Is 20 oz a day enough for a 2 month old?

Quick Answer

The general recommendation is that a 2 month old baby should consume around 25-35 oz of breast milk or formula per day. So 20 oz per day would typically be on the low side for a 2 month old’s nutritional needs. However, every baby is different, so it’s best to follow your pediatrician’s guidance on milk intake for your specific child.

How Much Milk Does a 2 Month Old Need?

Most experts recommend that a 2 month old baby consume around 25-35 oz (750-1050 ml) of breast milk or formula per day. This is generally broken down into 6-8 feedings spread out over 24 hours.

Here are some general daily milk intake guidelines based on age:

Age Average Milk Intake per Day
Newborn (0-1 month) 25-35 oz
2 months 25-35 oz
3 months 27-39 oz
4 months 27-39 oz
5 months 27-39 oz
6 months 27-39 oz

As you can see, the recommended daily intake for a 2 month old aligns with the general guidelines of 25-35 oz per day. Keep in mind that these are just averages – some babies will need more and some less.

Factors like the baby’s size, activity level, and individual metabolism will affect how much milk they require. For example, a smaller or less active baby may need less than a larger, active baby who is burning more calories.

Is 20 oz Enough for a 2 Month Old?

While the recommended intake is 25-35 oz per day, some 2 month old babies may do fine with slightly less milk. Every baby has different nutritional needs.

However, 20 oz per day is likely on the low end for a 2 month old’s needs. Here are some points to consider with a intake of 20 oz at this age:

– Baby may act hungrier and want to feed more frequently. Growth spurts are common at 2 months, increasing milk needs.

– Weight gain may be slower than optimal if milk intake is not adequate. Babies should gain around 1-1.5 oz per day at this age.

– Daily fluid requirements may not be met depending on other sources of hydration. Inadequate fluids can lead to constipation or dehydration.

– Baby may become frustrated, cry more, and have trouble settling if not getting 20-30 minutes of feeding time 6-8 times per day.

– Nutritional requirements beyond calories may not be met, like protein, fat, and vitamins from milk.

– Developmental needs may not be supported optimally if nutrient intake is insufficient. Babies undergo rapid brain growth at 2 months.

So while some 2 month olds may tolerate 20 oz per day, it’s not likely to be ideal nutrition in the long run for most babies. The potential risks make it advisable to aim for 25-35 oz if possible.

When to Talk to a Doctor

It’s always a good idea to discuss your baby’s milk intake with their pediatrician. At their 2 month well child check, the pediatrician will be able to evaluate if your child is getting adequate nutrition based on their weight, height, and head circumference measurements.

You should contact your pediatrician right away if your 2 month old:

– Is taking less than 20 oz of milk per day.

– Goes longer than 4 hours regularly without feeding during the day.

– Sleeps for stretches longer than 6 hours overnight without feeding.

– Shows signs of dehydration like fewer than 6 wet diapers per day, dark urine, crying without tears, lethargy, or sunken eyes or cheeks.

– Has difficulty settling or seems hungry after full feeds.

– Isn’t having the recommended number of bowel movements per day.

– Falls off their growth curve or has dramatic changes in weight or height percentiles.

– Has ongoing reflux, vomiting, diarrhea, or constipation.

Your pediatrician can help determine if your baby needs supplemental feedings or if an underlying condition is impacting their ability to consume enough milk. Most babies don’t need prescribed fortified formula, but it is an option if recommended by a doctor.

Tips for Increasing Milk Intake

If your pediatrician confirms your 2 month old should be taking in more than 20 oz of milk per day, here are some tips to help increase their intake:

– Offer the breast or bottle more frequently, at least 8-12 times per day. Don’t wait for the baby to act hungry.

– Let baby nurse or take a bottle as long as they want to at each feeding.

– Try pacing bottle-feeding to mimic breastfeeding. Don’t overwhelm baby with a fast bottle flow.

– Distract less during feeding by avoiding excessive rocking or burping mid-feed.

– Adjust body position during nursing to ensure good latch and milk transfer.

– Massage breasts gently before nursing to help milk flow.

– Switch nursing sides to ensure baby gets the higher-fat hindmilk.

– Use breast compressions to maintain baby’s interest at the breast.

– Ensure baby is properly latched without tongue tie or other issues. Seek lactation support.

– Offer expressed breastmilk or formula top-ups after nursing if needed.

– Wake baby to feed if naps become too long – don’t go longer than 4 hours during the day.

– Check feeding tube flow rate if baby is tube fed.

– Discuss medication options if reflux is impairing feeding.

– Rule out milk protein intolerance or symptoms of allergy with a pediatrician.

With patience and persistence, parents can work to get their 2 month old’s intake up to the recommended 25-35 oz per day. Be sure to communicate closely with your pediatrician so they can monitor growth and hydration. Seek lactation support if breastfeeding difficulties arise.

