Nhs baby feeding chart

Formula milk: common questions - NHS

How much formula does my baby need?

Newborn babies need quite small amounts of formula to start with. By the end of their first week, most will need around 150 to 200ml per kilo of their weight a day until they're 6 months old. This amount will vary from baby to baby.

Although most babies settle into a feeding pattern eventually, they vary in how often they want to feed and how much they want to drink.

Feed your baby when they show signs that they want it. Babies tend to feed little and often, so they may not finish their bottle. Having a big feed does not mean your baby will go longer between feeds.

The amount of formula may change if your baby is unwell, in pain due to teething, or having a growth spurt.

How do I know if my baby is getting enough formula?

Your baby's weight gain and the number of wet and dirty nappies will tell you whether your baby is getting enough formula.

Your baby should have around 6 wet nappies a day from a few days after the birth. Nappies should be soaked through with clear or pale yellow urine, or feel heavy.

For the first few days after birth, your baby will pass a dark, sticky substance known as meconium. After the first week your baby should start to pass pale yellow or yellowish brown poo.

Your baby will usually be weighed at birth and again at around 5 and 10 days. After that healthy babies only need to be weighed once a month up to 6 months of age.

This information should be entered on a chart in your Personal Child Health Record (PCHR) or "red book".

If you have any questions or concerns about your baby's weight gain, speak to a midwife or health visitor.

How will I know if my formula-fed baby is hungry?

After a while, you'll get to know the signs that show your baby is ready to feed:

  • your baby will start to get restless
  • they'll begin to turn their head and open their mouth (rooting)
  • they'll find something to suck – usually their fist or fingers

Try to feed your baby before they cry, as this is a late sign of hunger.

What do I need if I'm formula feeding away from home?

If you need to feed your baby away from home, take with you:

  • a measured amount of formula powder in a small, clean and dry container
  • a vacuum flask of hot water that's just been boiled
  • an empty sterilised feeding bottle with cap and retaining ring in place

The vacuum flask does not need to be sterilised, but should be clean, and only used for your baby. The boiling water should kill any bacteria present in the flask. If the flask is full and sealed, the water will stay above 70C for several hours.

Make up a fresh feed only when your baby needs it. The water must still be hot when you use it, to destroy any bacteria in the formula powder.

Remember to cool the bottle (with the lid on) under cold running water before you feed it to your baby. 

Read more about making up a feed

Alternatively, you could use a carton of ready-to-feed liquid formula when you're away from home.

What if I need to transport a made-up feed?

If it is not possible to follow the advice above, or if you need to transport a feed (for example, to a nursery), prepare the feed at home, cool under a running tap or in a bowl of cold water, and cool it for at least 1 hour in the back of the fridge.

Take it out of the fridge just before you leave and carry it in a cool bag with an ice pack, and use it within 4 hours. If you do not have an ice pack, or access to a fridge, the made-up infant formula must be used within 2 hours.

If made-up formula is stored:

  • in a fridge – use within 24 hours
  • in a cool bag with an ice pack – use within 4 hours
  • at room temperature – use within 2 hours

Can I use bottled water to make up infant formula?

Bottled water is not recommended for making up infant formula feeds for your baby. This is because it's not usually sterile and may contain too much salt (sodium) or sulphate.

See more about using bottled water to make up formula feeds

Video: how do I use the time I spend bottle feeding to help me bond with my baby?

In this video, a midwife talks about how you use the time you spend bottle feeding to bond with your baby.

Media last reviewed: 28 November 2019
Media review due: 28 November 2022

Page last reviewed: 21 November 2019
Next review due: 21 November 2022

Bottle feeding advice - NHS

If you're planning to bottle feed with expressed breast milk or infant formula, these tips will help you feed your baby and keep them safe and healthy.

If you decide to use infant formula, first infant formula (first milk) should always be the first formula you give your baby. You can use it throughout the first year.

