Last updated September 9th, 2020
At 3 months old, your little baby is achieving new milestones and making big strides in personal development. Smiles are more common, and so is the cooing 🙂
Your baby’s body is developing at a rapid pace, and I know you want to make sure they’re well-fed during these times.
How much your 3-month-old should eat depends on each individual baby. Aside from looking at their activity levels, you also want to see how many diapers they’re going through on a daily basis and get cues on their emotional behavior. Since each baby is unique, how much they eat will vary drastically, which is why it’s important to observe their cues to see if they’re feeling well-fed and content.
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How often and how much should your baby eat?
This is a commonly asked question among new parents, and the answer is pretty simple and straightforward. According to Dr. Sanjeev Jain, babies should be fed whenever they seem hungry.
Similar to how we should all eat, babies don’t have any set schedule to eat, and will usually signal to you whenever they are hungry. As babies leave their newborn state, some will have a more active appetite while others might ask for fewer feedings.
No set schedule is in place, and it’s best to keep a journal to actively log how often they’re eating.
This phase of your little one (0-6 months) is especially active for parents as you try to keep up and stress over the well being of your little one. See my other post on if your baby is not drinking enough milk, to get tips and insight on if it’s something to worry about or monitor over time.
Well if that’s the case, how do you know when your baby is hungry?
My favorite thing to have learned as my little one was growing up, is to understand her different cues. From the way she cried (yes there are different cries for different needs) to the way she signaled how she was feeling, cues were extremely helpful during a time when I couldn’t directly communicate with my little one.
When it comes to hunger, your baby will share many cues that he or she is hungry. Here are some to look out for:
- Licking lips
- Getting fussy
- Rooting (moving mouth in search for breast)
- Sucking on anything they can get their hands on
These and other cues should help you start understanding immediately when your 3-month-old baby is hungry.
General guidelines for 3-month-old baby feeding
Each baby is different, but here’s a ballpark guideline to review to see if your baby is within range.
Around this age, your baby might take anywhere from 3-5 ounces of milk per feeding, every 3-4 hours.
Comparing that insight from Dr. Sanjeev Jain to my own expereince, I noticed that my daughter at 3 months would usually take about 4 ounces every 3 hours. Right in the average range.
Usually, she would drink all of it during the feeding, and sometimes she would leave some extra. I definitely made sure not to overfeed her and would keep the bottle aside for a little time.
Since it was usually frozen breastmilk that was warmed up, we had limited time after it was warmed for it to be usable, after about 2 hours of being out in room temperature, you’re supposed to dispose it.
Overfeeding your baby is another problem in itself. I know you want to be a good parent and make sure your little one has a proper feeding, but spit-ups from overfeeding can be mild to severe and do you and your baby no good.
One tip, something I learned from my pediatrician, is to log down their feedings and then review how they did on a daily basis, not per feeding.
Around 3 months, my child was recommended to have about 18-20 ounces of milk per day, and we would log each bottle feeding to see where the daily total was.
How do I know if my baby isn’t eating enough at 3 months?
If you’ve been logging your regular bottle or breastmilk feedings with your little one, and don’t think your baby is eating enough, then it might be best to meet with your pediatrician.
Before you meet with them, you could do a few things to diagnose at home.
– Just like you log the regular milk intake, you can also log diaper changes and how many are wet/poop. This way you can see what goes in and what’s coming out to share with your pediatrician.
– Keep an eye on those cues. I’ll say it again, cues from your baby will help you understand if your baby is just content with what they’re eating, or if they just might need less amount of milk but in more frequency during the day.
Once you have this information, you can visit your baby’s pediatrician to share the information. There, you can also get the weight, height, and other measurements to compare to the growth charts for a 3-month-old to see what percentile your babe is in.
Some other thoughts on your baby’s eating habits
I found some questions asked online by other parents that I wanted to share here, and also share the answer based on my research. I hope these help you get a better understanding of everything food-wise for your 3-month-old baby.
Can babies have cereal at 3 months old?
No. Babies at this age should only be having milk, whether that’s breastmilk or formula.
Can my 3-month baby have water?
No. Your baby should be introduced to water after 6 months, and anytime before that can cause problems for your little one. Drinking water at this age can lead to water intoxication and get them sick too.
How many bottles should a 3-month-old have a day?
This can vary. As I mentioned earlier, a 3-month-old would usually have anywhere from 3-5 ounces of milk every 3-4 hours.
At this stage in your baby’s life, the only thing they should be consuming is breastmilk (from breast or bottle) or formula milk. No other nutrition is required, and can actually create problems.
When it comes to quantity of milk per day, take my recommendation on logging your baby’s current intake, and then checking with your pediatrician to see if that makes sense.
I mentioned that during my little ones 3-month-old phase, the ideal range was between 18 to 20 ounces a day. So we’d feed her like normal, watch for any cues on if shes too full or possibly hungry after feeding, and review on a daily basis.
Side note, this is also the time when we had issues with keeping our little one’s socks on, I made a post on that sharing some tips too 😉