Published September 5, 2023
How Much Should a 3 Month Old Eat? (Breastmilk & Formula)
Welcoming a new baby into your life is a joyous and transformative experience. As your little one reaches the 3-month milestone, you may be wondering about their feeding schedule. The first few months are a period of rapid growth and development, and establishing a consistent routine can help both you and your baby thrive. In this article, we'll explore the ideal feeding schedule for a 3-month-old baby, share an easy feeding chart, and address common questions.
How Much a 3 Month Old Should Eat: Breastmilk vs Formula
Nutrition is a cornerstone of your baby's well-being, and deciding between breastmilk and formula is an important choice. Both options provide essential nutrients and complete nutrition! Understanding the right quantity for your baby's age is key to ensuring optimal growth.
How much breastmilk should a 3-month-old eat?
Breast milk is tailored to meet your baby's specific needs and provides a wealth of benefits. By the 3-month mark, your baby's stomach has grown, allowing them to consume more milk per feeding. On average, a 3-month-old baby may consume about 24-32 ounces of breast milk daily, divided into approximately 6-8 feedings. It's important to feed your baby on demand, paying attention to hunger cues such as rooting or sucking on their fists.
How much formula should a 3-month-old eat?
For formula-fed babies, a typical guideline is to offer around 3-5 ounces of formula per feeding, with 6-8 feedings in a 24-hour period. This amounts to a total of 24-32 ounces daily. However, babies' appetites can vary, so it's crucial to pay attention to their cues and adjust the quantity as needed!
Easy Feeding Chart for 3-Month-Old
To provide a clear overview of your baby's feeding needs, we've created an easy-to-follow feeding chart that outlines the recommended feeding volume based on the number of feedings per day. Know that this chart simply offers a guideline– the volume in each bottle and the number of feedings per day can vary significantly baby-to-baby!
If you have questions or concerns about your baby’s eating frequency or consumption volume, please consult with your child’s pediatrician.
Volume per Feeding
Feedings per Day
Sample 3 Month Old Eating Schedule
Here's a sample feeding schedule for your 3-month-old baby, with a goal to offer a feeding every 2.5-3 hours during the day:
- 7:00 AM - Breastfeed or Formula (4 ounces)
- 9:30 AM - Breastfeed or Formula (3 ounces)
- 12:00 PM - Breastfeed or Formula (4 ounces)
- 3:00 PM - Breastfeed or Formula (3 ounces)
- 5:30 PM - Breastfeed or Formula (3 ounces)
- 8:00 PM - Breastfeed or Formula (4 ounces)
- 11:00 PM - Breastfeed or Formula (3 ounces)
- 3:00 AM - Breastfeed or Formula (3 ounces)
Remember, every baby is unique, so this schedule is just a guideline. Be prepared to adapt it to your baby's needs and cues!
3-Month-Old Feeding FAQs
Let's address some common questions parents have regarding their 3-month-old's feeding habits:
How much should a 3-month-old preemie eat?
Preterm babies may have different feeding needs. It's essential to consult your pediatrician to determine the right amount for your preemie. Generally, they may eat slightly smaller quantities more frequently compared to full-term infants, and your child’s doctor may recommend using a special preemie formula that has increased mineral and calorie volumes per ounce.
How much should a 3-month-old eat in 24 hours?
Babies' appetites can vary, but a rough estimate is around 24-32 ounces per day, regardless of breastmilk or formula. Be attentive to your baby's cues and adjust as needed. Please talk to your pediatrician if your baby is eating significantly more or significantly less than this consistently.
Should my 3-month-old eat any solids?
At 3 months, your baby's digestive system is still developing, and breastmilk or formula provides all the nutrients they need. The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends introducing solid foods around 6 months of age and when certain developmental milestones have been met, such as sitting with support.
How to know if a 3-month-old baby is still hungry?
Babies are excellent communicators, even at a young age! If your baby is still hungry after a feeding, they may exhibit cues such as sucking on their fists, rooting, or fussiness. Offering an additional .5 to 1 ounce is a good place to start if your baby still seems hungry after finishing a bottle.
How does eating affect my 3-month-old baby’s sleep?
In addition to a feeding schedule, establishing a consistent sleep routine is vital for your baby's overall well-being. Often, parents confuse hunger cues with sleepy cues, and this can lead to overfeeding (and an overtired, fussy baby)!
The following guidelines will help you establish good sleep hygiene for your infant:
Bedtime Routine: Develop a calming bedtime routine that signals to your baby that it's time to wind down. This could include activities such as a warm bath, gentle massage, reading a book, or soft lullabies.
Bedtime: Aim for a consistent bedtime, even if your baby's sleep patterns vary during the day. Babies thrive on routine, and a regular bedtime helps set their internal clock.
Night Feedings: While some 3-month-olds may start sleeping through the night, many still require one or more feedings. Try to keep nighttime feedings quiet with low-stimulation to help your baby return to sleep easily.
Sleep Environment: Create a comfortable sleep environment that's conducive to restful sleep. Keep the room dimly lit, maintain a comfortable temperature, and consider using a white noise machine to drown out any disruptive sounds.
Growth Spurts: Be prepared for growth spurts, which may disrupt your baby's sleeping and eating patterns. During these periods, your baby may seem extra hungry and wake up more frequently. This is normal and usually lasts only a few days! If your baby shows signs of hunger, a feeding should be offered even if it’s not “feeding time” according to a schedule.
Feeding Your 3-Month Old
As your 3-month-old baby embarks on this incredible journey of growth and development, creating a balanced feeding schedule is essential for their well-being and your peace of mind. By following recommended feeding guidelines, paying attention to hunger cues, and establishing sound sleep habits, you can help your baby thrive during this transformative phase. Remember that every baby is unique, and flexibility is key. Consult with your pediatrician for personalized guidance and trust your instincts as a parent. Your dedication and love will continue to nurture your baby as they reach new milestones on their path to becoming a happy and healthy individual.
The content on this site is for informational purposes only and not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Discuss any health or feeding concerns with your infant’s pediatrician. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay it based on the content on this page.