Buying bottle feeding equipment

You'll need several bottles, teats and a bottle brush, as well as sterilising equipment, such as a cold-water steriliser, microwave or steam steriliser.

There's no evidence that 1 type of teat or bottle is better than any other. Simple bottles that are easy to wash and sterilise are probably best.

Making up bottles for your baby

Make sure you sterilise bottles and teats until your baby is at least 12 months old. Wash your hands thoroughly before handling sterilised bottle and teats.

If you're using infant formula, follow the instructions on the packaging carefully when you make up the feed.

See how to make up baby formula.

How to bottle feed your baby

Bottle feeding is a chance to feel close to your baby and get to know and bond with them. Babies will feel more secure if most feeds are given by you, your partner or their main caregiver.

Make sure you're sitting comfortably with your baby close to you. Enjoy holding your baby, look into their eyes and talk to them as you feed them.  

Hold your baby in a semi-upright position for bottle feeds. Support their head so they can breathe and swallow comfortably. 

Brush the teat against your baby's lips and when they open their mouth wide let them draw in the teat.  

Always give your baby plenty of time to feed.

Do not leave your baby alone

Never leave your baby alone to feed with a propped-up bottle as they may choke on the milk.

Keep the bottle horizontal

Gently place the teat into the baby’s mouth. Keep the bottle in a horizontal position (just slightly tipped). This will allow the milk to flow steadily and help prevent your baby from taking in air.

If the teat goes flat while you're feeding, pull gently on the corner of your baby's mouth to release the suction.

If the teat gets blocked, replace it with another sterile teat.

Be guided by your baby

All babies are different. Your baby will know how much milk they need. Some want to feed more often than others. Just follow your baby's lead.

Feed your baby when they seem hungry and do not worry if they do not finish the bottle.

Winding your baby

Your baby may take short breaks during a feed and may sometimes need to burp.

When your baby has had enough milk, hold them upright and gently rub or pat their back to bring up any wind.

Throw away unused milk

Throw away any unused formula or breast milk after you've finished bottle feeding your baby.

Only make up the feed when needed – one feed at a time.

Help with bottle feeding

Talk to your midwife, health visitor or other mothers who have bottle fed if you need help and support.

You'll find the phone number for your health visitor in your baby's personal health record (red book).

Your questions about bottle feeding

Why if my baby does not settle after feeds?

If your baby swallows air while bottle feeding, they may feel uncomfortable and cry.

After a feed, hold your baby upright against your shoulder or propped forward on your lap. Gently rub their back so any trapped air can find its way out.

Your baby may sometimes only burp up a small amount of air.

Why is my baby sometimes sick after feeds?

It's normal for babies to bring up a little milk during or just after a feed. This is called possetting, regurgitation or reflux. 

Keep a muslin square handy just in case.

Check that the hole in your baby's teat is not too big. Drinking milk too quickly can make your baby sick.

Do not force them to take more milk than they want during a feed. This may be distressing for your baby and can lead to overfeeding.

Sitting your baby upright on your lap after a feed may help.

If it happens a lot, or your baby is violently sick, seems to be in pain or you're worried for any other reason, talk to your health visitor or GP.

Can formula make my baby constipated?

When using formula, always use the amount of powder recommended on the packaging.

Do not add extra formula powder. Using too much can make your baby constipated and may cause dehydration.

If your baby is under 8 weeks old and has not done a poo for 2 to 3 days, talk to your midwife, health visitor or GP, particularly if your baby is gaining weight slowly.

Your baby should be gaining weight and have plenty of wet and dirty nappies.

Infant formula and allergies

If you think your baby might be allergic to or intolerant of formula, talk to your GP. If necessary, they can prescribe a special formula feed.

Some formula is labelled as hypoallergenic, but this is not suitable for babies with a diagnosed cows' milk allergy.

Soya formula should only be given to babies under medical supervision.

Always talk to your GP before using hypoallergenic or soya-based formula.

Read more about cows' milk allergy and lactose intolerance.

