97 Cornerstone Drive, Cary NC 27519 (Stone Creek Village)

Formula-Feeding Your Baby

Formula-Feeding Your Baby

Choosing a baby formula

There are so many infant formulas on the market that it can be difficult to choose the right one for your baby. When breastmilk is not an option, the doctors at Cornerstone recommend an iron-fortified infant formula for the first year of life. Iron-fortified formula is necessary to prevent anemia and does not contain enough iron to cause constipation.No one brand is best for all babies. 

When you select a formula, make sure you check the expiration date, that the package is well sealed and without damage, and that it’s labeled “iron-fortified formula for babies” (not for toddlers). All infant formulas sold in the United States meet minimum FDA standards.  Never substitute a homemade baby formula, cow or another animal’s milk, or infant formula sold in other countries for iron-fortified baby formula. These products can cause nutritional deficiency or serious injury to your child.

Cow’s milk-based formula is a good choice for most babies, but some infants have medical conditions, or are part of a vegan family and require hydrolyzed (predigested) or soy iron-fortified formulas. Talk with your doctor if you feel your baby is having trouble digesting his or her formula.


Preparing Formula

If you are using powdered formula, always pay close attention to the manufacturer’s directions for formula preparation and use a safe water supply. Always wash your hands before preparing bottles or formula and use only clean bottles and nipples.


  • Always throw away formula that has been at room temperature for more than an hour.  
  • Do not re-refrigerate bottles that your baby has used because bacteria from the mouth will cause the formula to spoil quickly. 
  • Prepared powdered formula lasts 24 hours in the refrigerator. 
  • Opened ready-to-feed formula lasts 48 hours n the refrigerator.

How Much to Feed

In the first 3 days of life, babies take tiny feedings of 1-2 ounces (30 to 60ml) every 2 to 3 hours. By the third day, most babies can take 2-3 ounces (60-90ml) about every 3 hours. 

After the first month o life, your baby will probably take about 4 ounces (120ml) every 4 hours, or about 24 ounces in a 24-hour period. By the time he or she is 6 months old, he or she may take larger feedings of 6 to 8 ounces (180-240ml) less often, about 4 to 5 feedings a day, while sleeping through the night.

The amount of formula infants take varies from baby to baby and from time to time. During times of rapid growth, your baby will want more formula.

It’s important to pay attention to hunger cues

Babies tell you they’re hungry by rooting toward anything that brushes against their face, smacking their lips, sucking on their hands, or if very hungry, crying. 

When a baby is through eating he or she will release the nipple and turn away from the bottle. Young infants often fall asleep and let some formula dribble out of their mouths. Older babies will often smile and flirt with you when they’re done.


Paced Bottle-Feeding helps prevent spit-ups, over-feeding, and ear infections

Select a low-flow nipple for most babies. Hold your baby in your lap at an angle that is about halfway between sitting and lying down, never lying flat. When your baby opens his or her mouth wide, insert the nipple with the bottle held horizontally to the floor, NOT tilted up. 

Your baby will suck off and on during the feeding. When he or she takes a break from sucking, tilt the bottle down so no milk is in the nipple until he or she starts sucking again, then tilt the bottle back to horizontal. Continue doing this until your baby shows cues of being through. You will need to stop every couple of ounces to burp your baby at first, but as your baby gets older, he or she will often stop sucking and start squirming when he or she needs to burp.


If you have formula feeding questions, call our office during office hours and speak with our lactation consultant or our experienced triage nurses at 919-460-0993.


At a year of age, your child can be switched to whole cow’s milk, about 16 ounces a day.

Patient Portal