How often do you increase baby formula?

Babies are adorable! With their tiny hands, soft cheeks and innocent smile, they can make anyone go ‘aww’. But taking care of a newborn is no easy task. From feeding to sleep schedules, everything needs to be taken special care of when it comes to little munchkins. One crucial aspect of infant care is understanding how much and how often should you feed them with breast milk or formula. While there’s no one-size-fits-all rule for this (sorry moms/dads), the following guide aims to help parents understand how to adjust their baby’s formula intake as per their growing needs.

Understanding Baby Formula Growth

A baby’s digestive system goes through rapid changes in the first year of life; hence they require different quantities of food at every stage. Infant formula manufacturers produce different types/formulas of baby food depending on these stages that cater specifically to these nutritional requirements.

Products available based on age categories

  • Stage 1: Birth – 6 months
  • Stage 2-6: 6+ months

Most babies stay on stage one formulas from birth until four to six months old unless instructed otherwise by your pediatrician.

Nutritional content found in typical infant formulas

The average serving size for infant formula varies from around two ounces/stage—depending on age—to roughly eight ounces later in infancy (check out your toddler-sized bottle!). Here are some common elements contained within most standard liquid and powder formulations:

Carbohydrates Protein Fat
Powder Lactose / Corn Syrup Solids Whey/casein blend Vegetable oil blend
Liquid Maltodextrin / Corn syrup solids Milk protein isolate

Factors to consider when increasing baby formula

Appetite Increase

Babies, like plants, grow too quickly (I mean have you seen those onesies that fit for 0-3 months? They stretch barely up till two weeks).When babies start on milk, there’s no turning back from the constant absorption and hunger they create. While some babies might display an insatiable appetite, others take tiny sips of food and rest comfortably much to our chagrin if we’re trying to increase their weight! Here are some things to look out for in your baby’s behavior:

  • Are they still hungry after a meal?
  • Do you find them wanting more frequent or larger feedings than usual?
  • Have they been absorbing extra milk without any adverse reactions?

If yes is the answer, It may then be time to up their intake just ever so slightly.

Growth Rate & Progress Report

Pediatricians weigh infants at every visit during regular checkups. This keeps track of a child’s growth trajectory and makes it easier for observations regarding changes in food requirements by stage progression or illness/disease.

They keep notes about a baby’s height and calculate body mass index percentiles which can provide an indication because once the little one approaches 99th percentile action needs to be taken since everything is about balance including overweighting!

Don’t fret parents being in higher percentile initially isn’t necessarily bad news; but tread carefully.Regardless always trust your gut instinct: No amount of prescribed and calculated data replaces parental intuition.

After ruling out physical factors such as reflux (a condition where stomach acid regurgitates into the esophagus), allergies/ intolerance,it comes down to figuring whether its plain old hunger that needs appeasing.Always remember though while incrementally adding extra supplements,your pediatrician should always be informed before adjusting anything yourself.

Activity Level Increase

All hail Physical activity! Movement causes calories burn, and when this happens regularly, babies consume more calories. As the name suggests, higher calorie intake leads to food requirements escalating.

Here are some signs that indicate increased activity/outdoor play:
– Starting to roll over
– Crawling(!)
– Walking (!!)
– Generally restless & very active


Just as adults need more fluids and bed rest during periods of illness ( have you ever had a cold where all you do is sleep and drink water?); infants too should be provided staple nourishment so they can heal properly from any ailments they may have.

While it isn’t recommended to increase Intake by large quantities for short-term illnesses such as coughs or colds, longer bouts require increased liquids like electrolyte solutions/additional formula.


One symptom of dehydration in babies is reduced urination – meaning fewer wet diapers per day than usual.Some other indications include lethargy/weakness,dry mouth/crying without tears among others.

Dehydration places pressure on their kidneys albeit immaturity struggle processing protein.Lack of adequate fluid intake slows metabolism leading to weight loss/fluctuation hence why constant monitoring becomes mandatory

How often should formula be increased?

Now here’s an essential question mums/dads! Should we gradually up our baby’s feeding requirement after every growth spurt regardless or not?

The quick answer: It depends! While there’s no ‘watch rule,’ certain factors determine whether adjustment needs doing:

  1. Appetite Increase
    2. Growth Rate & Progress Report
    3.Activity Level Increase
    4.Illness /Dehydration

Once these have been thought out well then you adjust accordingly.It makes sense since prolonging premature increases could bring catastrophe upon your little one while neglecting symptoms and continuing with the current feeding plan could cause stunted growth.

Usually pediatricians recommend increasing only one ounce at a time until what seems to be the “right” amount is acquired similar to what certain lifestyle gurus preach about sleep – baby steps every day in tune with their cycle.

General Guidelines

Here are some general guidelines utilized by most parents;

  • Increase baby formula when it appears that they no longer get full on the present amounts.
  • Once a baby starts sleeping through the night, morning bottles tend to be slightly larger since inadequate food intake can cause sleepless nights too.
  • During growth spurts (which take place anywhere from two weeks after birth all the way until eleven months), ask pediatricians for recommended power binge feeding durations.

While babies wean around their first birthday old formulas need replacing as well which brings us to our next point…

Old Formulas

They say out with the old and in with new! Same rules apply.Infant fomula remains usable for up to one month after opening so don’t let your kiddo’s taste/dislike of plain booties/socks deter you. Check expiration dates before purchasing supplements especially if buying in bulk quantities — like who needs over six cans?


There’s no universal rule of thumb per se when it comes to how much or how often infant-formula should be increased. Factors including Appetite increase,growth rate & progress report,next activity level increase,illness/dehydration come into play regarding adjusting strategies.Most importantly consult with pediatrician regardless of slight changes .Remember whether breastmilk versus formu-la o-rama ultimately a parent’s touch sounds off like music 🎶.