Get Start4Life pregnancy and baby emails

For information and advice you can trust, sign up for weekly Start4Life pregnancy and baby emails.

The Start4Life website also has more information and advice about expressing and bottle feeding

Daily routine for a child under 1 year old

Daily routine is a system for distributing periods of sleep and wakefulness, meals, hygiene and health procedures, activities and independent human activities throughout the day.

Compliance with a rational daily routine corresponding to the age characteristics of the child contributes to his healthy growth and development. Getting used to performing various types of activities at the same time, the child is prepared for the upcoming type of activity at every moment of time, which ensures their easier and faster implementation. Compliance with the correct daily routine provides a good mood for the child and maintains a keen interest in the study of the world around him, contributing to his normal motor and psychoverbal development.

The child's daily routine includes the following obligatory elements: diet, time spent outdoors during the day, frequency and duration of sleep, mandatory classes to develop skills in accordance with age, free time.

In the first months after birth, a healthy newborn baby sleeps for most of the day, since all external stimuli are very strong for the nervous system of a child, accustomed to a cozy intrauterine environment, and cause its rapid exhaustion. As the child grows older, the duration of sleep gradually decreases and the time of wakefulness increases.

Age Daytime sleep mode Night sleep Wake mode
From birth to 2 months 6 x 2.5 hours 6 hours During feeding
2-4 months 5 times 2-2.5 hours 6.5 hours 4 x 1.5 hours
4-6 months 4-5 times for 2 hours 7 hours 4 times 2 hours
6-9 months 3-4 times for 1.5-2 hours 8 hours 4 x 2.5 hours
9-12 months 2 x 1. 5-2 hours 9-10 hours 4 times for 3-4 hours

Closely related to the sleep-wake mode is the feeding mode of the baby. The sleep of a child in the first months of life is very sensitive and is easily disturbed under the influence of various extraneous stimuli, including hunger.

Age Mode Example
From birth to 2 months 7-8 times, every 3 hours 6,9,12,15,18,21,24 (no night feeding)
From 2 to 6 months 6-7 times, every 3.5 hours

6, 9.30, 13, 16.30, 20, 23.30 (without night feeding)

6, 9.30, 13, 16.30, 20, 23.30, 03 (with night feeding)

From 7-12 months 5 times, every 4 hours 6,10,14,18,22

A child's stay in the fresh air is essential in the daily routine. The total duration of stay in the open air for children under 1 year of age should be at least 5-6 hours a day. Fresh air has a calming effect on the baby, improves metabolic processes, and increases the body's defenses. In the summer, all games and activities should be held outdoors; in the cold and transitional seasons, two one-time walks of 1.5-2 hours are provided.

Fresh air also has a beneficial effect on sleep. By acting on the skin and mucous membranes of the nose and upper respiratory tract, it provides a faster fall asleep of the child and a higher quality of sleep. Sleeping outside can replace a walk, especially during the cold season.

The child's daily routine is generally individual, but ideally, one should strive to ensure that the child eats after waking up, and then stays awake until the next sleep. A well-slept baby eats with appetite and then calmly and actively plays or engages, and tired of games, easily goes to sleep.

When your baby is awake, try to keep him active and cheerful. It is necessary to dress the child in loose clothing that does not hinder movement, provide access to toys appropriate for his age, and most importantly, actively participate in games and activities with the baby as a whole family.
Author - Physiotherapist - DMITRIENKO T.G.

Feeding a newborn baby - Mom's Club. All About Pregnancy, Baby & Toddler Development

First Meal

Breastfeeding is the natural way to feed your newborn and create an emotional bond between mom and baby. After giving birth, a healthcare professional can help you with your first feeding. Amazingly, newborns can smell their mother's breast milk. They will “look for” him and open their mouths.

Proper feeding takes practice and can be painful at first, especially if the baby does not latch on. Make sure you are in a comfortable position. Ask your midwife to help you with the technique and you'll get the hang of it very soon. Once you master breastfeeding, the process becomes painless and easy. You can read more about comfortable positions and tips for breastfeeding in our breastfeeding guide.


