Feeding FAQ: 0-8 weeks – Formula Feeding

Should I go back to feeding my 6 week baby at 10.30pm?

My six-week-old baby showed signs of mild reflux from birth. I tried Gaviscon Infant but noticed it had a laxative effect: he did not gain any weight at all during the 10 days he was on it, so now I thicken his formula with 1 scoop of rice to 5 scoops of formula, with good results (he had been projectile vomiting up to 2 feeds per day, now it is only occasional possetting.) My question is as follows:
I am on a 7.30am to 7.30pm routine, following the CLB closely. My baby is doing very well, but I encountered a problem a few days ago. Being an early sleeper, I would set my alarm to wake up and then wake my son at 11.30pm for a feed, and then he would wake at 3am on his own for the next feed. He would then sleep well until 7.30am. However, last week my alarm did not go off at 11.30, and he did not wake again until 3am. I decided to let this go for a few days, as my night nanny thought it was great that he was only waking up once at 3am for a feed, and he now sleeps solidly until 3-4 am every night, and I have been able to cut this feed down at 3am from 5 oz to only 2 oz, and he continues to sleep well until 7.30am. Our plan is to continue to wean him down, and then use water, etc, until he is sleeping through. In addition he seems to have managed well on this schedule through a growth spurt.
Should I allow this schedule to continue, considering he is taking up to 26 oz. of feed in total over 24 hours, and I now do not have to wake twice a night to feed him? My concern is that if I start waking him again at 11.30pm for a feed, he will begin to wake earlier than 7.30am, and then I shall be getting up twice in the night?
My night nanny seems to think that this present schedule is good, considering that we are weaning him down slowly and successfully at this 3am feed, and he is gaining weight well. What do you think?
At present he weighs 9lbs 4ozs and feeds at 7.30am 6oz, 11am 6oz, 2.45pm 5oz, 5.45pm 3oz, 7.15pm 4oz, 3am 2oz. Each of the feeds has 1 scoop of rice added except the smaller ones which have 1/2-3/4 scoop added. He sleeps for 4 and half hours spread over 3 naps in the day and is settled by 7.30pm.

If you have been advised to give your son feeds thickened with rice by a medical practitioner then you should continue. If you have not been given this advice it would be sensible to ask your doctor whether you should be using one of the specially thickened feeds which are to help babies with problems such as your son’s.

Although your son is gaining weight well at present and is taking in a good amount of milk for his weight, he will continue to need five feeds in twenty-four hours until well into his fourth or even fifth month. Although at present he appears to be content and sleeping well, in a few weeks this pattern could well change and you may have problems with early waking in the morning due to hunger or he will still continue to wake for a middle of the night feed. This is the first feed to be eliminated, followed by the one at 10.30pm which needs to stay in place often until a baby is weaned onto solids.

It would sensible to put back a feed at 10.30/11.pm and gradually decrease the night feed at 3am at the same time. Gradually increase the amount you offer at 10.30pm as you decrease and hopefully drop the 3am feed. As your son does not go down until 7.30pm and receives the second part of the split feed at 7.15pm, he has cut back on his 11pm feed too quickly. You may need to move the whole day back a bit and give him the second half of his split feed by 6.30pm and have him down by 7/7.15pm so he will wake and take a good feed around 10.30pm. It is by having a good feed at this time that will get him through the night to about 7am. If you look in The New Contented Baby Book p148-149 you will see how the night feeds are structured and how to gradually help your baby get through the night from 11pm.