Why is My Baby Eating Less Formula?
If your baby’s appetite seems to be dropping, it’s hard not to worry. But, chances are, you don’t need to. Changes in appetite are totally normal, particularly if your baby is 3 or 4 months old.
Let’s run through the reasons your little one might be eating less, when you can relax about it, and the signs that it may be time to get them checked over.
The 3 month baby appetite drop
Around 3 months old, or perhaps a little later, many babies start to need less formula. You might find that, where they were finishing bottles before (and perhaps still looking hungry after that!), they’ll start to leave the last oz or so.
If this means they’re not getting the recommended 24oz a day, is this a problem? In short, no. At this age, your baby’s growth rate is slowing down. The first month or two, a baby usually will put on weight fast, and feed little and often to fuel this growth. At 3 months, that crazy growth rate is settling down, and with it, their appetite.
Instead of looking just at the ounces your baby is taking, look for the signs that they’re developing normally and feeling happy.
When to worry about feeding – and the signs your baby is doing well
There are three key things you need to look at if you have any concerns about your baby’s appetite or growth: weight gain, disposition and diapers.
Up until 4 months, the average baby will gain around 5-7 ounces a week (or 1-2 pounds a month). From 4-6 months, this slows to 4-6 ounces a week, and from 6 months, it’s 2-4 ounces.
To check your baby’s weight without a trip to the doctor’s office, you can weigh yourself twice – once with your baby in your arms, and once without. The difference between the two figures will give you your baby’s weight.
If you’re worried, try doing this again a week later and you’ll see if they’ve put on weight. Though of course, if you have serious immediate concerns, don’t wait a week before seeking medical advice.
Most parents instinctively know when their baby’s happy, and when they’re not feeling quite right. If your previously content, relaxed baby is suddenly fussy and grumpy with no obvious explanation like teething, then you might have reason to be concerned.
If they seem happy, interested in food and satisfied after a feed (even if they don’t take all of it), then you can almost certainly relax.
When a baby’s eating enough and well-hydrated, they’ll usually have 5-6 wet diapers every day. If you find you’re getting fewer, or their urine looks dark yellow or orange, that’s a sign they’re not getting enough milk.
Also keep an eye on their poop. While formula-fed babies’ poop is usually less liquid than for breastfed babies, it should never be hard or dry. If it is, that’s another sign they may need more milk.
Always get medical help if you’re worried
If you have any worries about weight, disposition or diapers – contact your pediatrician. It might be nothing, but it’s always worth getting them checked out if you’re unsure. Any medical professional will tell you that they’re always happy to reassure a worried parent.
But if all these things are OK, just continue to keep an eye on your little one, and keep on enjoying your time together.
Should I change my baby’s formula?
Sometimes, increased fussiness might mean that it’s time to switch to the next stage up, or another brand with a different balance of nutrients.