Baby still hungry after bottle feed

Formula Feeding FAQs: How Much and How Often (for Parents)

Whether you plan to formula feed your baby from the start, want to supplement your breast milk with formula, or are switching from breast milk to formula, you probably have questions.

Here are answers to some common questions about formula feeding.

How Often Should I Feed My Baby?

Newborns and young babies should be fed whenever they seem hungry. This is called on-demand feeding.

After the first few days of life, most healthy formula-fed newborns feed about every 2–3 hours. As they get bigger and their tummies can hold more milk, they usually eat about every 3–4 hours. As babies get older, they’ll settle into a more predictable feeding routine and go longer stretches at night without needing a bottle.

Talk to your doctor if you have concerns about feeding your baby, especially if your baby is very small, is not gaining weight, or was born early (prematurely).

How Can I Tell When My Baby Is Hungry?

Signs that babies are hungry include:

  • moving their heads from side to side
  • opening their mouths
  • sticking out their tongues
  • placing their hands, fingers, and fists to their mouths
  • puckering their lips as if to suck
  • nuzzling again their mothers' breasts
  • showing the rooting reflex (when a baby moves its mouth in the direction of something that's stroking or touching its cheek)

Babies should be fed before they get upset and cry. Crying is a late sign of hunger. But every time your baby cries is not because of hunger. Sometimes babies just need to be cuddled or changed. Or they could be sick, tired, too hot or too cold, in pain, or have colic.

How Much Should My Baby Drink?

In the first few weeks, give 2- to 3-ounce (60- to 90-milliliter) bottles to your newborn. Give more or less depending on your baby’s hunger cues.

Here's a general look at how much your baby may be eating at different ages:

  • On average, a newborn drinks about 1.5–3 ounces (45–90 milliliters) every 2–3 hours. This amount increases as your baby grows and can take more at each feeding.
  • At about 2 months, your baby may drink about 4–5 ounces (120–150 milliliters) every 3–4 hours.
  • At 4 months, your baby may drink about 4–6 ounces (120-180 milliliters) at each feeding, depending on how often they eat.
  • By 6 months, your baby may drink 6–8 ounces (180–230 milliliters) about 4–5 times a day.  

Watch for signs that your baby is hungry or full. Respond to these cues and let your baby stop when full. A baby who is full may suck with less enthusiasm, stop, or turn away from the bottle.

Why Does My Baby Seem Hungrier Than Usual?

As babies grow, they begin to eat more at each feeding and can go longer between feedings. Still, there may be times when your little one seems hungrier than usual.

Your baby may be going through a period of rapid growth (called a growth spurt). These can happen at any time, but in the early months are common at around:

  • 7–14 days old
  • between 3–6 weeks
  • 4 months
  • 6 months

During these times and whenever your baby seems especially hungry, follow their hunger cues and continue to feed on demand, increasing the amount of formula you give as needed.

Is My Baby Eating Enough?

At times, you may wonder whether your baby is getting enough nutrients for healthy growth and development. Babies who get enough to eat seem satisfied after eating and are regularly peeing and pooping.

At your baby’s checkups, the doctor will review your baby’s growth chart, track your little one’s development, and answer any questions. Talk to your doctor if you have any concerns about your baby’s feeding and nutrition.

Reviewed by: Mary L. Gavin, MD

Date reviewed: November 2021

Hungry Baby - Why Is My Baby Always Hungry? – Baby Care Advice

We all appreciate that young babies have tiny tummies and are growing at a rate that is faster than any other time in their lives. Hence, they need to eat often. However, when parents express concern about their ‘hungry baby’ this refers to a baby that appears to be excessively hungry, who demands feeds more often than expected, or is eating well above the recommended volume of milk for a baby of his age and size.

The ‘hungry baby’ phenomenon where babies act like they have an insatiable appetite is especially common in babies younger than 3 months of age.

The first step toward finding a solution that will satisfy your baby is to distinguish between the reasons for genuine hunger and the appearance of hunger. In this article, I explain what causes healthy babies to act like they’re excessively hungry and what you can do to promote your baby’s contentment.

Genuine hunger

There are several reasons why babies might be genuinely hungry and need to feed sooner or require more milk than you expect. These include:

1. Normal behavior

2. Cluster feeding

3. Growth spurt

4. Catch-up growth

5. Poor latch

6. Low breastmilk supply

7. Diluted baby formula

8. Extreme vomiting or diarrhea

1. Normal behavior

If you’re a first-time parent, it may be that you are unfamiliar with the huge range of ‘normal’ infant feeding patterns and behaviors. The first step is to clarify your expectations about your baby’s feeding with his healthcare professional.

