How many feedings should a 3-month-old have?

For most healthy 3-month-old babies, the recommended number of feedings per day ranges from 6-8 times. This ensures your baby gets enough nutrition to support growth and development during this important stage. The number of daily feedings can vary based on factors like your baby’s appetite, weight gain goals set by your pediatrician, and whether you are exclusively breastfeeding or using formula.

Key Takeaways

  • 6-8 feedings per day is typical for a 3-month-old
  • Feed on demand to follow baby’s hunger cues
  • Consult your pediatrician if concerned about feeding frequency or amount
  • Aim for steady weight gain as directed by doctor

How Much Should a 3-Month-Old Eat Per Feeding?

In addition to the number of feedings, the amount of breast milk or formula per feeding is also important. Here are some general guidelines on quantities for a 3-month-old:

  • Breastfed babies will take in around 25 ounces (750 mL) of milk per day on average. They control the intake at each feeding.
  • Formula fed babies may take in around 30-32 ounces (900-960 mL) per day, spread out over 6-8 feedings.
  • Consult your pediatrician if your baby seems hungrier than usual or content with smaller amounts.

Breastfeeding Tips

If you are exclusively breastfeeding your 3-month-old, keep these tips in mind:

  • Let your baby feed on demand to establish your milk supply and meet their needs.
  • Offer both breasts per feeding session.
  • Aim for at least 8-12 feedings per day.
  • Watch for hunger cues like smacking lips, sucking on hands, rooting.
  • Nurse frequently even if for shorter durations.
  • Wake your baby if 4 hours pass without nursing.

Know When Your Baby is Full

Signs your breastfed baby is full:

  • Turning away from breast
  • Releasing nipple
  • Becoming drowsy
  • Decreased sucking
  • Hands relaxing

Growth Spurts

Growth spurts around 3 months will increase baby’s hunger for a few days. Respond to their cues by nursing more frequently.

Formula Feeding Tips

If formula feeding your 3-month-old, aim for 6-8 feedings spaced out during the day.

  • Follow instructions on formula can for amounts.
  • Look for signs of fullness to avoid overfeeding.
  • Burp halfway through and after feeding.
  • Hold baby semi-upright during feedings.
  • Watch for spit up as a sign of overfeeding.

Signs Your Formula-fed Baby is Full

  • Turning head away
  • Decreased or stopped sucking
  • Spitting out nipple
  • Seems uninterested
  • Seal lips together

Bottle Feeding Tips

  • Choose the right nipple size to control flow
  • Never prop bottle or let baby self-feed
  • Hold baby semi-upright while feeding
  • Do not put baby to bed with bottle
  • Do not overheat formula

Day Schedule Example

Here is a sample schedule showing the number and timing of feedings for a 3-month-old:

Time Feeding
7-8 am Wake up and feed
9-10 am Feeding 2
12-1 pm Feeding 3
2-3 pm Feeding 4
5-6 pm Feeding 5
8-9 pm Feeding 6
11-12 pm Dream feed before bed

This schedule has 7 feedings spaced out during baby’s waking hours. The last dream feed helps some babies sleep longer at night.

Identifying Your Baby’s Feeding Cues

Learning your baby’s unique hunger signs in the first few months is key to feeding them on demand. Here are some common feeding cues to watch for in a 3-month-old:

  • Moving head from side to side
  • Opening and closing mouth
  • Sticking out tongue
  • Rooting reflex, turning towards breast or bottle
  • Sucking on fist or fingers
  • Fussing or crying

Responding early to these cues prevents overly hungry crying and helps establish healthy eating patterns.

Cue Feeding Benefits

  • Better nutrient intake
  • Helps trust caregiver will respond
  • Supports bonding
  • Prevents crying from hunger
  • Establishes healthy routines

Night Wakings & Dream Feeds

Many 3-month-olds still wake 1-2 times at night needing to be fed. To minimize disruptions:

  • Do dream feeds before you go to bed, not in middle of night
  • Don’t turn on lights or overstimulate when night feeding
  • Change diaper before feeding to help wake baby up more
  • Gently rouse baby if sleeping through usual feeding times

As solid foods are introduced later on, babies will start sleeping through the night more consistently.