Colostrum is a nutrient-rich, concentrated milk produced in the first days after childbirth. It has a firm texture and yellow color, and also contains many important antibodies that strengthen the baby's immune system.

When is milk “suitable”?

About two to four days after giving birth, you will feel your breasts filling up. At the start of each feed, foremilk is produced, a rare fluid that quenches your baby's thirst.

During feeding, "hind milk" is produced. It is denser, more nutritious, contains more calories and maintains high levels for a long period of time. Therefore, it is important that your baby completely empty the breast before moving on to the second one.

How often should I breastfeed?

Many new mothers worry that their baby is not getting enough milk. In the first few days, a newborn baby will need only a couple of teaspoons of colostrum per day, since his stomach is no larger than a pea. 2

Despite this, feeding may be required every hour. During the first week of life, a baby can lose up to 10% of its birth weight. He will dial it again by the end of the second week.

Let your baby lead

Don't worry too much about scheduling your newborn baby's feeding. Feed your baby "responsibly" for the first few months.

There won't be any clear pattern, but soon you will start picking up signals that your baby is hungry, for example:

Let baby eat as much as he wants, making sure he has completely emptied your breast before moving on to the second. Remember, you cannot overfeed your baby while breastfeeding. Since a newborn baby does not have a sense of time, he will need to be fed regularly at night, so do not wait for a good night's sleep and rest as often as possible.

Spitting up

Spitting up will help expel excess air from your baby's stomach that can cause discomfort. To do this:

  • Keep your baby and spine in vertical position

  • Support the head and neck

  • Directly spent on the back

  • 9000 9 milk adapts to baby

    Breast milk is a truly amazing food. It not only changes its composition, adapting to the growing needs of the baby, but also contains a different level of calories depending on the gender of the child.

    The Benefits of Breastfeeding

    Breast milk is perfectly adapted to your baby's needs, providing the right amount of vitamins, minerals, fats and proteins for growth. Listed below are just a few of the myriad benefits of breast milk and breastfeeding.

    Breast milk:

    • Contains all the nutrients necessary for the baby in the first 6 months of life

    • Provides antibodies to strengthen the immune system

    • Reduces the development chances of infections, for example, acute digestive disorder

    • Ideal temperature for baby

    • Helps strengthen the emotional bond between mother and baby


    • Reduces mom's risk of ovarian and breast cancer
    • No special equipment or expense required
    • Can burn up to 500 calories per day, helping you naturally return to your pre-pregnancy weight
    • 9018 Tips

      Good nutrition is essential to keeping your baby healthy and getting the right nutrients from breast milk. Breastfeeding is the most important skill you can learn in the early days. The midwife will share tips and techniques to make the process easier - make the most of her help.

      In the early days - and nights - most of your energy will be spent on breastfeeding. Ask your partner, family, and friends to help with household chores, including diaper changes, so you can get as much rest as possible. In the future, you may want to consider expressing breastmilk so that your partner can fill in for you during feedings.


      1. NHS. Breastfeeding: Positioning and attachment [Online]. 2016. Available at: http://www.nhs.uk/Conditions/pregnancy-and-baby/Pages/breastfeeding-positioning-attachment.aspx [Accessed March 2017]
      2. NHS. Breastfeeding: The first few days [Online]. 2016. Available at: http://www.nhs.uk/Conditions/pregnancy-and-baby/Pages/breastfeeding-first-days.aspx [Accessed March 2017]
      3. Tay CCJC et al. Twenty-four hour patterns of prolactin secretion during lactation and the relationship to suckling and the resumption of fertility in breast-feeding women. Human Reprod 1996;11(5):950-55.
      4. NHS. Sore or cracked nipples when breastfeeding [Online]. 2016. Available at: http://www.nhs.uk/Conditions/pregnancy-and-baby/Pages/sore-cracked-nipples-breastfeeding.aspx [Accessed March 2017]

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