How many Oz a day should a 3-month-old eat?

Determining how much a 3-month-old baby should eat each day can seem complicated for new parents. This important question does not have a simple answer, as each baby is different. However, there are some general guidelines and ranges that can help parents figure out appropriate daily feeding amounts for their 3-month-old.

Key Factors That Influence Feeding Amounts

When determining how many ounces a day a 3-month-old should consume, it is important to consider a variety of factors including:

  • The baby’s birth weight and current weight – Smaller babies generally need less than larger babies
  • If the baby was premature – Preemies often need to eat more frequently but smaller amounts
  • If the baby is exclusively breastfed, exclusively formula fed, or combo fed – Breastfed babies may eat more frequently but smaller volumes
  • The baby’s hunger cues – Watching for signs of hunger and fullness
  • Growth patterns – Babies have growth spurts that increase their needs
  • The baby’s overall health – Illness can temporarily affect appetite

Paying attention to these factors and watching the baby’s signals can help determine appropriate feeding amounts as needs change.

Average Feeding Guidelines by Feeding Method

As a general starting point, here are some typical daily feeding amount ranges based on how the 3-month-old is fed:

Exclusively Breastfed

  • 24 to 35 ounces per day
  • Breastfed babies eat smaller volumes but more frequently – around 6 to 10 times or more per day

Exclusively Formula Fed

  • 25 to 35 ounces per day
  • Typically eat 5 to 8 times per day

Combo Fed (Breastmilk and Formula)

  • Around 24 to 32 ounces per day
  • Feeding frequency and amounts vary

Remember that these ranges are approximations. Use your baby’s hunger and fullness cues as the best guide.

Amount Consumed May Vary Day to Day

It’s important to note that day-to-day feeding amounts can vary quite a bit, even for the same baby. Some variations in daily ounces consumed could include:

  • During growth spurts, babies may eat more
  • When going through developmental milestones, babies may eat less
  • If overly tired or not feeling well, appetite may decrease
  • Intake often varies day to day and that’s normal

Don’t stress about getting an exact number of ounces in every day. Pay attention to patterns over a week rather than obsessing over a single day’s totals.

Feeding More or Less Than Recommended Amounts

If your 3-month-old is consistently eating way above or below the typical daily recommended amounts, here are some things to consider:

Eating Significantly More

Some possible reasons for a 3-month-old eating a lot more than average:

  • Growth spurt – babies may cluster feed during spurts
  • Starting solid foods – babies may want more milk too
  • Reflux – eating more frequently may help
  • Not feeling well – extra comfort from nursing

Generally not a concern if weight gain is on track and the baby seems satisfied.

Eating Significantly Less

Some possible reasons for a 3-month-old eating much less than average:

  • Distraction during feeding – normal as babies get older
  • Teething – decreases appetite due to pain
  • Illness – poor appetite with cold, virus, etc.
  • Introducing solid foods – may drink less milk

Consult the pediatrician if intake doesn’t increase or weight gain stalls. May need intervention.

Tips for Determining Feeding Amounts

Here are some tips that can help parents gauge appropriate feeding amounts for a 3-month-old:

  • Track wet and dirty diapers – should see 6+ wet and 3-4 dirty per day
  • Watch baby’s cues – rooting, mouthing, sucking fingers signal hunger
  • Ensure baby eats until content after most feeds
  • Aim for steady weight gain of around 1 ounce per day
  • Discuss amounts and patterns with pediatrician at appointments
  • Weigh baby before and after feeds to determine intake – optional

Following hunger and fullness signals is key. Track patterns rather than obsessing over ounces per day.

When to Ask Your Pediatrician About Feeding Amounts

Consult your pediatrician if your 3-month-old shows any of the following around feeding amounts:

  • Not gaining weight appropriately
  • Doesn’t seem satisfied after feeding
  • Falls off growth curve percentiles
  • Excessive irritability or difficultly soothing
  • Consistently eating very small or large volumes

The pediatrician can help determine if there is an underlying issue, and may have suggestions to get your baby’s feeding back on track.

Setting a Feeding Schedule

While experts recommend feeding babies on demand rather than strict schedules, some structure to the day can be helpful. Here are some tips for balancing feeding on demand with a loose schedule:

  • Aim to feed every 2.5-4 hours during the day
  • Allow for more frequent feedings if hungry
  • Expect cluster feeding in the evenings – multiple feeds close together
  • Establish a calming bedtime routine ending with a feed
  • Spacing day feeds helps babies learn hungry vs tired signals
  • Keep night feeds on the schedule baby sets – could be every 2-4 hours

A schedule helps ensure your baby eats enough through the day. But always follow baby’s lead if hungry outside of the schedule.

What If My Baby Won’t Finish Bottles?

