All babies are not created equal, therefore, individual nutrition needs vary from child to child. For this reason, it’s a good idea to follow an example of ounces of formula per pound of body weight.
An average baby should consume two or three ounces of formula per day for every pound of his or her body weight, up to a maximum of 32 ounces. So a newborn who weighs 7lbs will require between 14-21 ounces per day, while a four-month-old who weighs 14lbs will require between 28-32 ounces.
Flexibility is key; after all, we stop eating when we’re full, and we continue eating if we’re not yet satisfied. Babies’ appetites increase and decrease according to their activity level, the time of day and how well they are, and even the climate can be a contributing factor. Unless your baby is consuming way too much or way too little, keep in mind the natural fluctuations in appetite and remember that they are normal. If your baby regularly fails to finish a feed that’s appropriate for his age and weight, you should see your pediatrician for advice. Incremental weight gain is important and if he is falling behind in this area, things should be investigated.
Avoid offering juice to babies. Not only is the sugar content quite high but there is no real nutritive need for juice in a formula-fed baby. His thirst mechanism can be tricked into thinking he’s satisfied, simply because he has taken in fluids, but in fact, his body will be missing out on all the wonderful elements found in formula. Similarly, with water, the priority is formula, and water should be given between feeds in small amounts, so as not to bloat the tummy with fluids that contain no nutrient value. In hot weather, of course, when dehydration can be a risk and when your baby is perspiring, a little extra water is in order.
Things can sometimes seem complicated when you start to introduce solids because you can begin to wonder if your baby is drinking enough formula, while eating foods as well. As a general rule, a baby can attain all its nutrients from formula for the first year of his life. At a very early age, such as around four to six months, a good idea is to begin a feed with a bottle, and once your child has finished that, then you can offer food from a spoon. As he grows older, and starts to take three meals of solids in a day, you’ll find he will be less interested in his formula. Try to offer the bottle first, then supplement the solid feed with the bottle. You might even find that he will take a bottle first thing in the morning or last thing at night, without the need for food as well.