Formula Feeding FAQs: How Much Should a 4 Month Old Eat?

How Much Should a 4 Month Old Eat
How Much Should a 4 Month Old Eat

When it comes to children between the three and five-month-old gap, it can be difficult to estimate their eating habits. With so many resources and tips on the internet, it can be hard to sort through them all to find the best, most reliable information.

Why Formula Feed?

Women can choose to formula feed for a wide variety of reasons. Some make the choice for personal reasons, others experience pain and discomfort when breastfeeding and seek alternative options, and some babies simply do not respond well to milk from their mother’s breast.

There are many myths surrounding formula feeding versus breastmilk, many of which have no scientific basis. Although many doctors recommend feeding from the breast, formula feeding is by no means bad for your child.

Through this article, we hope to shine some light on some frequently asked questions by formula feeders. More specifically, we will delve into the four months age group and let you know exactly how and when your child should be fed.

First: When Should You Feed Your 4 Month Old Baby?

Most professional resources seem to recommend that demand feeding is the best way to approach feeding your newborn.

What Is Demand Feeding?

Simply put, “demand feeding” is the belief that babies should be fed whenever they are hungry, as opposed to in accordance with some set routine.

It is normal for formula-fed babies to become hungry every two or three hours, but as they grow this limit may increase.

Signs and Symptoms of Babies’ Hunger: When Should I Feed My Child?

If a baby is getting hungry, you may observe the following signs in their behavior:

  1. Putting their hands in or close to their mouths
  2. Making sucking motions with their lips
  3. Moving their head from one side to the other
  4. Crying
  5. Keeping their mouths open, especially when an object comes close to their face
  6. Cuddling against their mother’s chest

On Average, How Much Do Babies Drink?

Of course, so much of your feeding routine is contingent on your baby’s natural growth and appetite. That being said, there are some rough guidelines that you can follow while tracking your newborn’s eating habits.


Average drinking amount per feeding (ounces): between 2 and 3, every two or three hours

2 Month Olds

Average drinking amount per feeding (ounces): between 3 and 5, every two and a half to three and a half hours.

4 Month Olds

Average drinking amount per feeding (ounces): between 4 and 6

*Note that, because the four-month-old age group is difficult to track, pinning down an average time between feedings is difficult. This is where demand feeding comes into play. Four-month-old children should eat when they’re hungry.

What if My Baby Is Eating More Than the Norm? What if They Are Hungrier Than Usual?

Remember that, as babies put on weight, they naturally get hungrier and their bodies crave more nutrients. This also means that there will be longer wait times between feedings. Don’t panic – this is completely natural.

This might also mean that your child is going through a growth spurt, which can happen anytime between the ages of one week and six months.

Changes in your baby’s eating patterns are, most of the time, completely normal.

How Do I Tell if My Baby Is Getting Fed Enough or Absorbing the Right Nutrients?

The best thing you can do here if you suspect that your child is not developing properly or eating enough food is check-in with your doctor. All children need to be going in for regular check-ups to ensure their healthy development.

While you’re waiting on that doctor’s appointment, there’s always another way to check out what’s going on with your little one. And that’s, you guessed it, by examining their stools.

As you’ll notice, newborns have very thick poop at the start of their life. As they get older, the stools become greener. Babies fed via formula will generally have seedier stools than babies fed via breastmilk.

Signs of malnutrition or dehydration in newborns include:

  • Being consistently underweight
  • Having orange crystals in their stools (*if you see this, notify a doctor!)
  • Still wanting more food after finishing a feeding
  • Consistent crying after eating and/or other expressions of dissatisfaction

If at any time you’re concerned about your newborn’s health, don’t hesitate to contact a professional.

Can I Microwave My Baby’s Formula?

No. Microwaves can badly damage baby bottles, so you’ll want to consider alternate solutions. Running your bottle under hot water for a few minutes is one. Sticking the bottle in a hot pan is another – so long as the pan isn’t directly hovering over a burner or any other heat source.

There are also many “bottle-warming” products out there, some of which plugs right into the wall (and even your car!) to produce the ideal bottle temperature.

How Long in Advance Should I Make Up the Bottles?

This is completely up to the parents’ personal choice. Some prefer to prepare a bottle immediately before each feeding, but others like to pre-prepare eight bottles all at once to store in the fridge until it’s time to re-heat.

Can I Re-Use Leftover Formula?

No. All mixed formula that isn’t used up within 24 hours must be thrown out.

What’s the Best Way to Sterilize Baby Bottles?

Before you use a baby bottle for the first time, you’ll want to place it in a pan with a rolling boil for between 3-5 minutes. Sterilizers can also be purchased in various stores with newborn products or online, but boiling the water yourself is just as efficient.

After you sterilize the bottle for the first time, it’s not necessary to do it again. That being said, make sure to keep your baby bottles clean by either hand-washing them (with soap!) or tossing them in the dishwasher.

Can I Keep My Formula Bottles at Room Temperature?

Yes, but not for over an hour. Prepared formula should be thrown away if it’s left out in room temperatures for one hour or more.