How Frequently Does My Baby Need Milk?
Feeding your baby may sound like a straightforward process, but it can actually be a bit
challenging to navigate – especially in the beginning. As with many aspects of raising a child,
once you feel you’ve gotten into a routine with feeding, your child will move into a new age
group and their feeding needs will change. Below, we’ve broken down an age-based feeding
schedule to help you navigate the first year of feeding your baby.
Newborn to 3 Months
During the newborn stage, your child should breastfeed every 2 to 3 hours or drink formula
every 3 to 4 hours. Ultimately, you should always follow your baby’s hunger cues to determine
when to feed them (AKA don’t make them drink milk if they don’t seem hungry and don’t refrain
from feeding them if they’ve just recently been fed). Formula-fed babies should get about 2 to 3
ounces of formula per feeding.
4 to 6 Months
Once your baby surpasses the newborn stage, they will start to hold their head up and sit
unassisted. Around this time, or at 6 months of age, you can start introducing solid food to your
baby. Many different approaches can be taken to introduce solid food to a baby, so ultimately it
is whatever works best for your family. Some common food introduction strategies include:
● Starting with pureed fruits and vegetables. Making your own can be a healthier and more
cost-effective approach as opposed to purchasing packaged baby food.
● Baby-led weaning is a newer approach that involves following your baby’s lead and
allowing your baby to self-feed.
When babies are in the 4 to 6 month age range, they should breastfeed on demand, and have
about 6 to 8 feedings per day. Formula-fed babies should have 4 to 5 feedings per day and
bottles should contain 5 to 7 ounces of formula. Slowly introduce solid foods using the method
that works best for your baby.
6 to 12 months
At this age, your child is still getting the majority of their nutrition from breastmilk or formula even
though they are likely eating a decent amount of solid food at this point as well. Breastfed
babies should have about 4 to 6 feedings per day and formula-fed babies should be fed about 4
to 5 times per day. Bottles should contain roughly 6 to 8 ounces of formula. Continue to
introduce new foods as your child slowly transitions into more of a solid food diet. Some
nutritious baby foods that you can try introducing include:
● Avocado slices
● Scrambled eggs
● Cooked apple
● Steamed squash cut into small pieces
Always be cautious of choking hazards when introducing foods to your baby. Only introduce one
new food at a time and watch closely for any type of reaction. Allow 3 to 5 days in between each
Toddlerhood (12 months +)
Once your baby surpasses their first birthday, they can have milk less frequently. Many mothers
continue breastfeeding beyond 12 months but you can also introduce cow’s milk at this point if
you’d like to. Toddlers at this stage should have about 16 to 24 ounces of milk or other dairy
products per day, in addition to a nutritious diet of whole foods.
What about toddler formula?
Some parents choose to use toddler formula instead of using cow’s milk for their older babies.
Toddler formula offers many of the same benefits as cow’s milk but with additional nutrients and
vitamins. If you choose to use a toddler formula for your child, make sure to find an organic
toddler formula that is free from synthetic ingredients, GMOs, and other unnecessary additives.
Getting acquainted with a feeding schedule for your baby will take some trial and error.
Remember that all feeding recommendations are simply recommendations and you will likely
know what is best for your baby. Pay attention to their hunger cues and offer small amounts of
milk at a time. If your baby seems unsatisfied after a feeding, then you may need to offer some
more milk. Remember to use a proper feeding technique with breastfeeding and formula feeding
and make sure to burp your baby after each feeding.