It’s common around 3 months for breastfed babies to start leaving an ounce or two unfinished in their bottles. Some reasons this may happen include:

  • Getting distracted more easily while feeding
  • Appetite decreasing as they start eating solids
  • Preferring the breast so drink less from a bottle
  • Bottles flow faster than breast – baby gets full faster

Tips for dealing with unfinished bottles:

  • Offer smaller bottles of just 3-5 ounces
  • Try different nipple flows in case it’s coming out too fast
  • Attempt giving bottles when baby is hungriest – morning or before naps
  • Don’t force baby to finish – follow their hunger cues
  • Still offer when refusing – may drink more next time

If weight gain falters or baby seems hungry, speak to your pediatrician. Some formula fed babies do need all bottles finished.

How to Know if Baby is Eating Enough

Wondering if your 3-month-old is getting enough to eat each day? Signs that intake is adequate include:

  • 6 or more wet diapers per day
  • Regular dirty diapers if exclusively breastfed
  • Steady weight gain averaging around 1 ounce per day
  • Seems satisfied and content after feeding
  • Reaches developmental milestones on track
  • Alert and active when awake

Consult your pediatrician if you have any concerns about feeding or weight gain. Tracking input, output and weight can help identify issues.

Night Feeding for a 3-Month-Old

Many 3-month-old babies still wake up once or twice at night needing to eat. Here are some tips for managing night feedings:

  • Aim to feed at the first signs of hunger rather than letting baby cry
  • Keep lights low and noise/stimulation minimal
  • Avoid overfeeding – offer only what baby takes at that time
  • Change diaper if needed but avoid excessive stimulation
  • Put baby back to sleep drowsy but awake when done
  • Dream feed right before your bedtime to minimize wakings

Night weaning can begin anytime after 3 months but is very individualized. Talk to your pediatrician about when and how to night wean based on your preferences and baby’s development.

How to Increase Milk Supply

If your 3-month-old seems excessively hungry or isn’t gaining well, it could be a sign that your milk supply is low. Some ways to safely increase low milk supply include:

  • Nurse baby more frequently – at least 8-12 times per day
  • Offer both breasts per feeding
  • Pump after or between feedings – strive for 8 pumping sessions per day
  • Use breast compression during feedings
  • Ensure proper latch and feeding position
  • Stay hydrated and eat a balanced diet
  • Get extra sleep and reduce stress
  • Talk to a lactation consultant for personalized tips

Increasing supply can take several days to weeks. Contact your pediatrician or lactation consultant if supply doesn’t improve or your baby is not gaining weight. Taking galactagogue supplements may also help under medical guidance.

Tracking Your Baby’s Daily Intake

To get a clear sense of how much your 3-month-old is eating each day, consider tracking their daily intake for a period of time. Here are some tips:

  • Note feeding times, length, and which side for breastfed babies
  • Measure pumped amounts or formula bottle totals
  • Use an app or written log to record volumes after each feeding
  • Also track wet/dirty diapers and behavior cues
  • Weigh baby before and after feeds for most accuracy – optional
  • Share intake data with pediatrician at next visit

Tracking intake for a few days or weeks helps identify patterns and potential issues to address. But remember that ounce counts are just a guide – follow your baby’s lead.

FAQs about Feeding Amounts for a 3-Month-Old

Should I wake my baby to eat during the day?

At 3 months, it’s typically not necessary to wake a baby to eat during daylight hours if weight gain is normal. Letting them sleep when tired reinforces day/night cycles. However, if growth stalls or baby sleeps excessively, your pediatrician may suggest waking to feed.

Is it safe to add cereal to the bottle?

No, adding cereal to bottles is not recommended as it poses choking risks and can also lead to overfeeding. Only add cereal once baby is ready for solids around 4-6 months and can eat safely from a spoon.

What if my baby seems hungry right after a feeding?

Fussing and rooting right after eating are common signs of gastrointestinal discomfort, not necessarily remaining hunger. Things to try – burp baby thoroughly, hold upright 20 minutes after eating, bicycle legs to relieve gas, or speak with your pediatrician in case reflux is suspected.

How do I know if baby is getting too much or too little formula?

Watch your baby’s cues – too much or too little formula may cause spitting up, gassiness, difficulty sleeping, excessive crying, or lack of weight gain. Target the middle ground of your baby seeming satisfied and gaining weight appropriately without signs of overfeeding.

At what point should I worry about how much baby is eating?

As long as your baby is content, gaining weight steadily, and meeting developmental milestones, their feeding amounts are likely adequate. Express any concerns at your next pediatrician visit or call them sooner if your baby refuses bottles for multiple feedings or is inconsolable.


Determining appropriate daily feeding amounts for your 3-month-old involves paying close attention to their hunger/fullness cues, growth patterns, feeding method, and overall health. While average intake ranges help guide you, remember that every baby is different. Track feedings, diaper output and weight gain to identify issues. Don’t stress daily ounce counts – follow baby’s lead and consult their pediatrician with any concerns. With time and experience, you will learn to confidently nurture your baby and ensure they are getting all the nutrition they need to continue growing strong and healthy.

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