How many ounces should a 4-month-old eat in 24 hours?

The amount of food a 4-month-old baby needs can vary quite a bit. Here is a quick overview of how much a typical 4-month-old should eat in a 24 hour period:

Quick Answers

– Most 4-month-olds need around 25-35 oz of formula or breastmilk per day. This equates to roughly 25-32 oz of formula, or 27-39 oz of breastmilk.

– Feedings are typically every 3-4 hours, with around 6-8 feedings per day.

– 4-month-olds stomachs can hold around 5-8 oz per feeding session.

– Food intake needs can vary a lot depending on size, appetite, and whether baby is breastfed or formula fed.

Total Formula or Breastmilk Needed

The total amount of breastmilk or formula a 4-month-old needs per day can range from 24-36 oz on average. Here is a breakdown:

Formula Fed Babies

Most formula fed 4-month-olds need around 25-35 oz of formula per day. On average, about 30 oz per day is typical.

Some babies need as little as 24-26 oz, while others need closer to 32-35 oz to feel full and satisfied. Much depends on the baby’s size, growth rate, and individual needs.

As a general rule of thumb, the average 4 month old should take in around 2.5 oz of formula per pound of body weight each day.

So for example:
– Baby weighing 12 lbs: 12 * 2.5 oz = Around 30 oz of formula per day.
– Baby weighing 15 lbs: 15 * 2.5 oz = Around 38 oz of formula per day.

Breastfed Babies

For breastfed babies, daily intake can vary more from baby to baby. Some breastfed 4 month olds need as little as 25 oz per day, while others need 35 oz or more to meet their nutritional and growth needs.

On average, exclusively breastfed babies around 4 months old consume 25-35 oz (27-39 oz on the higher end) per day to receive enough nutrition.

Mothers who breastfeed on demand often make around 25-30 oz of breastmilk per day on average. However, intake can vary from as little as 19 oz to as much as 53 oz in some cases.

Some factors that influence how much breastmilk a baby needs include:
– Weight and growth rate
– Number of wet/dirty diapers
– Overall feeding behaviors and cues
– Mother’s breast storage capacity
– Mother’s diet, hydration, and caloric intake

If weight gain and diaper counts are adequate, then the baby is likely getting enough milk at the breast, regardless of total volume consumed.

Number of Feedings Per Day

At 4 months old, most babies feed around 6-8 times per day. Here is an overview:

Formula Fed Babies

Formula fed babies this age typically feed every 3-4 hours. This equates to around 6-8 feedings per 24 hours.

Feeding frequency depends on appetite, weight gain needs, and sleep patterns. Some formula fed 4 month olds feed as infrequently as 5 times per day, while others feed up to 9 times per day.

Breastfed Babies

Breastfed babies tend to feed more frequently, around 8-12 times in 24 hours at 4 months old. However, feeding patterns can vary.

Some breastfed babies this age feed 6-8 times per day, while others feed 10 times or more. Breastmilk digests faster than formula so breastfed babies tend to eat more often.

Mothers should offer each breast at each feeding and allow baby to feed on demand. Watching weight gain and diaper counts can help determine if feedings are frequent enough.

Stomach Capacity

A 4 month old baby’s stomach capacity is around 5-8 oz per feeding. Here’s how stomach size typically progresses:

0-2 Months:

– 2.5-3 oz capacity

2-3 Months:

– 3.5-5 oz capacity

3-5 Months:

– 5-8 oz capacity

5-7 Months:

– 8-10 oz capacity

At 4 months, most babies can consume around 4-8 oz per feeding. Offering too much can lead to spit up or vomiting.

When bottle feeding, pace feeding is recommended. This involves feeding slowly, pausing frequently, maintaining eye contact, and stopping when baby shows cues. This prevents overfeeding.

For breastfed babies, allowing baby to feed from one breast until satisfied, then offer the other breast is recommended. Watch for baby’s hunger and fullness cues.

Factors That Influence Feeding Amounts

While the above outlines general recommendations, the actual amount a 4 month old consumes can vary significantly. Here are some factors that influence individual needs:

Baby’s Weight and Growth Trends:

– Heavier babies need more calories and therefore more milk.
– Slower growing babies may need less than faster growing babies.
– Preemies have higher calorie needs and eat more per ounce than full term infants.

Time of Day:

– Babies tend to eat more in the morning and evening.
– Afternoon/night feedings may be smaller.

Activity Levels and Stage of Development:

– Growth spurts can increase hunger.
– Hitting developmental milestones like rolling over or teething can influence appetite.
– More active, mobile babies may burn more calories and need more ounces.

Individual Metabolism:

– Some babies are simply hungrier than others.
– Metabolisms and calorie needs vary from baby to baby.

Mom’s Breastmilk Supply:

– Moms who produce more milk may feed more ounces.
– Supply can be influenced by mother’s hydration, diet, and pumping habits.

Tracking weight gain, diaper counts, and hunger cues is the best way to determine if baby is eating the right amount. Consulting a pediatrician can help determine if any intake adjustments are needed.