If it’s confirmed that he’s feeding more often or consuming greater volumes than expected for a baby of his age and weight, consider if any of the multiple reasons for the appearance of hunger, described later in this article, apply.

2. Cluster feeding

‘Cluster feeding’, which is a pattern of frequent nursing in the afternoons and evenings, is an example of normal feeding behavior for breastfed babies. A breastfed baby could demand feeds every one to two hourly when cluster feeding.

3. Growth spurt

How quickly a baby is growing will influence his appetite. Babies' growth occurs in a step-wise pattern. Growth spurts (a period of accelerated growth) are separated by growth plateaus (a period of stagnant growth). During a growth spurt, your baby may appear to be hungrier than usual. If breastfeeding, he may demand nursing more often. If bottle-feeding, he might drain the bottle and want a little more. 

On the flip side, during a growth plateau, your baby’s appetite will reduce and his milk volumes decrease. He might also go longer periods of time between nursing or feeding sessions. 

4. Catch-up growth

Catch-up growth is a period of accelerated, compensatory growth (faster than typical for age) which occurs after the removal or resolution of a problem that previously caused under-nutrition or growth delay.

5. Poor latch

If a breastfed baby is unable to feed to satisfaction as a result of a poor latch, he will demand frequent nursing.

6. Low milk supply

If a breastfeeding mother has a low milk supply, her baby may demand to feed more often. (See our article on How to tell when baby is getting enough breastmilk.)

7. Diluted formula

If a baby’s infant formula is accidentally diluted, perhaps due to using the wrong scoop or not accurately following the manufacturer’s instructions, this would decrease the calories he would receive, and he would want to feed more often. 

8. Extreme vomiting or diarrhea

If your baby vomits often and hence loses much of the milk he receives while feeding, he may demand to feed more often. However, it’s important to take care to avoid overfeeding because it’s one of the most common reasons for healthy babies to vomit.

Similarly, if he has frequent watery bowel motions as a result of a digestive disorder, for example milk protein allergy or intolerance, he may be losing nutrients and calories due to poor digestion, and hence demand more frequent feeding.

Rule out the possibility of a feeding management problem such as lactose overload before assuming the cause is due to milk protein allergy or intolerance, as this is one of the most common reasons for healthy, thriving babies to have frequent, watery stools, extreme gas, and abdominal discomfort.

Needless to say, if your baby appears unwell or is not gaining sufficient weight, consult with his healthcare professional. 

Surprisingly, it's typically babies who have no problems putting on weight that are the most difficult to satisfy. If this is the case, it may be that one of the following reasons is mistaken as hunger.

Why babies APPEAR hungry 

Infant behavioral cues are not easy to read, especially before 3 months of age. There are many reasons why parents might think their baby is hungry when he is not. These include:

1. Misinterpreting behavior cues

2. Frequent feeding patterns

3. Underlying sleeping problem

4. Abdominal discomfort linked to overfeeding

While it's possible for there to be only one cause, generally there is a combination of the reasons listed below.

1. Misinterpreting behavioral cues

Hunger is one of the first things we suspect when a baby fusses, cries, or looks like he wants to suck. However, hunger is only one of many different reasons for babies to display these behaviors. Other reasons include:

Infant reflexes

Infant reflexes such as rooting and hand-to-mouth are often assumed to be signs of hunger. Sucking and swallowing reflexes are often mistaken as confirmation that a baby is genuinely hungry. However, these reflexes can be triggered irrespective of whether a baby is hungry or not.

Sucking urge

Young babies have a strong urge to suck. They often want to suck when tired, overstimulated, bored, uncomfortable,or for pleasure. Consequently, a baby's desire to suck is not proof that he is hungry.

Tiredness cues Babies display signs of tiredness differently than we expect. Tired signs displayed by young babies include clenched fists, waving arm and leg movements, facial grimaces, fussing and grumbling then crying. Infant tiredness cues are often overlooked or misinterpreted as hunger, boredom, or pain. 


A thirsty baby may give the impression of hunger. Once a baby starts to eat solid foods, it’s recommended that he be offered small volumes of water during the day in addition to his usual milk feeds.

2. Frequent feeding patterns

Babies can develop a pattern of frequent feeding - often referred to as snack-feeding or grazing - where they take small volumes of breastmilk or infant formula at each feed. As a result, they demand feeds more often.

Snack-feeding is easily identifiable when a bottle-fed baby consumes small volumes. However, it’s not as readily recognizable when a baby is breastfed. Many breastfeeding mothers mistakenly blame low milk supply when their baby wants to nurse every hour or two.

