Skip to Content

When can you go 4 hours between feedings?

As a new parent, figuring out your baby’s feeding schedule can be challenging. You may be wondering when it’s possible to go 4 hours between feeding your little one. Here are some quick answers to questions about extending the time between feedings.

What age can a baby go 4 hours between feeds?

Most babies do not need to feed as frequently by the time they reach 2-3 months old. At this age, it is usually possible to stretch the time between feeds to 3-4 hours during the day. However, each baby is different. Premature babies and newborns less than 2 months old typically still need to feed every 2-3 hours. The timing also depends on whether baby is breastfed or formula fed.

Breastfed babies

For breastfed babies, waiting 4 hours between feeds is possible starting around 2-3 months old. Keep in mind that breast milk digests faster than formula, so breastfed babies tend to feed more often. While some may go 4 hours between feeds during the day at 2 months, others may not tolerate such an extended gap until closer to 6 months.

Formula fed babies

Formula fed infants can generally last a bit longer between feeds. Starting around 2 months old, formula fed babies can often go 3-4 hours between feedings during the day. However, at night, smaller feeds every 3 hours are still recommended until about 6 months.

What are signs my baby is ready to go 4 hours between feeds?

Here are some signs your baby may be ready for you to start spacing out daytime feedings to every 4 hours:

  • Baby is at least 2-3 months old
  • Baby consistently takes full feedings and empties the breast or bottle
  • Baby is gaining weight appropriately
  • Baby sleeps for stretches of 3-4 hours at a time during the day
  • Baby seems satisfied after feeding and doesn’t act hungry again right away

What should I keep in mind when spacing out feeds?

When trying to shift your baby’s feeding schedule, keep the following in mind:

  • Space daytime feeds to every 3-4 hours but keep night feeds closer together
  • Offer smaller feeds if baby seems hungry before it’s time for the next full feeding
  • Wait until baby is at least 2 months old before stretching feedings longer than 3 hours
  • Watch baby’s cues – if they seem hungry sooner, feed on demand
  • Make sure baby is still getting the recommended daily amount of feedings/ounces

How do I know if my baby is ready to go 4 hours during the day?

Signs your baby may be ready for 4 hour stretches between daytime feeds include:

  • Doubling birth weight by 2-3 months old
  • Consistently sleeping 3-4 hour stretches during the day
  • Going 3 hours between feeds without getting hungry
  • Taking full feedings and consuming adequate ounces per day

Make sure to consult your pediatrician if you have any concerns about your baby’s feedings or weight gain.

What if my baby still seems hungry after 3 hours?

If your baby is not lasting the full 4 hours between feeds without getting hungry, there are a few things you can try:

  • Offer smaller snacks like 1-2 oz bottle or 5 minutes at breast between full feeds
  • Try cluster feeding – spacing feeds closer together during certains parts of the day
  • Slowly extend time between feeds by 15-30 minutes each day until reaching 4 hours
  • Make sure baby is getting enough ounces/milk per day
  • Talk to pediatrician to rule out any issues impacting appetite or growth

Not all babies will be ready to consistently wait a full 4 hours between feedings, even by 3-4 months. Respect your baby’s cues and only stretch the time between feeds if they seem ready.

What are the benefits of spacing out feeds?

Some benefits of spacing out feeds to every 3-4 hours during the day include:

  • Longer stretches of sleep for both baby and parents at night
  • More efficient and fuller feedings from baby
  • Allows breast milk supply to keep up with baby’s demands
  • Development of a consistent feeding schedule
  • Good for parents’ sanity and routine

How do I know baby is getting enough to eat?

To ensure your baby is still getting enough food when you space out daytime feeds, look for these signs:

  • 6-8 wet diapers per day
  • Regular weight gain at check ups
  • Satisfied after full feedings
  • Meeting daily recommended intake (about 25-35 oz formula or 25-30 oz breastmilk per day)
  • Sleeping well between feeds

If in doubt about intake, talk to your pediatrician. More frequent feeds or supplementing may be recommended if baby is not getting enough.

Should I wake baby to feed at 3-4 hours?

When spacing out feeds during the day, you generally don’t need to wake a sleeping baby just to maintain the 3-4 hour schedule. However, there are some exceptions:

  • Newborns under 2 months – should feed at least every 2-3 hours from birth
  • Preemies or poor weight gain – feed more frequently if needed
  • Over 4-5 hours without eating – wake to feed if napping longer stretches
  • Overnight feeds – wake to feed smaller amounts every 3-4 hours until about 6 months

During the day, let your baby sleep and offer the next full feeding when they wake up. But don’t let them go longer than 4-5 hours without eating in those early months.

When can I stop night feeds?

Most babies are not ready to sleep through the entire night without feeds until around 6 months old. Here are some signs your baby may be ready to drop night feeds:

  • Baby is eating larger volumes during day – around 30-36oz per day
  • Doubling birth weight and weighing over 13 lbs
  • Consistently sleeping 6-8 hour stretches at night
  • Can go 4-5 hours through the night without waking to eat

Talk to your pediatrician before dropping night feeds. Your doctor can help assess if your baby is developed enough to get all necessary nutrition from daytime feeds alone.

Sample feeding schedules

When moving to a 4 hour routine, your daily feeding schedule may look something like this:

3-4 month old breastfed baby schedule

7 AM Feeding
10 AM Feeding
1 PM Feeding
4 PM Feeding
7 PM Feeding
10 PM Dream feed
2-3 AM Night feeding (if needed)

3-4 month old formula fed baby schedule

7 AM 6-8 oz bottle
11 AM 6-8 oz bottle
3 PM 6-8 oz bottle
7 PM 6-8 oz bottle
11 PM Dream feed 3-5 oz

Adjust the schedule based on your baby’s needs and hunger cues while aiming for 3-4 hours between day feeds.


Spacing out feeds to every 4 hours during the day is possible for most babies around 2-3 months old. Look for signs your baby is taking full feedings, gaining weight well, and going 3 hours comfortably between feeds. Continue night feeds as needed until about 6 months old. With your pediatrician’s guidance, moving to a schedule of feedings every 3-4 hours can help establish healthy eating patterns to carry your baby through infancy.