Should I Dream Feed?

The pros and cons of dream feeding a 3-month-old at your bedtime:


  • Can increase stretch of uninterrupted nighttime sleep
  • Ensures baby gets full nutrient intake for the day
  • Prevents waking from hunger later
  • Good option if your baby already wakes to feed at night


  • Risk of overfeeding since less cues to gauge intake
  • May disrupt sleep association if feeds not usually needed
  • Requires waking a sleeping baby

How to Know Your Baby is Eating Enough

Monitoring your 3-month-old’s weight gain, diaper output, and satiety signals will help you assess if feedings are frequent enough. Here is what to look for:

  • Weight gain: Babies should gain 4-7 ounces each week.
  • Wet diapers: 5-6+ wet diapers per day.
  • Dirty diapers: 3-4 stools per day if exclusively breastfed.
  • Contentment: Seems satisfied between feedings.
  • Development: Meeting milestones and growth curves.

Consult your pediatrician immediately if you notice a sudden slowed weight gain or lack of interest in feeding. This could signal an underlying condition needing evaluation.

Maintaining Milk Supply When Breastfeeding

To keep up your milk supply as baby’s feeds increase:

  • Nurse at least 8-12 times per day
  • Pump after or between feedings
  • Ensure proper latch
  • Stay hydrated
  • Avoid bottles when possible

Introducing Solid Foods

Most pediatricians recommend starting solids between 4-6 months old. At 3 months, breast milk or formula should still make up the full nutrition. If thinking of introding solids to help with longer sleep, be sure to consult your doctor first.

Early signs your baby may be ready for solids:

  • Good head and neck control
  • Can sit upright with support
  • Opens mouth when food approaches
  • Seems hungry between milk feedings

Starting solids too early can pose risks like allergies or choking. Go slow and watch for reactions when you do intro solids.

Starting with Cereal

Many doctors advise starting with a single-grain infant rice cereal mixed with breastmilk or formula. Go with plain rice first to check for intolerances. Start with just 1-2 teaspoons and slowly increase as tolerated.

Common Feeding Problems

If your 3-month-old is fussing or struggling with feedings, here are some common issues and solutions:

  • Gas: Burp frequently, hold upright 20 minutes after, gentle tummy massage
  • Reflux: Smaller feeds, keep upright after, consult doctor if severe
  • Oversupply: Nurse on one side per feeding, use laid-back position
  • Slow weight gain: Supplement with formula, pump after nursing
  • Refusing bottle: Try different nipple types, don’t force

See your pediatrician if feeding problems persist despite troubleshooting. An evaluation can identify any underlying issues.

Establishing a Routine

Having a consistent daily routine provides comfort and stability for both baby and parents. A flexible feeding schedule helps regulate hunger signals.

Tips for creating a good routine:

  • Set consistent wake up, nap, and bedtimes
  • Follow timed feedings but adjust as needed
  • Coordinate feedings with naps
  • Cluster daytime feedings closer together
  • Allow time for play, tummy time, bonding

Keep an open mind – babies change quickly at this age. Adjust schedule as needed while maintaining consistency.

Sample Daily Routine

Time Activity
7 am Wake up, nurse
8 am Play time
9 am Nap, bottle feed
10:30 am Tummy time, nurse
12 pm Bottle feed
1 pm Nap
3 pm Nurse
4:30 pm Tummy time, bottle feed
6 pm Nurse, bedtime routine
11 pm Dream feed


During the 3-month period, most babies will thrive with 6-8 feedings spread out over the day. Both breastfed and formula fed babies will take in 25-32 ounces per day on average. Pay attention to hunger signals, weight checks, and wet diapers to ensure your baby is getting enough nutrition. Don’t hesitate to ask your pediatrician for help optimizing your feeding schedule. With a consistent routine and responsive feedings, your baby will continue to grow and hit developmental milestones during this important time.

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