When your baby is first born, it’s important to make sure they feed often enough. Newborns grow quickly and regularly and need proper nourishment in order to thrive. So, if you’re not breastfeeding, how many ounces of formula does a newborn drink and how often should they feed?
How Many Ounces of Formula Does a Newborn Drink?
A newborn baby generally will drink from 1 - 3 ounces of formula at once, depending on their size. Smaller babies may drink less at once, due to their tiny stomachs, but will increase amounts as they grow to accommodate. Most should drink from 2-3 ounces at a time. However, ask your pediatrician for your baby’s specific needs, as they may vary.
A newborn baby should feed every 2 - 3 hours, but might go up to 4 hours without feeding on occasion. If your newborn sleeps past 4 hours or doesn’t demand to be fed at that point, you will need to feed him or her anyway. Newborns should never go longer than 4 hours without eating. If your baby asks to be fed more often, that’s fine. Some babies feed on demand. A newborn won’t feed if they’re not hungry. Therefore, you can’t overfeed a newborn.
How Long Can Formula Sit Out?
Follow the instructions on your exact infant formula package, as they can vary. Most formula can remain unrefrigerated for up to two hours if the baby hasn’t drank from the bottle. If the baby has drank from the bottle, instead it will last only an hour, due to bacteria concerns.
Formula Feeding Safety Tips
- Make sure to burp your baby after feeding each half to full ounce
- Use bottles and nipples designed to help prevent gas bubbles
- Never feed baby formula that has been left out for too long
- Refrigerate unfed formula only (once fed, it is no longer good to refrigerate)
- Never heat formula in the microwave
- Never prop a newborn’s bottle for feeding
- Use only the scoop that came with the formula to measure
- The directions on your formula package should be trusted before the advice here
- Disinfect all bottles properly
How to Get Free Baby Formula
If you’re a low-income family, many food banks will provide infant formula for free, as will other charitable organizations. You can also sign up for discounts and free samples on infant formula websites, such as Enfamil.com. Women, Infants, and Children (WIC) also provides free formula to those who qualify.
*This is not meant to be a complete guide on formula feeding a baby. It also should not substitute the advice of a licensed medical professional. Your child's pediatrician is always the best source for health matters.