than they would formula because breastmilk has more nutrients per ounce, and your baby is able to digest it more fully than they would formula. Babies between 4 and 6 months old generally take anywhere from 3 to 5 ounces of breastmilk from a bottle during a given feeding. Keep in mind that every baby is different, and it is normal for babies to eat less at one feeding and more at another. It is more than OK if your baby does not finish their bottle at a given feeding. Babies are born knowing how much they need.
How much formula should my baby drink from a bottle?
A formula-fed baby generally eats 4 to 6 ounces about every 4 to 5 hours. It’s important to never force a baby to finish their bottle. We know that formula costs a small fortune, but overfeeding is not good for your baby because it teaches them to ignore their body’s hunger and fullness signals.
If you’re worried about wasting formula, you may want to prepare a smaller bottle to start, and then prepare another ounce or 2 if your baby is showing signs they are still hungry.
How do I know my baby is getting enough?
To make sure your baby is getting the right amount of breastmilk or formula, pay attention to:
- Hunger and fullness cues.
- Wet and dirty diapers.
At this age your baby should be heavily wetting about 6 diapers a day with urine that is pale yellow to clear in color. The amount of dirty diapers may differ depending on whether your baby is breastfed or formula-fed. Typically, most babies have at least 1 soiled (or poopy) diaper per day. Contact your baby’s doctor if you are concerned they may not be getting enough to eat or do not have enough wet or soiled diapers.