Breastfeeding vs Formula Feeding at 2 Months

Both breastmilk and formula can provide complete nutrition for a 2 month old baby when given in adequate amounts. Here is some information on differences between breastmilk and formula at this age:


– Changes composition as baby ages to adapt to needs.
– Contains antibodies and immune factors that help protect against illness and infection.
– May help reduce risks of allergies, obesity, diabetes, and other conditions later on.
– Supports brain and gastrointestinal system development.
– Contains live ingredients like probiotics.
– Feeds beneficial gut bacteria.
– Digests quickly and easily for most babies.
– Promotes bonding through nursing at the breast.
– Convenient – no bottles to wash or formula to mix.
– Free of cost once breastfeeding is established.


– Regulated, engineered to provide complete nutrition based on baby’s age.
– Typically made from cow’s milk proteins and vegetable oils, soy proteins, or hydrolyzed proteins.
– May reduce food allergy risks if hydrolyzed or amino acid-based.
– Often iron-fortified to prevent anemia.
– May supplement breastmilk if breastfeeding mother’s supply is low.
– Allows feeding by other caregivers – not all feeding relies on mom.
– Amount consumed can be measured precisely.
– May be easier than breastfeeding for some families.
– More expensive than breastmilk. Requires purchase of supplies.

Breastmilk is typically recommended as the sole source of nutrition for the first 6 months whenever possible. However, formula is a healthy alternative when supplemented breastfeeding is preferred or medical issues preclude exclusive breastfeeding. With either milk source, the key is ensuring baby gets 25-35 oz daily.

Signs Baby Needs More Milk

How can you tell if your 2 month old isn’t getting quite enough milk, aside from tracking their measured daily ounce intake? Here are some feeding cues and behaviors that signal your baby may need more milk:

– Increased fussiness, crying, or inconsolability, especially around feeding times.

– Pulling off breast or bottle but still acting hungry.

– Frequent feeding demands – wanting to nurse or take a bottle very often.

– Unsettled sleep and difficulty falling asleep due to hunger.

– Increased night feedings.

– Extended nursing sessions without falling asleep, more than 40 minutes.

– Chewing hands frequently, rooting, and mouthing movements that indicate hunger.

– Weight gain plateaus or drops off compared to the previous month.

– Not meeting diaper change frequency recommendations indicating insufficient milk intake.

– Excess spit up or reflux due to overfilling stomach capacity with less calorie-dense milk.

Bring up any feeding concerns at the 2 month pediatrician visit. Tracking patterns over a few days can help give a clearer picture of how much and how eagerly your baby is feeding. Keep offering milk on cue at least 8-12 times per day and utilize other tips to assess if milk intake needs a boost.

Supplementing with Formula

If your breastfed baby isn’t getting the recommended daily volume of milk by nursing, supplementing feedings with formula is often recommended. Here are some supplementation tips:

– Look for signs during nursing that baby is still hungry, like continued sucking or hands in mouth. Offer 1-2 oz formula top-up after nursing.

– Try alternating breastfeeding and bottle feeding during the day. Nurse first, then supplement with expressed milk or formula.

– Replace 1-2 nightly nursing sessions with a formula feeding given by dad or another caregiver.

– Substitute one daily nursing with 3-5 oz formula, ideally after a breastfeeding to maintain supply.

– Mix formula concentrate with expressed breastmilk to create calorie-boosted milk for supplementation.

– Use an SNS supplemental feeding system at the breast to allow nursing plus formula intake.

– Consider hypoallergenic formula if baby seems gassy or uncomfortable with standard types of formula.

– Add powdered formula fortifier as recommended by baby’s doctor to pumped milk for extra calories.

– Gradually increase formula amounts if baby tolerates the combination of breastmilk and supplementation.

Always discuss supplementing with baby’s pediatrician, especially for infants under 6 months old. Follow safe bottle feeding practices and never prop bottles or allow baby to sleep with a bottle. Supplementing doesn’t mean you have to stop breastfeeding entirely – combination feeding can allow moms to continue providing breastmilk while ensuring baby’s needs are fully met.

Transitioning from Breastfeeding to Formula

Some parents find they need to transition from exclusive breastfeeding to using more formula at 2 months or beyond. This may happen for medical reasons, milk supply issues, or by parental choice. Here are some tips for smoothly transitioning:

– Gradually introduce bottles of expressed breastmilk, then mix formula with increasing proportions over days and weeks.

– Replace one feeding a day with formula at first, then increase to two or three over time.

– Offer formula at the least emotionally-invested nursing, like night feedings or comfort feeds.

– Maintain a consistent pre-bedtime nursing session as part of bedtime ritual before replacing with formula.

– Keep morning and evening nursing sessions for comfort during the transition time.

– Try to wean gradually off breastfeeding over 4-6 weeks if directly switching to all formula.

– Begin dropping pumping sessions as formula is introduced to help avoid engorgement.

– Use only formula for middle-of-the-night feedings so others can participate in feedings.