3. Speed-feeding

Babies have an immature nervous system. It takes time for their brain to register that their stomach is full. Speed-feeding means a baby consumes the milk too quickly. Speed-feeding can result in newborn babies overfeeding before they recognize they have had enough. (See How long to feed for ideal feeding duration for age.) 

4. Underlying sleeping problem

An unresolved sleeping problem is a major reason for infant feeding problems including the appearance of hunger, fussy feeding behavior, overfeeding, and underfeeding. A sleep association problem is the most common of all reasons for healthy babies to experience sleeping problems such as brief naps, frequent night awakenings and irritability due to sleep deprivation.

Without understanding the effects of sleep associations on their baby’s ability to fall asleep and remain asleep, many parents mistakenly assume the cause is hunger.

While there are many different props, activities, or conditions that individual babies could learn to associate with the act of falling asleep, feeding to sleep is especially common during the newborn period.

A feeding-sleep association, which means a baby has learned to link feeding with the act of falling asleep, is even more likely to cause a baby to give the appearance of hunger.

Once a feeding-sleep association is established (which can occur in babies as young as 2 weeks of age) the baby will act like he wants to feed whenever he wants to sleep because he's learned that "This is the way I go to sleep".

3. Abdominal discomfort linked to overfeeding

One or a combination of the reasons for the appearance of hunger described above, e.g., misinterpreting behavioral cues, a feeding-sleep association, and speed-feeding in combination with an active sucking reflex will increase the risk of overfeeding in newborns. 

The symptoms of overfeeding can include spitting up, diarrhea, and abdominal discomfort.

What do babies like to do when uncomfortable? They like to suck! If a baby’s desire to suck for comfort is mistaken as hunger, he will be offered another feed, perpetuating the overfeeding cycle.  

What you can do for an insatiably hungry baby

1. Resolve any feeding problem: This includes feeding position, latch, flow rate, supply problems, and bottle-feeding equipment.

2. Resolve any sleeping problem: Better sleep = better feeding, and the combination adds up to a content baby.

3. Don’t assume he’s hungry: If your baby appears hungry sooner than expected, consider the possibility of other causes like tiredness, discomfort, or desire to suck, before assuming the cause is hunger.

4. Satisfy your baby’s sucking needs: Provide a pacifier, or your finger to suck on. He will let you know if he’s not satisfied to suck without receiving milk.

Completing the above steps will go a long way towards helping you to gain more confidence in understanding your baby’s needs and accurately interpreting his behavioral cues. 

How Baby Care Advice can help

We appreciate that unless you have extensive experience in child development and the effect of different infant feeding and settling practices on a baby’s behavior, it can be difficult to know how and where to start to resolve a baby care problem. There are two ways in which we can help you gain a greater understand of your baby’s needs and your role as your baby’s parent and caregiver.

1. Rowena Bennett’s parenting books

2. Baby Care Advice consultation 

3. Rowena's Online Bottle-Feeding Aversion Program

1. Rowena Bennett’s parenting books

‘Your Sleepless Baby’

Good quality sleep not only promotes babies’ contentment it will reduce the risk of feeding problems. Information contained in my book, ‘Your Sleepless Baby’, is designed to help parents to understand their baby’s sleep needs, how their actions influence their baby's sleep, and ways in which parents can improve the quality of their baby's sleep.

2. Baby Care Advice Consultations

Baby Care Advice consultants have extensive experience in providing parenting education and assisting parents to resolve feeding and sleeping problems that affect healthy babies. A Baby Care Advice consultation will assist you to explore all possible reasons for your healthy baby’s discontentment. The information, guidance, and advice you receive will help you to gain greater confidence in your ability to accurately interpret your baby’s behavioral cues and provide for his needs. (For more on our consultation service).

3. Rowena's Online Bottle-Feeding Aversion Program

By Rowena Bennett, RN, RM, CHN, MHN, IBCLC.

Written Revised Aug 2021

Copyright 2021. All rights reserved. Permission from the author must be obtained to reproduce all or any part of this article.

Baby won't take a bottle | Philips Avent

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any problems. If your breastfed baby refuses a bottle, don't worry. This is a common occurrence in many babies who are used to breastfeeding. Obviously, this can create certain difficulties for moms, especially if you need to return to work in the near future.

3 Philips Avent products to help you bottle feed:

So why is your baby refusing to bottle and crying? There are many ways to quickly and easily teach a breastfed baby to a bottle. Here are important tips on what to do when your baby refuses a bottle.

