When should my newborn eat 4 oz?

Determining when your newborn is ready to eat 4 oz per feeding can be confusing for new parents. Most newborns start out only eating 1-2 oz per feeding in the first few weeks of life. Over time, their stomach capacity grows and they are able to take in larger volumes per feeding. There is no set timeline for when all babies should be eating 4 oz – every baby is different. However, there are some general guidelines and signs to look for that can help you figure out when your particular newborn is ready to make that jump to 4 oz feedings.

Average guidelines for 4 oz feedings

Most healthy, full-term newborns will reach 4 oz feedings somewhere between 6-10 weeks of age. However, this is just an average. Some babies will get there sooner, while others may take a bit longer. Here are some general guidelines for when babies typically reach 4 oz feedings:

  • 6-8 weeks old – Some babies are ready for 4 oz around this time, though many are still in the 2-3 oz range.
  • 8-10 weeks old – Most babies are regularly taking 4 oz feeds by this point. Offering 4 oz bottles becomes standard practice for many parents during this timeframe.
  • 10-12 weeks old – Almost all healthy babies are capable of consuming 4 oz per feeding by this age. If your baby is still not quite there yet, talk to your pediatrician.

Keep in mind that these are just averages. Don’t force your baby to take 4 oz before they are showing clear signs of readiness. Watch your individual baby’s cues.

Signs baby is ready for 4 oz

Rather than going by age alone, look for the following signs that your newborn is ready to increase to 4 oz bottle feeds:

  • Finishing most or all of their usual 2-3 oz bottles.
  • Acting hungry, sucking their hands, or rooting within 1-2 hours of finishing a smaller 2-3 oz feeding.
  • Nursing frequently if breastfed and seeming unsettled at the breast.
  • Doubling their birth weight, which typically happens around 2-3 months.
  • Seems larger, more alert and active, and has good head control.

If you notice a combination of these signs, try offering 4 oz and see how your baby responds. Some tips for making the transition to larger feeds:

  • Increase bottle size gradually in 0.5-1 oz increments.
  • Pay attention to hunger/fullness cues – don’t overfeed.
  • Burp frequently during the feed.
  • Make sure the nipple size is optimal so milk flows properly.

Offer the 4 oz for several feeds in a row to see if it satisfies your baby longer. If they consistently drain the full 4 oz or still seem hungry, then they are likely ready to make that their new standard feeding amount.

How much milk do newborns need?

Figuring out just how much to feed your newborn can be confusing. Their small tummies limit how much they can take in at each feeding, but their rapid growth means they need a large volume of milk overall. How do you meet their high calorie and nutrition needs within the constraints of their tiny stomach capacity?

Here’s an overview of general milk intake requirements to help give you an idea of what to aim for:

Newborn stomach size

A newborn’s stomach capacity starts out very small, around:

  • 1-2 days old: 22-27ml or 0.75-1oz
  • 3-7 days old: 45ml or 1.5oz
  • 2-3 weeks old: 60-81ml or 2-3oz

Over the first month their stomach grows quickly as they feed more, eventually reaching about 2.5-3oz capacity around 1 month old. This explains why frequent, small feeds are needed in newborns. Their little tummies just can’t hold very much at once.

Average daily milk needs

Even though newborns can only take in small volumes per feeding, their total daily nutrition needs are quite high to support their rapid growth and development. Here are the general daily milk intake recommendations:

  • 0-3 days old: 60-80ml (2-3oz) per day
  • 4-7 days old: 240-320ml (8-11oz) per day
  • 1-2 weeks old: 450-600ml (15-20oz) per day
  • 1-2 months old: 700-900ml (24-30oz) per day

Keep in mind individual babies may need more or less than these averages. Let your pediatrician know if you are concerned your baby is not getting the nourishment they need.

Growth spurts

These average milk intake volumes are guidelines for healthy growth, but don’t be surprised if your newborn seems to want more some days. Growth spurts commonly occur around 2-3 weeks, 6 weeks, and 3 months, where babies abruptly increase their feeding amounts for a few days before leveling back off. They may want larger volumes per feeding or feed more frequently during these spurts. Respond to your baby’s hunger cues and let them feed on demand to fuel this rapid growth.

Premature babies

If your baby was born prematurely, their feeding abilities and milk needs can vary significantly from full-term babies. Consult with your pediatrician and neonatal team for specialized feeding guidelines tailored to your preemie. Things like small stomach capacity, nipple confusion, and difficulty coordinating sucks/swallows/breaths during feeds are common concerns. Work with your medical providers for help optimizing your preemie’s nutrition.

Tips for bottle feeding 4 oz

Once your newborn is ready for 4 oz bottle feeds, here are some tips to make the transition go smoothly:

Pace the feed

Don’t let baby gulp the 4 oz down too quickly. Pacing helps prevent overeating, spit up, and gas. After every ounce, tip the bottle down to pause the flow for a few moments. Burp baby frequently too.

