Your 4-month-old baby is showing more signs of their personality every day—and we agree that those giggles are simply the sweetest thing! With all that movement (rolling, reaching, stretching) and engagement with the world around them, your baby can work up an appetite in a hurry. Whether you are breastfeeding, formula-feeding or combo-feeding, you are undeniably skilled by now at recognizing and responding to your baby’s feeding needs.
How much should a 4-month-old eat?
The American Academy of Pediatrics and La Leche League recommend the following feeding schedules and amounts for 4-month-olds.
Breast milk: Four to six ounces every three to four hours
Formula: Four to six ounces every four hours
The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) also recommends that parents should follow the responsive feeding method, also known as feeding on demand, which looks to the infant’s hunger cues for when to feed. The schedules below are just examples—be sure to follow your baby’s hunger signals to know when your little one is ready for the next feeding. As babies get older, their hunger cues and feeding times start to become a little more predictable.
Related: 4-month-old baby milestones
What’s a good 4-month-old feeding schedule?
Remember, it’s more important that you follow your baby’s cues than adhere to a set schedule, so schedules outlined are general guides of how frequently you’ll feed your baby—not hard-and-fast rules.
These guidelines also apply primarily to infants born full-term and without any underlying medical conditions. For preterm infants, babies with certain medical conditions or for any specific questions pertaining to your child, be sure to consult your child’s pediatrician for a more customized feeding schedule.
Related: Baby Sleep Guides & Schedules
What to know about early introduction of common food allergens
At four months, your baby still isn’t ready for a steady diet of solid foods—AKA almost anything other than breastmilk or formula. However, recent guidelines outlined in the journal Allergy, Asthma & Clinical Immunology make an exception: Infants who are at the highest risk for developing severe food allergies (based on pre-existing severe eczema and/or egg allergy), likely benefit from introduce an age-appropriate peanut-friendly food between the ages of four and six months. For this group, allergy testing is recommended prior to the introduction of peanuts and a pediatrician should be consulted. In terms of limiting the development of severe food allergies, there are promising results from this kind of early exposure, though!
With the introduction of solid food right around the corner, you may feel a mix of excitement and anxiety about what that means—especially when it comes to managing possible food allergies. It’s never too early to start the conversation with your child’s health care provider. And, remember, your gut instincts matter.
Read more about wellness for mama and your 4-month-old:
- How much sleep does a 4-month-old need?
- Motherly’s Postpartum Wellness Class is here!
- Subscribe to the Becoming Mama podcast
- It’s not selfish to take a break, mama
A version of this story was published October 17, 2021. It has been updated.