Is the baby refusing the bottle? Take a step back

If your baby cries while bottle feeding, the first thing to do is to start over and rethink your feeding approach and technique. Try the following steps when bottle feeding your baby: [1]

  1. Lift and tilt your baby's head forward. Before inserting the pacifier into the baby's mouth, make sure that the baby's head is raised and tilted over his body to avoid choking: so that the baby does not choke and have the opportunity to burp during bottle feeding.
  2. Insert the pacifier. Bring the pacifier to the baby's lips and gently guide it into the baby's mouth. In no case do not try to press the nipple on the baby's lips and try to push it into his mouth. After touching the pacifier to the baby's lips, wait for the baby to open his mouth and take the pacifier.
  3. Hold the bottle at an angle. Tilt the bottle at an angle so that the nipple is only half full. So the child can eat at his own pace.
  4. Let the baby burp during and after feeding. It can be useful for a child to burp not only after feeding, but also approximately in the middle of the process. This will help reduce gas or tummy discomfort that your baby may experience from swallowing too much air.
  5. Stop in time, do not overfeed the baby. If the baby begins to turn his head away from the bottle or closes his mouth, then he is full and you need to stop feeding.
  6. Perhaps the flow of milk from the nipple to the baby is weak or, on the contrary, too fast, so he is naughty and refuses the bottle. Try changing the nipple to a nipple with a different flow.​

Other tips if your baby refuses the bottle

If you've followed the steps above and your baby still refuses the bottle, don't worry. There are other ways to help bottle feed your baby. Here are some simple tricks you can add to your bottle feeding process. [2]

1. Remind your child about mom.

Sometimes a child can be fed by someone other than his mother - dad, grandmother or, for example, a nanny. If your baby fusses while bottle feeding, try wrapping the bottle in something that smells like mommy, like a piece of clothing or some fabric. This will make it easier to feed the baby when the mother is not around.

2. Try to maintain skin contact while bottle feeding.

Some babies need contact with their mother, so try bottle feeding while leaning against you. However, some babies are better at bottle feeding when they are in the exact opposite position than when they are breastfed. For example, there is a position with bent legs. Lay the child on your bent knees, facing you, pointing the child's legs towards your stomach. During feeding, the baby will be able to look at you and contact you in this way. If your baby refuses a bottle, experiment to see which works best.

3. Move while feeding.

Sometimes all it takes to get your baby to take the bottle is a little wiggle or walk. The next time your baby starts crying while bottle feeding, try moving around a little rhythmically to calm him down.

4. Try changing the milk temperature.

If the baby still does not want to take the bottle, check if the milk in the bottle is too hot or too cold. Before feeding, put some warm breast milk on the inside of your wrist to check the temperature. Milk should be warm, but if it seemed hot to you, just place the bottle for a short while under a stream of cold water.

Choosing the right bottle for your baby If you plan to combine bottle feeding with breastfeeding, it is advisable to choose bottles with a nipple that will have a wide base as the bottle will grip closer to the breast.

Also pay attention to the fact that the nipple is firm and flexible, the child must make an effort to drink from the bottle, as well as from the breast. Give preference to nipples with an anti-colic valve that vents air out of the bottle.

​Natural bottle allows you to combine breast and bottle feeding. 83.3% of babies switch from a Natural bottle to breastfeeding and back.*

If you choose a bottle for artificial feeding, traditional bottles are fine, but it is desirable that the nipple is made of a hypoallergenic material, such as silicone, has an anti-colic valve and did not stick together when bottle fed. In case your baby spit up often, then use special bottles with anti-colic and anti-reflux valve, which reduces the risk of spitting up and colic.​​

Bottle with unique AirFree valve reduces the risk of colic, gas and spitting up. With this bottle, you can feed your baby in an upright or semi-upright position to reduce spitting up. Due to the fact that the nipple is filled with milk and not air during feeding, the baby does not swallow air, which means that feeding will be more comfortable.

Both bottles are indispensable if you want to breastfeed, bottle feed or just bottle feed your baby.

“My baby refuses to breastfeed but bottle feeds – help!”

Sometimes a baby gets used to bottle feeding and refuses to breastfeed. Therefore, it is important to use bottles that are suitable for combining breastfeeding with bottle feeding. If, nevertheless, you are faced with the fact that the child refuses to take the breast, try using silicone nipple covers to make the transition from the bottle to the breast and back more imperceptible.

Remember that if you want to combine breastfeeding and bottle feeding, it is worth waiting at least a month before offering a bottle, so that you are lactating and have time to get used to each other and develop a breastfeeding regimen.​

Breastfeed and bottle feed your baby with pleasure

Remember that it takes a while for your baby to get used to bottle feeding. This is completely normal. If you have to go to work, be sure to set aside enough time to bottle train your baby beforehand.

