WIC in Vermont

Feeding your newborn baby

Breast milk or iron-fortified infant formula has everything your baby needs until around 6 months of age. Newborn babies have small tummies and need to eat every 2 to 3 hours or about 8 to 12 times per day.

Signs of hunger:

  • Sucks on her fist
  • Looks like she’s going to cry
  • Makes fussy sounds

Crying is a late sign of hunger. If you watch and listen to your baby, she will let you know she is hungry before she cries.

Signs of fullness:

It is also important to watch for signs of fullness so you do not overfeed your baby. He will let you know he has had enough when he:

  • Closes his lips
  • Stops sucking
  • Spits the nipple out
  • Turns head away

Most babies will drink about this much each day (24 hours):


0-1 month

1-2 months

2-3 months

4-5 months

5-6 months

Weight Range

5 ½ to 12 lbs.

6 ½ to 14 ½ lbs.

7 to 16 ½ lbs.

10 ½ to 20 lbs.

11 ½ to 21 lbs.


On demand

8-12 times

On demand

7-10 times

On demand

6-9 times

On demand

6-8 times

On demand

6-8 times

Iron-Fortified Formula

On demand

14-31 oz.

On demand

16-38 oz.

On demand

20-43 oz.

On demand

22-46 oz.

On demand

24-49 oz.

Breast milk is recommended for at least the first year of life, and exclusive breastfeeding (no formula, juice or solid foods) is strongly recommended for the first six months.

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How Fast Will My Baby Grow?

  • Your baby will have many growth spurts during the first year. You can tell he’s having a growth spurt when he eats more at a time, or eats more often.
  • Birth weight usually doubles by about 5 months and triples by baby’s first birthday.

Breastfeeding is Best for Your Baby and You

WIC supports breastfeeding as the ideal method for feeding and nurturing infants. Breast milk has all the nutrients your baby needs. It’s fresh, clean, always ready at the right temperature, and it costs less than formula. Breast milk is more easily digested than formula; it protects against diarrhea and infections; and babies usually aren’t allergic to it.

Breastfeeding will give you a special closeness with your baby, and can help burn off the extra weight gained during pregnancy.

Consider breastfeeding. Talk it over with people who are important to you—set your goal, make your plan, and enlist the support of your family and friends. Ask other women about their experience. Connect with a friend that has breastfeed and learn about their breastfeeding experience. Discuss your feeding questions with your nutritionist, public health nurse, childbirth educator, midwife, or physician. They can help you find a breastfeeding information class or support group in your area.

Learning to Breastfeed

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Feeding your baby with a bottle

Newborns have tiny stomachs and need many small meals- usually 8-12 feedings or more each day. Watch for signs of hunger so you can feed her on demand.

  • Babies enjoy being held at feeding time
  • Brush your baby’s lips with the nipple and wait for him to accept the bottle in his mouth
  • Hold the bottle flat so that your baby can drink at his own pace
  • Hold you baby in your left arm for one feeding then switch to the right arm for the next feeding
  • Your baby will let you know when he is finished, do not force him to finish the bottle which can lead to over feeding

Using formula to feed your baby

Mixing powdered formula:

  • Mix one level scoop (always use the one that comes in the can) for every 2 ounces of water
  • For an eight ounce bottle mix 4 scoops with 8 ounces of water
  • Measure the water in the bottle first, then add the powder
  • Store opened cans of powdered formula at room temperature

Always wash your hands with hot water and soap before making your baby’s bottle.

Mixing concentrated formula:

  • Wash the top of the can and shake it well before opening
  • Mix equal amounts of cold water and formula
  • You can mix one can of formula with one can of water in a pitcher and keep it covered in the refrigerator – use within 48 hours
  • Store opened cans of concentrate in the refrigerator up to 48 hours

Additional tips:

  • Start with smaller amounts at feedings. Your baby will let you know when she is ready to eat more at each feeding.
  • Support your baby’s head when you burp her until she is strong enough to hold her head up on her own.
  • To reduce the risk of choking and baby bottle tooth decay, do not put your baby to bed with a bottle.
  • Only put formula, breast milk or water in a bottle (no cereal).
  • Heat bottle by placing it in a pan of warm water, do not use a microwave. 

Make sure you have enough formula:

  • Put money aside each week in case you need to buy extra formula.
  • Buy a can of powdered formula at the beginning of the month when you have extra money or with food stamps.
  • Only mix up the amount of formula your baby will drink at each feeding.
  • Powdered formula is easier to mix in smaller quantities and this can reduce waste.
  • Get to know your baby and learn to tell when he is hungry and when he is full.
  • If you do run out of formula, call your local food shelf.
  • Aim for weaning from the bottle around your baby’s first birthday.

Caution: Always prepare formula using the directions on the can. Adding extra water, or not enough water, can make your baby sick.

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