Choose an appropriate nipple

A nipple with a too-fast flow can cause choking or overeating. Preemie nipples are recommended for newborns. Size up if milk flows too slowly causing frustration.

Try different bottle types

Bottles designed to reduce colic and gas may help if your baby struggles with larger feeds. Or if they prefer a certain bottle, use that for the 4 oz feeds.

Watch for cues

Overfeeding can lead to spit up and discomfort. Stop when your baby turns away, gets sleepy, or loses interest. Don’t force them to finish.

Don’t over-dilute formula

Adding extra water to stretch 4 oz of formula may lead to poor calorie intake. Mix according to instructions.

Be patient

Some days babies will down 4 oz no problem, other days not so much. Growth isn’t perfectly steady. Stick with it and respond to baby’s cues.

What if baby won’t take 4 oz?

It’s normal for the transition to 4 oz feedings to come with some bumps in the road. If your baby is showing signs of readiness for 4 oz but then struggles to take that full amount, here are some tips:

  • Slow the pace of the feed and offer more burping breaks.
  • Make sure baby is truly hungry – don’t force a 4 oz feed on a disinterested baby.
  • Consider switching bottle nipples to change the milk flow speed.
  • Try a different type of bottle.
  • Check formula mixing – avoid overdilution.
  • If breastfed, take care of mom – hydration, rest, pumping output.
  • Have patience and keep trying, repeating 4 oz at each feed.

If the issue persists beyond a few days, speak with your pediatrician to see if any supplementation or evaluation is recommended. Refusal to regularly take in 4 oz could indicate:

  • Immature digestive system
  • Oral motor coordination difficulties
  • Gastroesophageal reflux
  • Food intolerance or allergy
  • Underlying medical condition

Your pediatrician can help determine if further intervention is needed.

Potential issues with 4 oz feeds

While most babies tolerate the 4 oz feeding amount without issue once they reach that stage, watch for these possible problems:

Fussiness during feeds

Newborns may get overwhelmed and fussy when trying to handle the larger volume. Take paced feed breaks and watch carefully for fullness cues.

Spit up/GERD

It’s common for newborns to spit up a little with feeds. But excessive spit up or signs of acid reflux may indicate feeding too much. Discuss symptoms with your doctor.


Overfeeding can lead to swallowed air and gas pain. Check nipple flow, pace the feed, and use gas relief techniques. Consult your pediatrician if colic is severe.


Slower gastric emptying in some babies may cause constipation when overfed. Watch diaper output and discuss remedies if constipation occurs.


Rapid gulping when bottle feeding too quickly can trigger choking. Always pace feeds for a preemie or infant under 6 months old.

Obesity risk

Research shows breastfed babies may better self-regulate milk intake compared to bottle fed babies. Adhere to hunger cues rather than forcing finishes.

Seek medical guidance if you observe signs of intolerance to the 4 oz feeding size. Some problems do require intervention. But often just modifying pacing and nipple flow solves issues for babies ready for the 4 oz size.


How long does it take a newborn to finish a 4 oz bottle?

Expect a feeding session to take 15-20 minutes to finish 4 oz. If your newborn is gulping it down much faster than that, slow the pacing. Watch for any signs of distress, like coughing or sputtering.

Can I overfeed a breastfed baby?

It is possible to overfeed a breastfed infant. Feeding on demand is recommended, but watch for cues signaling fullness like falling asleep, decreased sucking, spitting up, etc. Some babies may need supplementation if mom’s supply is low.

What size nipple should I use for a 4 oz bottle?

Most breastfed babies do well with a newborn flow nipple (1 hole) or level 1 nipple (2 holes) when moving up to 4 oz bottles. This provides a slower flow to mimic nursing. Size up if frustrated by slow flow.

How do I know if baby is full after 4 oz?

Signs your newborn is full after taking 4 oz: closing mouth, falling asleep, decreased sucking, turning head away, relaxed hands and arms, loss of interest in feeding. Crying or pulling off breast may signal overfull.

Should I warm 4 oz bottles?

Warming bottles is not medically necessary but can improve feeding tolerance. Check temperature before feeding. Running hot water over the bottle or bottle warmers work well. Don’t microwave – this creates hot spots.

Age Average Feeding Amount
Newborn 1-3 oz
1 month 2-4 oz
2 months 4-6 oz
3 months 4-8 oz
4 months 6-8 oz


The transition from small 2-3 oz newborn feeds to larger 4 oz feeds is a big milestone. Pay attention to your baby’s signals, go at their pace, and consult your pediatrician if any issues come up. With time and patience, your baby will soon master that 4 oz amount at each feeding. Enjoy this special time watching your little one grow!

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