Remember that every child is different, so what works for one may not work for another. With a little time and patience, you will find out what works best for your baby when he refuses a bottle.

You will identify your child's unique needs. However, if your baby still refuses the bottle after all the steps above, check with your pediatrician.

Articles and tips from Philips Avent


*O.L. Lukoyanova, T.E. Borovik, I.A. Belyaeva, G.V. Yatsyk; NTsZD RAMS; 1st Moscow State Medical University THEM. Sechenova, "The use of modern technological methods to maintain successful breastfeeding", RF, 10/02/2012 3 - The Baby Who Doesn't Nurse - Introducing a Bottle to a Breastfed Baby

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Bottle feeding | Bebbo

Submitted by Ilya Danshyn on Wed, 12/08/2021 - 18:40

Sometimes the baby cannot breastfeed, so you have to express milk and bottle feed the baby. Some babies are formula fed because, for some reason, breastfeeding is not possible, or lactation has stopped prematurely, or you have chosen to formula feed your baby.

  • Make sure that the rate at which milk flows from the bottle through the nipple is appropriate for the baby.
  • To check this, turn the filled bottle upside down.
  • Milk should drip quickly, not squirt. If you have to shake the bottle hard to make the milk drip, it means that the nipple is not providing the normal intensity of feeding.
  • The baby can fall asleep even before he has eaten everything from the bottle.
  • It is normal for a small amount of milk to leak from the corners of the mouth; it will stop when the child gets older.
  • If you can't find the perfect nipple, choose the one that produces the most milk; it's okay if you have to go through how many nipples before you find one that's right for you and your baby.

How to bottle feed your baby
  • Sit back and hold your baby in your arms, gently but firmly. It is better for the baby to be in a more upright position, similar to the position when breastfeeding.
  • Place the pacifier between the baby's lips; he will open his mouth and start sucking.
  • Hold the bottle at an angle so that the nipple and mouth of the bottle are constantly filled with milk; this will prevent the child from swallowing air.
  • When the baby stops actively sucking or has eaten half the milk from the bottle, carefully remove the bottle and check if he wants to burp; after that, you can continue feeding.
  • Change the position of the baby during feeding or at least at each feeding; this allows even stimulation of the baby's sensations on both sides of the body and prevents positional deformation of the head.

How much milk does a baby need?
  • The number of meals and the amount of milk is determined by the baby! Different babies require different amounts of breast milk or formula. Feeding time is not always evenly distributed over the time of day, sometimes children eat more during the day, followed by a long night break.
  • If you are formula feeding, check the chart on the box. Of course, the recommended serving size for your age will only serve as a guideline and may not necessarily be appropriate for your child.
  • When a baby begins to receive complementary foods, as the amount of solid food increases, the baby's need for milk decreases.
  • The amount of formula your baby eats will decrease when he switches from bottle to cup.
  • By the age of 12 months, when a baby can switch to cow's milk, he usually receives 500-600 ml of breast milk or formula per day.

Some babies never eat the recommended amount of milk for their age and height. For some, this "recommended" volume is not enough. At least six wet diapers during the day, constant but not excessive weight gain, a healthy and active child - all this indicates that everything is in order. If you are concerned that your baby is not getting enough milk or formula, contact your doctor.

Responsive feeding from the bottle in accordance with the needs of the child
  • Feed the baby when he shows that he is hungry and not according to the schedule, follow his signals.
  • Do not feed the baby if he is not hungry, just because the formula is already prepared - this can lead to overfeeding the baby.
  • When a baby is bottle fed, there is no difference between foremilk and hind milk that affects the feeling of fullness in a breastfed baby.
  • The child is often held so that the milk simply flows into the mouth, rather than actively suckling; in this case, he eats too much milk too quickly.
  • During feeding, watch the baby for signs of satiety - he turns away from the bottle, sucks lazily - and stop feeding in time.
  • Hold the baby close to you during feeding, hug and talk to him; it stimulates growth and development and also strengthens the bond between you and your child.
  • The baby did not eat everything from the bottle and fell asleep while eating.
  • Don't worry if the baby didn't eat everything; he knows how much formula or breast milk he needs.
  • If the child falls asleep while eating, put him on your shoulder, stroke or pat him on the back and legs; Changing diapers is also an effective way to wake up a baby.
  • Wait until the baby is awake before giving the rest of the milk.

Always empty the remaining milk from the bottle if more than an hour has passed!

Night feeding