– Introduce bottles before fully stopping breastfeeding to accustom baby to the new feeding method.

– Provide lots of skin-to-skin contact,motion, and sucking opportunities as you wean for comfort.

– Seek emotional support if you experience feelings of guilt, grief, or loss as you wean breastfeeding.

The key is to transition slowly and communicate reassurance to your baby through close contact and loving interactions. This will help baby accept formula feeding as a new but still positive feeding routine. Stay patient – it can take time for baby to adjust.

Adding Cereal or Purees at 2 Months

Many parents wonder about starting solid foods like cereal at 2 months old. The medical recommendation is to provide only breastmilk or formula until about 6 months old. Here’s why:

– Baby’s digestive system isn’t mature enough to process solids well before 4-6 months. Introducing solids too early can damage gut lining and trigger food intolerances or allergies.

– Early solid foods displace the high-calorie milk baby needs in sufficient amounts. This can result in poor growth.

– Baby’s tongue thrust reflex still makes spoon feeding difficult before 4 months. Most of the food gets pushed back out.

– Cereal has significantly less iron than breastmilk or formula. Early cereal feeds can contribute to iron deficiency.

– Baby lacks neuromuscular coordination to swallow solids safely before 4 months. Choking risk is higher.

– Immune factors are lower in infancy, so starting solids raises infection risks from bacteria on food.

– Food allergies are more common when high-risk foods like wheat or dairy are introduced too early.

– Babies don’t develop preferences for spoon-feeding foods introduced early versus later. Waiting poses no disadvantage.

With the pediatrician’s guidance, some exceptions can be made, like small tastes of allergenic foods at 4 months old for higher allergy risk babies. But in general, holding off on starting significant solid foods until about 6 months is healthiest. Focus on milk feedings, then start purees and cereals after discussing readiness signs with your pediatrician.

Common Concerns with Low Milk Intake

When 2 month old babies don’t meet their recommended daily milk intake, it can raise some concerns. Here are some of the possible effects of inadequate milk consumption at this age:

– Slowed weight gain and risk of failure to thrive. Milk provides the calories and nutrients needed for rapid growth.

– Deficiencies in fat, protein, calcium, iron, zinc, vitamin D and other essential nutrients. These support development.

– Dehydration from insufficient fluid intake, especially in warm climates or during illness.

– Increased crying and fussiness from constant hunger. This disrupts baby’s routines.

– Delayed motor development if protein is inadequate for muscle growth.

– Higher risk of illnesses and infections due to lack of antibodies in breastmilk.

– Impaired cognitive and vision development from nutrient deficiencies.

– Greater risk of anemia since iron stores start depleting around 4-6 months old.

– Increased risk of sudden infant death syndrome with formula night feedings.

– Potential gum and dental cavities down the road without night breastmilk.

– Hormonal imbalances from inadequate protein leading to poor linear growth.

The good news is nutrition usually improves when milk intake is increased after consulting your pediatrician. Catching issues early helps get baby back on track developmentally. Maintaining open communication with your child’s doctor ensures any concerns are addressed proactively.

When to Start Solid Foods

So when is the right time to start solid foods if a 2 month old shouldn’t eat cereals and purees yet? Here are some guidelines from the American Academy of Pediatrics:

– Wait until around 6 months old, when baby can sit up supported. Signs of readiness typically appear between 4 and 6 months but vary individually.

– Introduce single-ingredient foods one at a time, a few days apart, to check for allergic reactions.

– Make sure baby is consuming around 25 oz of breastmilk or formula daily before replacing milk feeds with solids.

– Start with iron-fortified rice cereal or oat cereal, then vegetables, fruits, meats, and higher-allergen foods.

– Offer spoon-fed purees 1-2 times per day at first, gradually increasing to 3 meals a day by one year old.

– Respond to hunger and fullness cues instead of pushing baby to finish servings.

– Focus on playing, interacting, and exposing baby to textures and tastes. Don’t pressure eating.

– Avoid raw honey or large chunks and pieces that could pose choking hazards.

– Don’t provide juice or cow’s milk as main beverages until 1 year old unless recommended by doctor.

Go slowly and let your baby set the pace. Introducing solids should be a relaxed, developmentally-appropriate process guided by your pediatrician’s advice and your child’s signs of readiness. Around 6 months is ideal for most babies to start experimenting with foods beyond breastmilk or formula.


While all babies have individual needs, most 2 month olds require about 25-35 ounces of milk daily to satisfy their caloric requirements and hydration. 20 ounces would be on the low end for meeting nutritional needs at this age. Babies giving hunger cues, not gaining weight well, or seeming unsatisfied may need their milk intake increased after consulting a pediatrician. Combination feeding with formula supplementation is an option for breastfed babies requiring more calories. Introducing solid foods should wait until around 6 months old for safety and developmental reasons. With guidance from your child’s doctor and paying close attention to feeding cues, you can ensure your 2 month old receives adequate nutrition during this critical growth period.

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