The Amount of Liquids Your Baby Should Be Drinking at Each Age

Babies begin life with a liquid diet of either breast milk, formula or a combination of the two. They should remain on an entirely liquid diet until around six months when solid solid foods are introduced gradually. By a year, your baby should be eating three meals and two snacks a day of table food and drinking milk as a supplement – not a meal. It’s a fast transition for both mother and child, and the most important part of ensuring a smooth transition is determining how much your child should be drinking over that first year.

Birth to Six Months

Breastfeeding

When you breastfeed your baby, you normally don’t have a gauge of how much your baby is actually eating other than the amount of time he spends on each breast. A session of breastfeeding, once established for both mother and child, should take ten to thirty minutes, but can be longer for any number of reasons. As a newborn, your baby might nurse eight to twelve times a day at any interval and this pattern can last up to six months of age.

Bottle Feeding

Formula takes a bit longer to digest, so babies typically wait a bit longer between feedings, and the amounts consumed can vary widely among babies. There is no average amount, but before the introduction of solids, your baby is likely drinking 16 to 32 ounces, or 460 to 940 mL, a day. Some babies drink more or less, and the best way to gauge if the amount is correct is to check your baby’s weight gain and growth over time. Your doctor will be doing this at every appointment.

A more numerical approach to the amount a child should be eating is offered by the American Academy of Pediatrics, -On average, your baby should take in about 2 1/2 ounces of formula a day for every pound of body weight.- This translates to 24 to 36 ounces of formula after four months for most babies.

Six Months to One Year

Around six months you will start introducing solid foods. During this period of introduction, the solid foods are a supplement to the milk-based diet, but over the remaining months, solid food will become the basis of your baby’s diet and he will be supplemented first by breast milk or formula and then by cow’s milk (unless you continue to nurse after this point.)

At six months your child will be nursing on demand or drinking close to 36 ounces of formula per day. This requirement should hold steady over the next few months as you increase his diet in solid foods. As solids become more proficient, milk will actually decrease until he is drinking only about two cups at his first birthday per day. The two cup requirement is an average and is the same for toddlers and young children of all ages.

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