Signs Baby Isn’t Eating Enough

For babies around 4 months old, the following can indicate inadequate milk intake:

– Poor weight gain or weight loss.
– Decrease in number of wet or dirty diapers.
– Increased hunger, fussiness, or crying.
– Difficulty settling between feedings.
– Poor sleep patterns.
– Not exhibiting contentment and satiety after feedings.

If any of the above symptoms are present, contact baby’s pediatrician. A calorie boost or more frequent feedings may be recommended.

In some cases, switching formula types (sensitive vs regular) can help. For breastfed babies, troubleshooting milk supply concerns with a lactation consultant may be warranted.

Signs Baby is Eating Too Much

When 4 month old babies overeat, the following symptoms may be present:

– Spitting up or vomiting after many feedings.
– Consistently draining bottles or extended time breastfeeding.
– Difficulty settling – seems gassy or uncomfortable.
– Increased fussiness or refusal to eat.
– Consistently sleeping longer stretches between feedings.

If overfeeding seems to be occurring, try slower pacing, frequent burping, and offering smaller amounts per feeding. Switching to a slower flow nipple can also help prevent gulping excess air or milk.

Example Feed Schedules

To visualize what a typical feeding schedule looks like for a 4 month old, here are two examples:

Formula Fed Baby

Time Amount Consumed
7 AM 7 oz
10 AM 5 oz
1 PM 5 oz
4 PM 6 oz
7 PM 7 oz
10 PM 5 oz
1 AM 5 oz
4 AM 6 oz

Total: 46 oz

Breastfed Baby

Time Fed from Breast
6 AM Right breast – until satisfied
9 AM Left breast – until satisfied
12 PM Right breast – until satisfied
3 PM Left breast – until satisfied
6 PM Right breast – until satisfied
9 PM Left breast – until satisfied
12 AM Right breast – until satisfied
3 AM Left breast – until satisfied

Total: 25-40 oz (variable based on time spent feeding, mother’s supply, etc).

These schedules are examples only, actual feeding times and amounts consumed can vary significantly. The key is to watch baby’s hunger/fullness cues and offer both breasts at each feeding.

Nighttime Feedings

Many 4 month olds still wake once or twice overnight for feedings. Here are some tips for managing night wakings:

– Aim for a dream feed around 10-11 PM. This helps baby sleep longer.
– Avoid stimulation and playtime during night wakings. Keep lights dim with limited interaction.
– Offer smaller feed amounts at night: 3-5 oz bottles or 10-15 minutes per breast.
– Burp well and consider a diaper change to help settle baby after.
– Put baby back to sleep drowsy but awake when done feeding.

Don’t try to night wean or sleep train until about 6 months old or signs of readiness appear. Until then, feeding when baby wakes up hungry overnight is needed.

If excessive night wakings occur or feedings take over 1 hour, talk to baby’s pediatrician to troubleshoot solutions. An underlying issue like reflux or food sensitivities may be present.

Introducing Solid Foods

Around 4-6 months is when solid foods can be introduced as tolerated. To start:

– Offer solids once per day after a milk feeding.
– Start with purees, cereal, or mashed fruits/veggies.
– Only give a few teaspoons initially, increasing to a few ounces over time.
– Go slow with new foods to watch for allergies or intolerances.
– Avoid honey or large chunks/pieces due to choking hazard.

Even after starting solids, breastmilk or formula should remain the main calorie source until 12 months old. Don’t replace a milk feeding with solids until about 11-12 months old.

Speak with baby’s pediatrician about appropriate foods and amounts to offer. Signs of readiness for starting solids include:

– Good head and neck control.
– Ability to sit upright supported.
– Interest in food and watching others eat.
– Ability to move food from spoon to throat.

Reasons for Variation in Needs

While the above outlines general recommendations for 4 month old feeding amounts, some reasons babies’ needs differ include:


Preemies have higher calorie needs and lower stomach capacity. They often need to eat more frequently and consume more ounces than full term infants.

Growth Spurts:

During growth spurts appetite increases. Offering additional feedings supports growth. These periods of increased hunger are temporary.


When sick, babies may eat less. Additional fluid and comforting is needed temporarily until appetite returns.

Introducing Solids:

As solids are introduced around 4-6 months, some babies drink less breastmilk or formula as they start eating more solid food.

Reflux Issues:

Babies with reflux often need to eat smaller, more frequent feedings to keep food down. Feed volume and schedule may need adjustment.

Feeding Problems:

Babies with oral motor delay, tongue tie, or other feeding issues may need specialized help, longer feeding times, or specialized nipples/bottles.

Individual Variation:

All babies are unique. Appetite, growth patterns, and personalities differ. Feeding needs can too. Tracking weight gain is the best metric.


How much a 4 month old eats varies, but typically ranges from 24-36 oz per day of breastmilk or formula. Feedings every 3-4 hours are common, with stomach capacity around 5-8 oz per session.

Growth patterns, appetite, activity levels, and many other factors influence individual needs. Track diaper output, weight gain, and hunger cues to ensure baby’s needs are met.

While challenging, this stage is temporary. Hang in there! Before you know it, baby will be on a consistent schedule and eating regimen. With time and patience, you’ll both get the hang of it.

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